By: Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — Due to the risk of coronavirus, the Payne County Court Clerk’s Office has been closed to the public as of Tuesday, but anyone needing services, including such matters as marriage licenses, can make an appointment for assistance by calling 405-372-4774.
District Judge Phillip Corley told KUSH that court cases are being handled on an individual basis in order to maintain social distancing and limit personal contact as much as possible.
Payne County Sheriff Kevin Woodward said, “On the front door of the courthouse, there’s a phone number for the Court Clerk’s Office to please call and make an appointment.”
The sheriff emphasized, “I’m not doing any in-person jail visiting. We allow one free phone call a week for prisoners.” For more information about the Payne County Jail, the sheriff advised people to visit his new website at paynecountyok.gov.
Regarding the safety of his staff during the coronavirus pandemic, the sheriff said, “We currently have precautions. We only had 60 masks at the beginning of the outbreak. I have 98 employees.
“We did find a cache of rubber masks that go over the nose and mouth. We bought 100 masks. We can re-use them. We just change out the filters.”
Asked about the well-being of prisoners in the Payne County Jail, the sheriff said Tuesday, “So far, everything is okay — we’re taking temperatures regularly.”
A week ago, all jury trials in Oklahoma were cancelled by an order issued jointly by the State Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
The emergency order signed by State Supreme Court Justice Noma D. Gurich and Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge David B. Lewis, said, “All courts may limit the number of persons who may enter any courtroom, judges’ or court clerks’ offices, jury rooms or any other facility used by the district courts.”
Persons prohibited from entering any facility used by the district courts include those diagnosed with coronavirus or having direct contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19; anyone with symptoms such as fever, severe cough, or shortness of breath; anyone who has been outside of the U.S. in the past 14 days or has close contact with anyone who did; and anyone quarantined or isolated by any doctor or voluntarily quarantining.