Safety Advisory

Judges may require people to wear masks in the courtrooms inn Columbia County. The court spaces have been measured and marked to direct visitors to sit socially distanced, and court staff will help direct visitors to where they can safely sit.

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The Columbia County Board of Commissioners has issued another COVID-19 safety advisory following the Board's initial release June 6 when the county moved into Phase 2 of the state's reopening framework.

The second release, issued Monday, June 29, underscores approved reopening guidelines for Phase 2 for all Columbia County buildings which county employees will be following.

The Board again encourages citizens of Columbia County, and especially visitors to county offices, to continue to follow best practices concerning COVID-19 with us.

“Especially given the recent increases in COVID cases since counties have reopened, even in Columbia County, taking the basic precautions to protect ourselves and others becomes even more vital,” County Human Resources Director Jean Ripa said.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone should:

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms.
  • Put six feet of distance between yourself and other people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth mask or other face covering when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces regularly.

The CDC now recommends wearing face coverings when in public settings. All County employees will wear masks when moving through public areas and hallways of the Courthouses or when unable to physically distance. For those who do not have masks, there are dispensers located on the main and 3rd floor.

The Board is also working with State Courts to keep our visitors as safe as possible.

“We are asking people to wear masks," Presiding Judge Ted Grove said. "Court staff have masks available for use, both in the courtrooms and at the Trial Court Administrator’s Office. We also have instructions on how to wear masks and hand sanitizer available in every courtroom.”

Judges may require people to wear masks in the courtrooms. The court spaces have been measured and marked to direct visitors to sit socially distanced, and court staff will help direct visitors to where they can safely sit. Many hearings are being set up to be conducted remotely, so we are encouraging citizens to appear by video or phone.

The County also asks that citizens refrain from congregating in the lobby of the annex, either before or after hearings. If you arrive early to the courthouse, we ask that you remain outside until the time of your hearing and check in with the County’s front office assistant immediately upon entering the building. If the court is not ready for your hearing, county officials ask that you wait outside until you have received a call or text.

“We encourage folks to take reasonable precaution in protecting themselves and others,” Commissioner Margaret Magruder said. “We expect county employees to wear masks when working closely with customers where physical distancing is not possible. We are providing masks for the public and encourage them to wear them to protect themselves and our employees.”

If you are seeking court services but have concerns about COVID-19, wearing masks, or ADA accommodations, contact the Court by phone at, 503-397-2327, or by emailing columbia.general@ojd.state.or.us.

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