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La Crosse County limiting access to county facilities indefinitely, courts limiting appearances

La Crosse County limiting access to county facilities indefinitely, courts limiting appearances

Essential electricity

Workers with MJ electric transfer wires from an old utility pole to a new one March 23 at the corner of Monitor Street and Copeland Avenue. Gov. Tony Evers announced a safer-at-home order that will close all nonessential businesses in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

La Crosse County Circuit Court will be limiting court appearances to intake court as much as possible during the next two weeks and La Crosse County will suspend walk-in services until further notice as of Monday, according to county officials.

Judge Ramona Gonzalez said Monday that the La Crosse County courts will be down to the bare bones starting Tuesday while judges and other officials figure out how to adjust to the Wisconsin Supreme Court Order that came out Sunday pushing back jury trials and other business to after May 22.

“These are extraordinary times, so we’re going to do what we’ve got to do,” Gonzalez said.

La Crosse County had already pushed back much of its operations to after May 1 to limit the number of people gathered to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, the Supreme Court’s order calls on judges, court commissioners and clerks of court to use email, teleconferencing and video conferencing instead of in-person court appearances through at least April 30.

The order allows certain exceptions to permit in-person proceedings if remote technology is not available or is inadequate.

Gonzalez said they are working on ways to allow for remote access without creating a situation where people who have money can access the court system and those who don’t, can’t and are stuck with legal issues hanging over their head.

“We’re being very cognizant of economic circumstances as we plan what we’re going to do,” she said.

The courthouse remains open for court business; however, many La Crosse County facilities are closed to in-person appointments until further notice, according to a release sent out Monday by the county’s administration.

The impacts include:

  • The La Crosse County Administrative Center is closed to in-person appointments except for marriage licenses.
  • The Health and Human Services Building is closed to the public.
  • The Highway Department has limited public access.
  • La Crosse County Library System is closed to the public.
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are closed to the public.
  • La Crosse County Solid Waste Department landfill remains open for business, but the Household Hazardous Materials Office will be closed until further notice.

Visit lacrossecounty.org/covid19 or call 608-785-9581 for more information.

Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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