Effective Wednesday August 26, 2020 at 9am, the Erie County Clerk will be reopening the Closing Room to attorneys. All searchers will be admitted starting Monday morning.
The Office will operate as it did in the final days just before the Governor’s COVID PAUSE order was instituted. All “walk-ins” will be accepted. To decrease the number of occupants in the building, closings will be limited to one representative from each office, and no clients during this transition. The “three transactions at the window” rule remains. At this time we are reviewing capping access because of the size of the area but we will constantly monitor and adjust as needed.
As far as protocols for reopening, the Office will be following and requiring everyone else to follow all Erie County Department of Health, CDC and NY Forward guidelines. These each can change on a moment’s notice. Hand sanitizing stations and disinfecting supplies will be made available in the Closing Room for public use.
Two big changes:
1. The closing tables have been removed, with the exception of two for accessibility purposes. They have been replaced by hi-top tables to encourage the “attorney only” rule and promote social distancing.
2. The benches in front of the cashiers have been moved elsewhere because only one person would be permitted to sit at a bench. A ticket system has been implemented and the searchers have helped us implement. The ticket system allows us to call a number for an attorney or customer anywhere in the closing room. Attorneys and other customers will get their ticket at our newly installed kiosk, but they should only be pulled if ALL documents for recording are ready. A ticket number will then be called with a direction of which window to go to. We understood there was abuse of a ticket system before and we will have data monitoring the system that will be reviewed daily. If we notice abuse of the system that is detrimental to other customers and attorneys, it will be immediately addressed.
All this said, we will still be accepting documents for recording and filing via USPS/UPS/FedEx, search companies and e-recording.
Please keep in mind we are transitioning and adjusting to this new COVID lifestyle. All policies are subject to change at any time. Please let me know if any of you have any questions or any comments.
John J. Fenz, Esq.
Deputy County Clerk – Legal
Office of Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns
92 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202
Phone: (716) 858-6348
Fax: (716) 858-6550