During the shutdown, Erie and Niagara County clerks have been working hard to not only help with social distancing, but help our economy.
"We're going to always encourage to have people not come into our office any more than we have to, especially until they can get a process in place as far as, you know, a vaccine," said Joseph Jastrzemski, Niagara County clerk.
Because of the importance of social distancing, the way that real estate closures are being conducted is changing. In Erie County, Clerk Michael Kearns says that his office is relying more on e-filing. Rather than doing business in-person, the attorneys are now mailing paperwork or going online.
"So now it's a challenge because we don't have as many staff and because of the governor's executive order, we have more mail coming in. So it's a major, major undertaking and it's a very important undertaking," said Kearns.
Despite the challenge, Kearns says that this revenue is very important for the county.
"We are literally at last year's revenue, even though we haven't been open. With the county facing a major budget deficit because of loss sales tax, that department is going to be very important to keep us balanced," explained Kearns.
According to the clerk, over a three-week period, the work brought in nearly $6 million for state and local governments.
The Niagara County clerk says that their office is now requiring attorneys to have people who are purchasing homes sign paperwork off site and promoting electronic filing.
"We're trying to process them as quickly as possible because we know how important it is for anybody who is out there trying to close on a home to make sure they get the rate that they want ... And there aren't any penalties. People can move on in their life as best that they can," said Jastrzemski.