Grays Harbor County officials are planning to close public access to most buildings by the end of business Monday to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Grays Harbor County Commissioners began the discussion during an emergency meeting on Saturday. A motion suggesting the county close all campuses to the public for 3-weeks failed to get a second. The commissioners then discussed with several department heads and judges how closures could limit access to the public and exposure to county employees without cutting core services.
Superior Court Judge David Edwards asked if the county intended to close access to the courthouse, to which Commissioner Randy Ross explained, “We’re not trying [inaudible] how they need to conduct the courthouse business but we’re trying to keep the public safe so I think the courthouse operations need to be a discussion between the superior district courts and the court on how they want to move on that.” Other concerns were expressed over those applying for protection orders in person which Edwards said was just one example.
No decisions were made during the meeting Saturday afternoon except that the commissioners plan to revisit the discussion at a meeting on Monday. If a plan is approved as discussed some buildings would see limited public access like the county courthouse where an existing security detail could screen those with court business. Other offices said they were encouraging distancing without cutting services, like placing a service table where someone could drop off paperwork without initiating close contact with county employees.
Commissioner Vickie Raines said that on Monday they will be discussing in more detail how the response might affect county employees.
Grays Harbor Sheriff Rick Scott said he would coordinate a press release from the county detailing the services affected by the closures. We will have more details once that press release has been completed.