ANGOLA — The Steuben County Courthouse will be following more strict practices for COVID-19 for at least the next 60 days, said an order signed Tuesday by both judges serving Steuben County.
After the Steuben County Board of Commissioners decided to allow departments to follow eased practices for the pandemic after Indiana’s relaxation of the mask order and other guidelines, the judges let it be known that they were not going to ease practices that have been in place for months due to COVID-19.
They followed up with that in an official order on Tuesday that said the more strict policies of masking and social distancing would remain in effect “for at minimum the next 60 days.”
In effect, that would mean the order lasts until Friday, June 4.
Here are the high points of the order:
• Screening procedures at the front entrance of the Courthouse will continue. This includes visitors having their temperature checked and making sure they comply with the mask order. If people do not have masks they are provided one. If they refuse to wear a mask, they can’t enter the building.
• Social distancing must be observed. Courtrooms are set up so distancing is observed in the galleries.
• Family or support individuals may not be in proceedings unless permitted by the presiding judge. In juvenile cases or cases related to children in need of services, parents are allowed entry.
• Potential witnesses may now enter the Courthouse as necessary.
• Victims of crimes are allowed in criminal proceedings. And media is allowed to observe proceedings.
• Detainees will appear in court via video conference unless otherwise permitted by a judge in a specific case.
The order, signed by Steuben Superior Court Judge William Fee and Steuben Circuit Court Judge Allen Wheat will be reviewed before the expiration of the 60 days.
In the Steuben Community Center, masks will only be required in common areas and if certain departments require them. Distancing is still recommended and masks, though not mandated, are suggested.
People visiting the Steuben County Health Department and all vaccine clinics will still be required to wear masks and distance.
In a story published Tuesday, due to a reporter’s error, information about the number of people vaccinated was misleading. The story should have reported that more than 8,000 local residents have been vaccinated.