Dickinson Co. Courthouse To Proceed To Phase 3 Re-Opening Wed., Aug. 5th; A County Supervisor Is Quarantining As A Precaution

Tue 7-28-2020

(Spirit Lake)-- The Dickinson County Courthouse will be reopening to the general public under phase 3 of its plan effective Wednesday, August 5th. The Board of Supervisors took the action this (Tues.) morning which also includes the installation of some additional plexi-glass shields in some offices. It also mandates visitors use face masks in offices and hallways.

The supervisors took the action after hearing several concerns. Supervisor Kim Wermersen said while it's important proper precautions be taken, he also said he was concerned over trying to turn the courthouse into a bubble...Courthouse Phase 301 

"Are folks wearing masks out in the public whether they're at Arnolds Park or whether they're at the grocery store? I mean we're all human. We're all going to do what our behavior calls for but I think for us not to go to phase 3 to get the court system rolling, I think we have to seriously consider looking at that."

Supervisor Tim Fairchild said he wouldn't feel comfortable reopening to phase three without the precautions...Courthouse Phase302 

"I don't think we can open without shields, without having an understanding we're going to have face masks anytime you're out in the hallway, anytime you're in a public area. If you can't social distance, even in your office, you should wear a face mask. And if we do and if we find that people can't abide by that then we're going to have to go back, is my feeling."

Supervisor Steve Clark questioned the delay in reopening the courthouse...Courthouse Phase303 

"I know we want to take care of our employees but, you know, what are we, one or two courthouses that aren't open, and I don't understand why."

Sheriff Greg Baloun said the extended closure is stacking up the court system and which will eventually impact the jail...Courthouse Phase304 

"If you've noticed we have one person in jail because the court isn't going. What's going to happen three months down the line, six months down the line, when all these cases start coming through and the jail starts filling up. We're just getting further and further behind."

Supervisor Chairman Bill Leupold said he agrees with the need to reopen the courthouse to the next phase but added they “need to be smart about it”.

The vote to proceed to the phase 3 reopening effective Wednesday, August 5th was unanimous.

On another note, Supervisor Steve Clark announced during today's (Tues.) meeting he and his wife are currently quarantining as a precaution after having suffered symptoms similar to COVID-19. Clark, who was present for the meeting through electronic means, said he and his wife both tested negative for the virus but are taking the precaution on the advice of their doctor.