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‘New normal’ at probate court

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Judge Kathy Martin and her staff have kept probate court operational. The county has installed a new window counter at the probate court office and at the clerk of court’s office across the hall. Effective Thursday, new rules will go into effect. Those with business at the probate court are encouraged to make an appointment and must wear a face mask. They may be asked to wait in their cars until those ahead of them are finished with their business. Deputy Lynn Ray at the courthouse security desk will do temperature scans on all visitors. If your temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher you will be denied admission. Those doing business in probate court are asked to minimize the number of people in their parties in order to maximize social distancing. Business will be done at the new window counter. If necessary, one person at a time will be allowed to enter the office. Probate court office hours are 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Those needing marriage or firearms licenses should begin the application procedures online at georgiaprobaterecords.com. Once Judge Martin and her staff receive the application, they will contact the applicant and make an appointment to complete the process. During the coronavirus limitations, cases have backed up in probate court as well as in criminal, juvenile and civil court. Judge Matin will hold traffic court arraignment on May 27. Times will be staggered. Those required to attend will receive notices by mail with their hearing times and a list of safety requirements. Some hearings may be conducted via video teleconferencing. That determination will be made on a case by case basis. ’I am sorry for the inconvenience this may cause but I am afraid it will be our new normal,’ Judge Martin concluded.

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