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Minot Municipal Court to re-open May 18 with operational changes

Pandemic restrictions to change court operations

Jill Schramm/MDN Administrative Clerk Laurie Nishek with Minot Municipal Court speaks at a news briefing in City Hall Tuesday.

Minot’s Municipal Court will re-open May 18 to begin processing cases that have been on hold for more than two months. There will be noticeable changes to the operation of the court due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laurie Nishek, administrative clerk with the court, said at a news briefing Tuesday that cases have been rescheduled at least twice during this interim.

“We have some scheduled out to July. We do still have room the end of June, where we can add more cases. We also have a little bit of flexibility in the scheduling,” she said. She noted court has been held Monday through Thursday, but the judge is willing to convene court on a Friday if necessary.

Municipal court is located on the west side of Minot Municipal Auditorium, which faces the Minot Police Department. Signs outside the west side of the auditorium will guide visitors to the proper entrance, which has changed. Once inside, visitors will be directed to an office to check in before waiting in the hallway to be called into court.

“We do have it planned out for a one-way flow. There would be very minimal two-way flow or contact,” Nishek said. “We have plans in place for the physical distancing, the personal protective equipment, hand sanitizing and surface cleaning as well.”

Submitted Photo A sketch shows the new navigation plan within municipal court when it re-opens May 18. The blue circle indicate hand sanitizing stations.

The court is asking only people with scheduled court appearances on each specific date to attend court and to attend alone if possible. Anyone attending must wear a protective mask, maintain social distancing and use the available hand-sanitizing stations. A limited number of masks will be available to those who are not able to provide their own.

The designated entrance on the building’s west side will be open from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. for court appearances scheduled at 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m.

The courtroom will be cleaned between cases and chairs in the waiting area will be cleaned after each use. For clarity in communication, the judge will not wear a mask, but an acrylic barrier has been installed in front of the judge’s area.

“We are prepared for and we will adhere to Centers for Disease Control recommendations for physical distancing,” said Municipal Judge Ashley Beall in a news release. “We think it’s important to resume our operations, and we will be doing everything we can to ensure everyone is safe.”

Nishek said if someone in a high-risk category isn’t comfortable and wishes to reschedule, the court will try to accommodate that request.

Municipal Court office remains accessible by phone from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 857-4759.

With the Municipal Court lobby still closed to the public, there are three alternative methods for making payments:

– Via phone with Visa or MasterCard at 857-4759.

– By mail: Minot Municipal Court, PO Box 5006, Minot, ND, 58702.

– Drop box: Public entrance on the east side of the Minot Police Department.

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