In the wake of an order from the state Supreme Court allowing the loosening of some restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 shutdown, courthouses will begin to gradually reopen Monday for judicial hearings, and to visits to county offices, with some restrictions.
In the 14th Judicial Circuit, Whiteside County's two courthouses, in Morrison and Sterling, will require visitors to wear masks or face-coverings and adhere to social distancing.
Those attending court hearings should arrive no more than 10 minutes before they begin. Temperatures will be taken; those with a temperatures higher than 100.4 will be questioned before a decision will be made on whether they will be allowed to enter.
Some people may be asked to wait in their vehicles if the courthouse is crowded and social distancing becomes a problem.
Similar restrictions will be in place in the Carroll County Courthouse in Mount Carroll.
All who enter will be required to wear a facial covering,and will have their temperatures taken.
Those with business to conduct are advised to call the office first, so staff can determine if assistance can be provided over the phone. Property tax payments should be mailed in or paid online at www.carroll-county.net.
Those attending court hearings should arrive no more than 10 minutes early, and come alone if possible. Fines and court fees can be paid at www.courtmoney.com; those unable to pay must contact the circuit clerk's office
Marriages likely will. be done in the courtyard as long as the weather cooperates.
In the 15th Judicial Circuit, witch includes Lee and Ogle counties, face masks and social distancing also will be required.
Those with COVID-19 symptoms or who have had close contact with a person known to have the virus will not be admitted to either the Dixon or Oregon courthouses.
Those attending court hearings should come alone, and arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the hearing is set to begin.
In Lee County, those who are not attorneys, parties or witnesses or who do not otherwise have essential business in the building will not be admitted unless they have permission from the presiding judge. Remote hearings via Zoom will be held for civil matters when possible; the judge will make that determination.
In all cases, those who are not sure of the status of their case or the dates of upcoming hearings should check with their attorneys, access their public records at judici.com or, in Lee County, with Full Court Enterprise at http://shawurl.com/3ddw, or call the circuit clerk. Payments also can be made online at those sites in many cases.
In all four counties, in-person visits with jail inmates still are banned; video visits will continue to be allowed.
For more local news, visit SaukValley.com at https://www.saukvalley.com.