Courthouse #3.tiff

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After more than a month of being closed to the public, the Fallon County Courthouse in Baker has reopened.

Both the county and city offices opened back up to the public May 11 as the state of Montana continued its reopening in stages after the COVID-19 corona virus hit the Treasure State.

It is good to be back to a kind of normal, Mayor JoDee Pratt said after the building had been open for a week.

“It is great. There is time to get everything done,” she said. “I have been doing work from home and I have gone into to the office to pick up the emails and whatever a few days a week.

“It is nice that the courthouse is open and people have been able to come in and get back to normal - or whatever our normal is,” she said.

Just inside the entrance, there is a desk set up by the county where they take a temperature and have some hand sanitizer, she explained. “They have a little table set up there with somebody manning it. The county has that pretty well under control.”

There are no heavy restrictions on the public who want to come inside the building, although they do stress the use of hand sanitizer and staying six feet apart, she explained.

The city is returning to its pre-COVID location for council meetings, instead of having them in the basement where people could connect by telephone.

The city council returned to the courtroom on Wednesday, May 20. “I like having the courtroom. “You can see the people there.

“The bad thing is we do not have the phone system up there (in the courtroom) so we can not do it online. Some people were really liking it, but it is going to be back to normal. So, you have to come back to the courthouse if you want to go to the council meeting.

“We will just sit further away from each other and make sure everybody is six foot away. We don’t normally have too many people there, so it should be just fine,” the mayor added.

“We are going back to the way it was. It worked for years and we can still have people come in, sit and talk. We can see them. That is probably the best way to do business.

She said she liked the fact that the council meeting will be back to being in person.

“If something happens and we get COVID in this county, then it might be hard to rein in. But people are ready to get outside and socialize and see their friends. I just think it is time.”

The mayor said that the recent graduation at Baker High School was an example. “I think the graduation went well. That was well attended and well done. (The parade) was perfect... wonderful. I loved the banners that they put up honoring all of our graduates. That was a great thing,” she added. “They are nice. Maybe we should do that every year.”

It was a sign that people just want to get back to normal, Pratt said.

“I don’t blame them.”

The mayor said she hopes that Fallon County and the city remain seemingly untouched by the virus.

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