National Association of Professional Process Servers

Process Servers Working Through The Pandemic

With the United States still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, many are trying to navigate their way through getting back to work with a desire to protect themselves and stay in compliance amid increased health guidelines. For process servers, completing service is providing an individual with their right to due process. The work is both necessary and an essential part of a court proceeding. Keep reading to learn what precautions process servers can take to ensure safety and compliance with changing regulations across the country. While each company will have their own plans, these are some of the best actions to protect yourself and others.

Scan for Symptoms Prior to Serving

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ensuring that all process servers do not have COVID19 symptoms before heading out on a serve is one way to attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. Before going on a serve, process servers should check their temperature to ensure they do not have a fever. Servers should also avoid going out if they are short of breath, coughing, or experiencing other coronavirus symptoms. Although there is still a lot to learn about the virus, and it can be asymptomatic, it is important for those experiencing symptoms or feeling unwell to stay home.

Sanitize & Increase Ventilation

Ensure the office, vehicle, equipment, and any document cases are properly sanitized. There are a number of ways that process servers and office personnel can do this, from using a spray or a wipe. Some may also consider increasing outdoor airflow and ventilation (decreasing recirculated air, such as by way of air conditioners) in offices as it is reported to help decrease or control viral spread. Keep things clean, sanitized, and well ventilated with fresh air.

Protect Documents

Because the court documents are printed on paper, they aren’t waterproof, which makes sanitizing them a tall task. Those in the office should take special care to engage in frequent handwashing so that the documents they touch are not contaminated. The best option is to enclose the paper documents in a plastic case as soon as they come off the printer. This minimizes contact with the documents, and they can be sanitized as they move through the office to a server’s vehicle or from the process server to the individual to be served. Plastic document sleeves are a great option to use.

Physical Distancing

By now, nearly everyone has surely heard about the six feet apart rule. How does this work with civil process service? NAPPS recommends that the server place the documents on the ground at the door of the individual to be served. At that point, the server should knock on the door and then move away from the door while waiting for the respondent to answer the knock. Once they do, the server can make a visual confirmation from afar and request a verbal identity confirmation. The individual to be served can be directed to the documents on the ground without having to come near the process server. It is recommended that servers then watch to ensure the individual takes the documents. Once they have, servers are free and clear to complete your affidavit.

PPE: Wear a Mask

Let’s face it: no one enjoys wearing a mask. However, studies have shown that it can help prevent, or at the very least, reduce the spread of viral diseases. As such, personal protective equipment, or PPE, is necessary. By wearing a mask when you go out on a serve, servers are helping to keep yourself and the individuals to be served safer.

Use Gloves Responsibly

It is important to understand that gloves are intended to prevent contamination. Servers should not wear gloves and go about daily business without ever changing them. If servers choose to wear gloves, they cannot touch anything else after they have touched one item (for example, once a server has exited their vehicle, they can put gloves on, pick up the documents, serve them, and not touch anything else along the way — if they do, they will be contaminated and it will be just as though you were wearing no gloves.). Instead, it is more highly recommended to keep hands clean with frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 30 seconds or longer.

Make a Pandemic Serving Safety Plan!

No matter what healthy and safety precautions are taken while conducting business during the pandemic, it is important to establish protocols that must be adhered by all. This will ensure process servers stay safe at all times, and by making it a procedure, everyone will need to adhere to it. NAPPS recommends that process servers publish adopted coronavirus protective protocols on their website and also provide clients with a copy so that everyone is aware of the protective measures being taken. This is great for peace of mind, and it also eliminates any liability.

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