Shawnee Co. commissioners approve plans to reopen courthouse

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 6:37 PM CDT
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Shawnee County commissioners approved plans Thursday for reopening county buildings to the public. It requires some preventative measures, including masks for some locations.

A motion to make masks recommended, and not required inside the Shawnee County Courthouse passed 2-1 after much debate, and with stipulations.

.Errin Mahan, with Shawnee County Emergency Management said, “Every single decision that we make, we consider, we look at, or we talk about is all based on life safety.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Shawnee County Courthouse was seeing 2,000 to 3,000 people a day.

“As we bring people in, they’re going to be in close proximity," said Shawnee County Chief Judge Richard Anderson.

Shawnee County Commissioner Kevin Cook proposed requiring masks.

“Due to the amount of foot traffic that we have coming through the building, masks should be required for the entire building," he said.

Shawnee County Commissioner Aaron Mays disagreed on this approach saying, “I think it’s important that people wear them, but again I don’t want to mandate it.”

After hearing from Judge Anderson and Shawnee County Department of Corrections Director, Brian Cole, the commissioners came up with a loose guideline.

Cook said, “Masks would be required at any court functions or court services, so we’re going to have segregated areas in the building of required versus non-required.”

The courthouse is set to tentatively reopen on June 1st, with approval from Shawnee County's health officer.

Courthouse employees will still be required to wear a mask in common areas, like hallways.

Health screenings will also be done for anyone entering the courthouse building.

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