Franklin County is following the state’s Phase 2 reopening plan, which started Friday.
Derek Brown, county administrator/counselor, told county commissioners Wednesday the team felt it was the right move.
"The team was of the opinion that there was not a basis for imposing additional restrictions right now," Brown said. "It allows us to transition into Phase 2 and stick with the state’s plan."
Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday released an amended Phase 2 plan to go into effect Friday, just five days removed from announcing the new Phase 1.5 that was implemented Monday.
"This entire pandemic has been wrought with pretty dramatic changes," Brown said. "The last week has been hard for us at the local government level to stay on top of everything the state is doing. We were not expecting Phase 2 to be implemented so quickly, but we are prepared for it."
Brown said the county offices will begin reopening Tuesday with restrictions in some cases.
"We thought all along that phase two would be when we opened our buildings back up to the public," Brown said. "The one in particular that has a lot of interest is the old courthouse.
"We don’t have an onslaught of positive tests. There is nothing at this time that would indicate that as other businesses around us continue to open that we leave our business closed."
Brown said neither he or the board could legally legislate elected officials when or how to open their offices.
County clerk Janet Paddock, treasurer Jody Edwards and register of deeds Sue McClay met Tuesday to discuss the opening of their offices in the courthouse.
There were concerns expressed in the meeting, Paddock said.
"Jody indicated she is supportive of opening the courthouse," Paddock said. "She wants to implement some special procedures (for motor vehicles). To make sure we don’t have a major influx of people in that area all at one time. She will be setting up a scheduling process so citizens can schedule a time to come in for motor vehicles, so we will not have them all sitting out in the hall. We still need to maintain our social distancing practices. They will know what time they can be seen."
The Register of Deeds Office has special circumstances with the public handling historic documents.
"Sue does have additional challenges in her office because largely the work that is done out of her office is using public books with historic value that have years and years information in them," Paddock said. "There is no way to sanitize those books."
The clerk’s office is set up with plexiglass shields so staff can safely interact with the public, Paddock said.
"We have been ready for the public to come back to the courthouse," Brown said. "We are encouraging the use of masks. We will have masks available for them to use. The staff will be wearing masks."
Paddock said the courthouse offices will remain open until 6 p.m. to take phone calls.
County meetings will still be conducted through Zoom and the commissioners will revisit the issue when Phase 3 is initiated.