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Magistrate, tag office closed due to COVID

The Pike County Magistrate Court will be closed until Jan. 18 after chief judge Christopher Edwards signed an emergency order Jan. 3 outlining the judicial emergency and need for the office to close after two of the court’s four employees were COVID-19 positive. Arrest and search warrants will be authorized by Superior Court judges in the interim. The Pike tax commissioners office was affected the next day after the tax commissioner was quarantined. The tax commissioners office was closed Thursday and Friday, Jan. 7-8 for cleaning. The office will have limited hours the week of Jan. 11. They will be open from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. each day. ’You can renew your tags, cancel your tags or get a TAVT estimate at eservices.drive.ga and you can pay your taxes in full on line at pikecountypay.com,’ said tax commissioner Donna Chapman. ‘We do have a dropbox to the right of our door that is labeled ‘Tag & Tax Dropbox.’ If you use the dropbox, please place your stuff in an envelope and write your phone number on it in case we have any issues with your payment. I greatly appreciate your patience with us. Hopefully all will be back up and running full force on Jan. 18.’ According to judge Edwards’ order, the order affects only the magistrate court and employees of that office. ’No scheduled or ordered court hearings in any court are cancelled by this order in any court. Public access to the courthouse and operation of all other offices within the courthouse is unaffected by this order,’ said judge Edwards. The magistrate court office was closed for 14 days with all employees under quarantine and ‘requested to cooperate with DPH inquiries to allow contact tracing and notification of non-employees and others at high risk of exposure, all as required by the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Ninth Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency.’ Judge Edwards stated that court employees who are not sick may work from home to accept e-filings and provide any other services. The order asks that they have a COVID-19 test on the tenth day. Those who wish to file stalking actions and family violence actions may do so at the office of Judge Scott Ballard who is assigned all Pike civil cases. New civil actions and other pleadings and documents may be e-filed at any time via the magistrate court’s website at magistratepikega.com. Deadlines to file complaints or responses, all discovery practices and deadlines, time in which to serve a party, time in which to appeal or seek a right to an appeal and all motions, briefs, trials, hearings and corresponding deadlines were suspended by the order. The magistrate court will reopen at 9 a.m. on Jan. 18.

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