Pike County supervisors voted Monday to require people to wear masks when they enter county buildings, including the courthouse and court annex.
Supervisors said people will have to bring their own masks as they don’t have enough to go around.
“I’ve got some masks,” said Civil Defense Director Richard Coghlan. “The mask business is fixing to come to a screeching halt because the state’s going to stop giving them out.”
The mask requirement comes as county officials struggle to deal with the coronavirus, which has affected five sheriff’s department employees and left the county temporarily without a road crew.
“We’re charged with protecting the courthouse,” said Tax Assessor Laurie Allen, citing the safety of both the public and county employees.
If an employee were to contract the virus, the whole department would likely have to shut down for two weeks, if not the entire courthouse, officials said.
That would prove especially painful in Tax Collector Gwen Nunnery’s office, which sees a lot of customers paying taxes and renewing car tags.
“If one person in Gwen’s office gets it, we’ll have to shut down the whole department, and they collect revenue,” Allen said.
The virus has already affected the road department, whose entire staff had to be tested for COVID-19 after one came down with it. Employees were still awaiting test results and had not come back to work by Monday.
“As they (test results) come in negative, our road employees will come back to work,” said Supervisor Robert Accardo, noting he’s been receiving a lot of calls. “Basically we don’t have a road crew right now.”
The sheriff’s department has five people out, and a sixth had to be sent home over the weekend after his wife got sick, said Sheriff James Brumfield.
In a related matter, supervisors authorized court officials to hold drug court in the Pike County Adult Drug Court building to alleviate overcrowding in the main courtroom of the courthouse.
In other business Monday, supervisors:
• Opened tax rolls for public inspection by accepting real and personal assessment rolls from the tax assessor’s office. Allen said people can check their tax information on a computer in the supervisors’ board room in the court annex. People can appeal their tax valuations from July 15 until 5 p.m. Aug. 3.
• Voted 4-1 to approve 10-year tax exemptions for Weyerhaeuser and International Paper on 2019 expansions. Weyerhaeuser added nearly $2.5 million in machinery and equipment, while IP added $3.7 million. Supervisor Tazwell Bowsky abstained.