Gallatin County Courthouse File

The sun sets on the Gallatin County Courthouse on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.

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COVID-19 cases have forced three Gallatin County offices to close to the public.

The Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder’s office, the Clerk of District Court’s office and the Belgrade Motor Vehicle office all shuttered this week because of cases of COVID-19. Though the offices are closed to the public, many services that each provides are still available online or by phone.

There were 306 new cases in Gallatin County Wednesday, bringing the active cases total in the county to 2,578, according to Montana’s COVID-19 dashboard. Gallatin County has the most active COVID-19 cases in the state.

Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder Eric Semerad said that the choice to close the office at the Gallatin County Courthouse was made Monday.

The office is closed to the public but all services — except for access to the plat room — are available on the clerk and recorder’s website, Semerad said. People that need to do records searches can access the clerk and recorder’s document mapper and document search tool.

Semerad said he hopes to reopen the office to the public early next week.

District court clerk Mia Johnson made the call to shutter the Gallatin County Clerk of District Court’s office at the Law and Justice Center on Tuesday. The office is at half staff because of cases of COVID-19.

People can drop-off case filings in a secure drop box outside of the office. Services like filing for marriage licenses, filing for divorce, opening new civil criminal cases, submitting parenting are still ongoing despite the office being closed to foot traffic.

Johnson said she hopes to reopen the office to the public by next Monday.

Gallatin County Treasurer Jennifer Blossom had to close the Belgrade Motor Vehicle office Monday. She said that workers from that office who tested negative were sent to the Gallatin County Motor Vehicle office at the Gallatin County Courthouse in Bozeman.

Only four employees — out of the 14 that work in both offices — are working in the Bozeman office.

Foot traffic is welcome at the Bozeman location, but Blossom asked for patience because of limited staff. She said that wait times were up to three-and-a-half hours long Tuesday, and that could continue throughout the week.

Blossom hopes to have the office reopened by Monday.

The Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder’s office can be reached by phone at 406-582-3050.

The Clerk of District Court’s office can be reached by phone at 406-582-2165.

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Alex Miller is the county and state government reporter and can be reached at amiller@dailychronicle.com or by phone at 406-582-2648.

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