Courthouse reopens, officials finally sworn in 


The Dukes County Courthouse reopened Monday for limited service, after closing in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, most court business remains digital, including district court proceedings. Everyone who enters the courthouse is questioned by court officers about their potential exposure to COVID-19. Everyone entering also receives a thermal scan to check for elevated temperature. 

Dukes County Superior Court Clerk George Davis swore in airport commissioner Bob Zeltzer Monday at the courthouse, and several county appointees on Tuesday, including associate commissioner of the disabled Richard Cohen and Dukes County Health Council member Michael Bellissimo. Several more people are slated to be sworn in, Davis said, including a number of public notaries.

Zeltzer has been attending meetings of the airport commission on Zoom since being appointed to the commission by the county in May, but has been unable to vote.

While the courthouse was closed, no oaths of office were held. Davis said he knew of nowhere in the state people were being sworn in during that time, except for in Boston. Davis said he and court staffer Deanna Ruiz are the only people in the county authorized to swear in public officials. Despite requests to do so, for health and safety reasons, he opted not to swear in folks on call elsewhere on the Vineyard, and instead waited until the courthouse reopened and the large and airy courtroom was available.