After more than a year and a half of court operations at the Forum River Center, county officials are preparing to reopen the event center to the public.
The county had to step back from scheduling events at the Forum to allow Floyd County Superior Court to operate in a larger space in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
They were originally scheduled to return to the courthouse during the summer, but the peaks of August and September led Chief Justice John “Jack” Niedrach to continue court operations at the Forum.
However, with the rate of COVID-19 cases starting to decline, county officials are hoping the facility can start generating income again.
County manager Jamie McCord recently met with Niedrach and Sheriff Dave Roberson to discuss how they could safely open the building for events.
âThey agreed that starting Jan. 1 we can start booking and scheduling events, except for the ballroom,â McCord said during the county committee caucus on Tuesday.
The ballroom is the primary area where the court takes place and should be secured according to state judicial guidelines.
âIt makes the job of Dave (Roberson) and Jody House a lot easier, so they don’t have to do a big sweep of the entire facility every day,â McCord said.
Commission President Wright Bagby said the Rome Tourist Board had been very sympathetic about the need to reschedule events he had previously booked.
McCord said he plans to set a cancellation policy based on COVID-19 cases and positivity rates in the region.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a safe positivity rate for hosting an indoor event is 5% or less. The county is currently at 15%.
The positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for COVID-19 during a given period. Public health officials use the rate to determine if there is a significant spread of the virus in an area.
Although positive cases are starting to decline, Commissioners said they expected another spike in the upcoming holiday season.