covid 19

Jefferson County Executive Dennis Gannon and Jefferson County Health Department Director Kelley Vollmar jointly issued a stay-at-home order for all county residents, which currently is effective through April 23.

By video, the two answered some frequently asked questions about the order. Here is a compilation of information from that video.

Q: How will the stay-at-home order be enforced?

A: County officials are hoping for voluntary compliance, but in the case of those not following the order, they plan to issue a letter asking them to conform. If that doesn’t work, the matter will be taken to the local court system.

More information, as well as a form to report lack of compliance with the order, can be found at

Q: What are essential services?

A. When drawing up the order, county and Health Department officials looked at businesses and organizations needed for health and safety of residents, including grocery stores, gas stations and day cares. Vape shops and smoke shops are not considered essential services, nor are hair care and nail salons.

Q: Will a card or permit be issued to those working in essential industries to travel to and from work or day care facilities?

A: At this point, county officials have not identified a method to do this.

Q: Why are insides of gas stations and convenience stores still open?

A: Not everybody pays with a credit or debit card, and closing the stores would hurt people who only pay cash. In addition, some people use convenience stores for groceries. In some places across the county, gas stations and convenience stores are the main places for people to buy food and over-the-counter medicine. However, paying at the pump is encouraged when possible.

Q: What about court dates?

A: The Jefferson County Courthouse is open. As in every county facility, your temperature will be taken and you will be asked some questions about your health before you are allowed to enter. Check with your attorney to determine if and when you need to report to court.

The county’s Municipal Court dockets are temporarily suspended.

If there is any question, check with the court or your attorney.

Q: Why schools are closed but child care centers open?

A: Jefferson County’s superintendents have made the decision as a group to close schools for a time to make sure students are safe. Day cares have the option to close, but they are a vital tool in community not only for first responders or health care workers, but others who work in other essential services, such as truck drivers and grocery store workers who need to have a place for their children to receive safe and healthy care.

Q: Can I go to the park?

A: Absolutely. Get some fresh air and exercise, but stay away from group activities and practice healthy distancing.

Q: Will the towns of people diagnosed with the virus be identified?

A: No, because it’s important to protect patients’ rights and information. In addition, announcing the area that a person lives in will create panic among those who also live there and will reduce the sense of urgency in people who live elsewhere. Because the risk of infection is communitywide, everybody should take precaution.

Q: What’s being done to disinfect county buildings?

A: Public Works Director Jason Jonas, whose tasks include maintenance of county buildings such as the Jefferson County Administration Center and Annex, the County Courthouse and the Jefferson County Justice Center, said plenty is being done.

“Under County Executive Dennis Gannon’s executive order, there is very limited public access to these buildings,” Jonas said, “but our housekeepers are taking care of high-touch, high-traffic areas, such as handrails, doorknobs and door openers, and countertops, disinfecting them with a (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)-approved product four to five times a day.

“We’ve doubled the number of hand-sanitizing stations in the buildings. You can’t go past an entranceway, a stairwell or an elevator without coming across one. In addition, offices that have a lot of employees have their own sanitizers. For the people who are in the buildings, I think they’d agree that for the most part, they smell like disinfecting agents.”

To see the complete video, go to: