A loosening of COVID-19 pandemic preventive restrictions at the Indiana County Court House will take effect next week, court officials said Tuesday.
With the courthouse doors locked in mid-March and staffing reduced to barebones levels in April, residents and others doing business with the county had been instructed to make phone calls, send email messages, complete forms on websites or to contact the offices by postal mail.
The doors may remain locked but beginning Monday, visitors will be permitted into the building with an appointment to conduct business in various offices.
The four magisterial district courts — in Indiana, Homer City, Blairsville and Clymer — which have only done business with law enforcement officials and the higher courts, also will allow residents to visit to pay fines or file court papers. Appointments also will be required.
Judge William Martin and the board of commissioners jointly ordered the new conditions for doing business with the county “in an effort to continue to protect the health and safety of court users, county consumers, and employees,” according to a news release issued by the court administrator’s office.
As always, residents, taxpayers and constituents may continue to contact court offices by mail, telephone or online.
The changes apply to those doing personal business.
The public business meetings of the Indiana County board of commissioners and other agencies will continue to be held online through July using the Zoom app. Those wishing to view or participate in meetings can find login information on the county website www.indianacountypa.gov.
Safety and health standards for courthouse visitors will be unchanged.
“Any person that has scheduled an appointment or that is required to attend a scheduled court proceeding should wear a mask and attend alone as social distancing will be enforced. If a person is sick and cannot attend a proceeding or an appointment, please call to reschedule,” the officials announced.
“Any person needing to schedule an appointment with a magisterial district court should call the district court directly.”
Those making court-ordered payments of fines or costs are encouraged to send payments by mail or make secure online payments at https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/ePay/Default.aspx.