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Mon County judge decides to resume in-person hearings with requirement of face coverings

At least one Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge will resume in-person hearings in the same City of Morgantown buildings open to the public on a limited basis on May 26.

City buildings will have signs reminding people about social distancing and safety protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19, Morgantown Communications Director Andrew Stacy said. Plexiglass barriers have been installed in high traffic areas such as the code enforcement office to protect staff and visitors.

“As we begin to open city buildings and facilities, it is important that we follow recommendations from public health officials to ensure that visitors and staff are kept safe and healthy,” said Interim City Manager Emily Muzzarelli. “Monongalia County and the City of Morgantown have worked relentlessly to flatten the curve of COVID-19, and it’s crucial that we remain vigilant as we resume operations in our community.”

Judge Phillip Gaujot’s courtroom will also have safety requirements. According to his Thursday order, anyone appearing in person will need a face mask or face covering before entering the court or its offices and a social distance of six feet must be maintained.
Gaujot will continue to allow telephone appearances as long as at least a day’s notice before a hearing is given.

It is not clear when Chief Judge Debra Scudiere and Judge Susan Tucker will resume in-person hearings. Calls to their offices were not returned in time for this report.

Morgantown Municipal Court is scheduled to start in-person hearings on June 1.

City buildings will be disinfected and cleaned daily with high-contact areas sanitized throughout the day, Stacy said. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available and employees will be given masks and gloves. Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering.

Residents are also encouraged to try and do as much of their business online as possible through, email and phone.

In City Hall, the finance and code enforcement departments, on the first floor, will be open with occupancy restrictions in the lobby.

The second and third floors will be restricted. The city manager’s office, engineering department, development services, city clerk’s office and urban landscapes department are open through appointments.

The Public Safety Building will be open with occupancy restrictions in the lobby.

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