LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - No matter who you are, you're going to get your temperature checked before you're allowed into the Gwinnett County jail. That goes for law enforcement, too.
Deputies stood watch at the front entrance and the rear gate. Everyone entering the building had to submit to a temperature reading before they were allowed to proceed.
"We're doing everything we can think of," explained chief deputy Lou Solis. "That includes cleaning out the cars, too."
We watched as a jail trusty wearing a protective mask scrubbed down a Duluth police car that had just brought in a prisoner. Both the police officer and that prisoner had previously been checked with a no-contact digital thermometer outside the gates. So far, Solis says only two people have registered a temperature of at least 100.4, one of the indicators of coronavirus. They were isolated and a later reading showed their temperature was normal.
Authorities here realize that even someone without a high temperature could be carrying the virus, but they say they can't close the jail to everyone.
They have stopped family visitation, however. Attorneys are still allowed inside. They've also come up with ways to let inmates connect with family members. Inmates typically have to pay for video conferencing or email service. The county vendor providing that service is allowing inmates two free video calls and three free emails each week. They're allowed to pay for more if they want.
"We're also cleaning high traffic areas every 15 minutes," Solis explained.
Cleaning crews spray down one of the courtrooms inside the Gwinnett Justice Center. The building is closed until Tuesday.
The jail isn't the only Gwinnett County building getting a good scrub.
Key government facilities like the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center were closed Thursday. Janitorial staff are using a special misting procedure to deep clean each office space.
People who showed up hoping to conduct county business had to turn around.
"At this point we're fine," said Yolanda Porter who, with her husband Nolan, wanted to check on some court papers. "We understand social distancing. We're following all CDC rules put in place to follow."
The county tag offices were only open for special situations. Otherwise, if someone needed to renew their tag they had to get in the drive-through line. At one point, it snaked around the building. Lenny Cooper was second in line when we talked to him. He'd been there for 37 minutes.
"No need to be impatient," he said with a smile.
Expect the changes at the jail to last for the foreseeable future. As for those freshly-scrubbed government buildings, they should be back in business Tuesday.