Hiring a notary during this unprecedented time is not quite the same as hiring another professional. An event planner or roofer won’t typically need access to places such as hospitals or other care facilities, but for mobile notaries, these are common signing locations.
Due to the risk that the COVID-19 virus poses, especially to those who are elderly or considered higher-risk, most care facilities will not allow visitation–this includes notaries.
However, there are exceptions: if the notarization is deemed essential, the signer or their loved one can speak to someone in the admissions department of the care facility to request to bring the notary on the premises for the signing. The facility will likely ask the notary to show proof of vaccination and/or a negative Covid test.
If this request is denied by the care facility, there is another possibility: if the patient’s room is on the ground floor and has an accessible window, the notary can watch the patient sign documents through the window. The notary would still need to see the signer’s ID and the signer would need to place their signature and thumb print in the notary’s journal. This entire process would also need to be permitted by the facility, and is only a recommendation if the notary themself cannot enter the facility.
Common processes among elderly or those staying in care facilities include the selling of property, power of attorney, and advanced health care directives. These items can be time-sensitive, so it is important to find out if the facility is allowing visitors as soon as possible to begin planning these types of signings.
Outside of hospitals and care facilities, hiring a notary can be simpler. Depending on your comfort and preferences, your notary will often wear a mask if signing indoors, although you can request an outdoor signing if the weather in your area permits. Not all notaries are vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 regularly, so feel free to ask about these things when looking to hire a mobile notary.
During this pandemic it can be difficult to get to the DMV within a certain time frame due to becoming infected with the virus or low staffing and long wait times. If a signer does not have a current government issued photo ID at the time of the signing, two witnesses will need to be provided as an alternative. Key requirements for these types of situations are 1) that the witness personally know the signer for a considerable amount of time, 2) that the witness can show their own current, non-expired government issued ID, 3) the witness cannot be a spouse or immediate family, and 4) there cannot be a conflict of interest between the signer and a witness (in other words, the witness cannot benefit from the signing about to take place).
COVID-19 has shaken up life as we know it, and document signings are no exception. Make sure you are prepared and informed before hiring a notary and scheduling a signing!
Kelly Moore is a mobile notary and certified signing agent who provides an excellent experience for her signers. She does her job thoroughly and takes the time to connect with every client—even the furry ones. Kelly services most areas within Los Angeles County, as well as parts of San Bernardino County and Orange County. For more information, contact Kelly at (626) 610-6252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.