BARTOW, Fla. (June 2, 2020) –The Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller is now open to the public. New guidelines are in place for individuals working and conducting business within the courthouse, as outlined in Administrative Order 1-53.3 issued by the Honorable Ellen S. Masters, Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit.
Clerk services have resumed as normal with the following exceptions:
- The Clerk Drop Desk is discontinued and all departments are open.
- Marriage services are by appointment only.
- Passport services remain suspended and will resume once the U.S. Department of State resumes full operations.
- Jury trials and jury duty remain suspended through July 2.
The Governor extended the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions through July 1.Most court hearings will occur by Remote Appearance via Virtual Courtroom or Teleconference. Links to the virtual courtrooms are available on the 10th Judicial Circuit Court’s website at www.jud10.flcourts.org/. It is CRUCIAL that individuals read their court notices for instructions specific to their case.
Administrative Order 1-53.3 outlines the general procedures for the Polk County Courthouse to prioritize the safety of persons accessing the courthouse or court facilities:
Courthouse Entry/Exit: The public must enter the Bartow courthouse through the Church Street/North entrance or the Juvenile/Southwest entrance of the building.
Temperature Checks and Health Screenings: The public must undergo a health screening and temperature check before entering all court facilities, including Bartow, Lakeland and Winter Haven.
Masks: Everyone, including employees, must wear a mask while entering and exiting court facilities as well as when they are in shared, public spaces. Masks will be provided at no cost to visitors who do not have one.
Social Distancing: Social distancing measures of maintaining a distance of six feet from others will be strictly enforced. Signage is posted throughout the courthouse to help ensure this distance is maintained.
Any person who refuses to wear a facemask or follow social distancing requirements while in the courthouse or court facility will be denied access. The administrative order is available at www.jud10.flcourts.org/.
These new guidelines may impact wait times. The Clerk’s office encourages customers to utilize remote services when possible to avoid longer wait times and to minimize the volume of foot traffic inside the courthouse.
Remote services that are available to the public include:
- Pay a traffic ticket (online or by phone)
- Electronically record mortgages, deeds, and other official records (online, for repeat filers only, such as contractors, attorneys, title companies, closing agents, etc.)
- File court documents electronically (online)
- Electronically view court records, official records, and request certified copies (online)
- Check the status of court proceedings (by phone)
- Set up payment plans (by phone only)
- Electronically pay child support and alimony (online)
- Sign up to receive text and/or email alerts about court dates (online at enotify.flcourts.org)
- Mail traffic school completion certificates to P.O. Box 9000, Drawer CC-10, Bartow, FL 33831-9000
Clerk and Comptroller Stacy M. Butterfield served as a member of the Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19, a group established by the Florida Supreme Court to determine how to reopen the court system safely.
“It is of utmost importance to me that my office and the offices housed in the courthouse work together to ensure a safe and successful transition into reopening,” said Clerk Butterfield. “I am doing everything possible to balance the accessibility of Clerk services and doing our part to practice social distancing requirements adopted by public health authorities.”
More information on re-opening and remote services can be found on the Clerk’s COVID-19 web page at www.polkcountyclerk.net/covid-19. Information will also be shared via the Clerk’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/polkcountyclerk.
For more details about court cancelations and scheduling, contact the 10th Judicial Circuit or visit its website at http://www.jud10.flcourts.org/.