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County requiring masks in both courthouses

by Patty Cheffey

Those conducting any business in either the Palmyra or Hannibal courthouses will now be required to wear masks while inside the buildings.

The Marion County Commission approved a regulation requiring the wearing of masks in the courthouses during Monday’s commission meeting, at which they also signed a damage release, discussed purchases and briefly discussed CARES Act funds.

Although Larry Welch, Eastern District commission wanted to include require masks in all county buildings, he agreed to allow the Sheriff’s Department and Highway Department to make that decision themselves.

Western District Commissioner Steve Begley seconded this motion, but was the one who asked to exclude the highway and sheriff departments.

‘I’m not a fan of masks and I don’t agree with the effectiveness of them, but this is not about me,”  Begley said. “If the people in the courthouses feel safer having the public wear masks, I’ll second the motion.”

The unanimous decision to require masks came about after one county employee has tested positive and another was expected to have the test this week, but was showing symptoms.

Due to that situation, County Clerk Valerie Dornberger shared the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights put out by the Department of Labor.

Under the act employees are guaranteed paid sick leave for a certain amount of time for a number of cases, including if they are sick or having to care for someone who is sick or because of having to care of children under the age of 18.

The act outlines various amount of time off, percentage of pay and which businesses can opt out of parts of the act.

In other business, the commissioners signed the Ameren damage release form for work Ameren did to repair roads damaged during work on the Mark Twain transmission lines.

In her report, Teya Stice, county coordinator, said two of the UVC lights, which will help kill the bacteria in the courthouses, should be shipped at the end of this week and the other two in the next two weeks.

She also got approval to purchase a $3,000 floor scrubber to share between the two courthouses.

Stice said she is still trying to get pricing on audio equipment, which is being federally required for the courtrooms. A bid request has also been placed in the newspaper.

She noted a mandatory site visit will be required by anyone who wants to submit a bid.

Commissioners also:

• heard an update on a property with a pile of trash and were told the pile had been moved a ways down the road;

• learned the jail roof leak had been fixed;

• discussed what to do about people still being in the courthouse at 5 p.m., mainly due to a back-up in the licensing bureau. That area will be blocked off at 5; and

• discussed a couple of the CARES Act funding requests, noting they are going to not allow mortgages as part of the fund payments. They will also ask the Hannibal Board of Public Works to send a representative to the next meeting to discuss its request.

The commissioners also agreed it was time to revisit the CARES Act regulations and see what is working and what is not.