The Malheur County Courthouse remains open, though with restricted hours, and many employees work from home now as part of the "new normal" of the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

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VALE – The lights are still on at the Malheur County Courthouse and regular hours are posted for many departments but area residents can’t drop by on a whim.

A month after Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order directing people to stay home and closing some businesses, the courthouse front doors are locked and access to the building is through the back door and by appointment.

Meanwhile, many county employees are working from home.

For Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe’s office, it is a bit of a mix, with some employees at work, some at home.

Malheur County Administrator Lorinda DuBois said she hasn’t assigned any of her staff to work from home.

“Admin office work spaces are six feet apart. We’ve asked county staff to submit paperwork via fax in order to limit the amount of paper we have to handle that has been touched by other people,” said DuBois.

DuBois said her staff is also wearing gloves when they handle paperwork.

“We are disinfecting our work space daily as well as washing our hands frequently. Communicating with other county staff is done over the phone or via email,” said DuBois.

County departments at the courthouse are typically open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Eric Evans, county planning director, said he is at his office but his management assistant is working from home.

“We are also using GoToMeeting for an alternative to face-to-face interactions and our public meetings,” said Evans.

Greg Geddes, director of environmental health for the county, said he remains at his office but has two staff members working from home. Geddes said his office is also utilizing GoToMeeting for meetings.

Geddes and Evans said they believe their steps fall in line with the intent of the governor’s order.

“For the health and safety of the community and Malheur County employees, a six-foot separation is maintained at all times, and we are constantly looking for ways to help flatten the curve,” said Evans.

The Malheur County Circuit Court adjusted its Friday hours and now closes at 3 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. Marilee Aldred, the trial court administrator, is working from home part-time and has five of her 10 employees still staffing court operations.

 Have a news tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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