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3 Questions Notaries Should Ask Before Resuming Business After COVID-19

As cities begin to gradually ease COVID-19 stay at home orders, many businesses are eager to return to their normal work routine — Notaries included. But Notaries have seen many radical changes to how they perform their services during the coronavirus pandemic that won’t go away overnight. Before you pick up business where you left off before the pandemic, it’s important to first ask these 3 important questions:

1. When Do My State’s Emergency Notary Rules Expire?

One of the biggest upheavals for Notaries during COVID-19 has been the challenge of safe face-to-face contact during notarizations. To reduce the risk of coronavirus spread, many states issued temporary emergency Notary orders authorizing alternatives to face-to-face Notary assignments for the duration of the health crisis. It’s very important to remember that while many of these orders have set expiration dates or end once officials declare the state of emergency is over, others may be extended for the foreseeable future. Stay informed about the current status of your state’s emergency Notary orders through the Notary Bulletin, and remember that once these orders expire temporary Notary guidelines will no longer be in effect and you must perform notarizations face to face with your customers.

2. Are There Still Health Safety Restrictions In Place For My Area? 

Different states are on different timetables for resuming normal business activities. Some cities and states remain shut down, others are allowing some businesses to partially re-open, and many municipalities are still requiring people to use masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) and practice social distancing when venturing outside their homes. Some workplaces are also requiring employees to undergo temperature checks, wear masks and take other safety measures when returning to the office. Be sure to follow any health safety rules required by state or local officials or by your employer when notarizing.

Also, remember that even after businesses reopen, many customers may still need to take health precautions for notarizations due to chronic medical conditions. Please continue to respect and follow customer needs for health safety measures when performing assignments.

3. Do I Need To Update My Notary Commission Status?

Some states have limited or completely shut down Notary commission application and renewal processing due to COVID-19. California, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Tennessee have extended the commission expiration date of Notaries whose commissions expired during the COVID-19 shutdown, and Pennsylvania is allowing its Notaries additional time to take their required Notary exams and record their bonds and oaths of office. Before resuming normal Notary business activities, be sure that your commission is current and has not expired. If your commission has been extended, double check your extended commission expiration date. Do not try to perform notarizations if your commission is expired and you have not received an extension or your renewed commission.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

Notary Bulletin COVID-19 Coverage

 

10 Comments

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sue Weibe

08 Jun 2020

Is Oregon doing online notorys

National Notary Association

08 Jun 2020

Hello. No, Oregon does not permit remote notarizations at this time. Please see here for Oregon's recommended safety practices for Notaries during COVID-19: https://sos.oregon.gov/Pages/covid-19.aspx

Sheri

08 Jun 2020

Living in LA Ca as one of maybe 5 other states that won’t allow RON it’s awful that I should of and still have to expose myself to the public and risk of getting sick near strangers Why is Ca operating like this? It isn’t fair

Leanne Hendricks

09 Jun 2020

Can we ask the signer to remove his/her face mask just long enough so we can compare what they look like to the photo ID they are providing? Perhaps it would be a good idea to ask the signer to move further than 6-feet away from me when they remove his/her mask. I'm in California.

National Notary Association

10 Jun 2020

Please see this article for some suggested safety precautions for in-person notarizations during COVID-19: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/notaries-precautions-coronavirus

Connie Wagers

09 Jun 2020

Is the June 24 class in Ontario still going to be held?

National Notary Association

10 Jun 2020

Hello. Please contact our Customer Care team at 1-800-76-6827 for assistance.

Rene-Bianca Smith

22 Jun 2020

It would be nice if the NNA made a freestanding portable acrylic (18"x 18") sneeze guard w/a pass through.

Louisa

14 Jul 2020

I read that Assembly member Ian Calderon had an AB-199 California Online Notary Act- what happen to that bill? How do we get Assembly member Ian Calderon to resubmit AB-199 bill to the California State Legislature. Do we as California Notary just call his office as a group fill up his voice mail box or send emails or do both?

National Notary Association

17 Jul 2020

Hello. We suggest you contact you local state assembly member or state senator to let them know your views on RON and that you are interested in appropriate legislation to support your position next year.

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