Meeting and identifying signers has inevitably changed identifying signers with face coverings on.
The COVID pandemic has been haunting all of us for the past few years. The virus has infused many behavioral changes among humans and wearing the mask is one of them. People across the US have accustomed to the new normal of wearing a mask in public places. However, this new normal has increased the task at hand for notary publics.
Why are face coverings a problem for notary publics?
One very important task for any notary public is to carry out identification of the signer. A notary public should be very careful while carrying out the identification process. They should be convinced about the identity of the person before proceeding with the signature. When the signer is covering his/her face with a mask, it becomes difficult for the notary public to correctly identify the signer.
One question might have popped into your head by now. Why can’t the notary ask the signer to remove the mask? Some people are not comfortable with removing their masks due to their medical conditions. Moreover, many states have mandated the wearing of mask in indoor as well as outdoor spaces. With these restrictions, it becomes tougher for the notary public to carry out his job.
What can a notary public do to identify the signer?
There are not many measures you can take to solve this problem. Here are a few measures and precautions you can take to identify the signer.
· Social distancing can go a long way
The biggest skepticism among the people as of now is getting COVID from the notary public. You can address this problem by following the guidelines underlined by the CDC. Other than wearing the mask and sanitizing your hands, you can also follow social distancing. While maintaining a distance with the person, you can ask him/her to remove the mask for probably less than a minute. With this measure, you avoid the chance of getting or giving COVID.
· Going online is the key
Online notarization has become a rage in the US ever since the pandemic. Notary publics have started notarizing documents from the comfort of their home. In the online mode, the question of wearing mask does not arise. The only drawback is that online notarization is not allowed in all the states in the US.
· Refer your state’s law
Before taking any steps in this regard, always refer to your state’s law. Many states have made temporary provisions for this problem. That is why it is important to understand the solution from a legal viewpoint. If the person is not comfortable with removing the mask, you can ask him/her to go to a notary with whom he/she has a personal and more comfortable relationship.
No notary should proceed if he is not certain about the identity of the signer. Unless they feel confident about the identity of the signer, they should stop the process then and there. During this time of the pandemic, every notary should take the responsibility to make their client feel comfortable. Showing your vaccine proof, wearing a mask (and gloves) are some ways to show your professionalism.