‘It’s lonely down here’; Nunn reflects on changes at courthouse since closing doors to public

Published 4:49 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2020

“I can’t wait until the Coronavirus is over so I can go back to having the citizens come into my office and I can have conversations with them,” said Dallas County Probate Judge and Commission Chairman Jimmy Nunn. “Right now, it’s lonely down here.”

The Dallas County Courthouse has been closed to the public since April 1.

Since its closure, Nunn says the once bustling courthouse now only has five to 10 percent of its usual foot traffic.

“It is very quiet,” said Nunn. “There is little to no movement in the courthouse.”

Though closed to the public, Nunn says departments throughout the courthouse are still providing services to the citizens of Dallas County via phone and online at the county’s website, www.dallascounty-al.org.

Dallas County residents can pay their taxes, renew their drivers licenses online and contact the probate office during their adjusted hours, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Nunn said there is a lot of leniency for Dallas County residents during the ongoing pandemic.

“We don’t want our citizens to be penalized because of this outbreak,” said Nunn.

Nunn said the Tax Collectors Office would work with those who need to have their taxes paid and provide leeway and that, while the tags department is closed, the Department of Revenue has extended the grace period for the renewal of tags due in March or April to May 15.

“We’re doing the very best that we can to try and see ourselves through this Coronavirus,” said Nunn.

While some department have been temporarily closed or are working remotely, The Dallas County Commission met Monday evening and designated the following departments essential: The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. The Dallas County Jail, Camp Perry Varner Juvenile Detention Center, Environmental Services and the Dallas County Road Department.

“Those are necessary and essential departments that must come to work,” said Nunn.

While Dallas County is doing its best under the circumstance, Nunn said the inconvenience caused by COVID-19 can’t be helped.

“It’s an inconvenience to the citizens and an inconvenience to the government,” he said. “We are It’s an inconvenience to be six, eight, 10 feet away from a person with a mask and gloves on and try and have a meeting and talk. But we’re trying to do the best we can.”

As for when things at the courthouse will return to normal, Nunn said they’re taking things on a day-by-day basis.

“As soon as we get more guidance from the state level, that will trickle down to the local level,” said Nunn.

In the meantime, Nunn asks the citizens of Dallas County to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) guidelines and practice social distancing, wash their hands and disinfect frequently used surfaces often.

“We have 14 cases in Dallas County now, and when I look at these cases and deaths across Alabama and across the United States, I look at them as human beings and not as numbers,” said Nunn. “This thing is not over. I don’t want people to think that it’s over… Don’t let up off the gas yet. We are still in this thing that is COVID-19.”