Due to the current concerns with COVID-19, Sign X is instituting these temporary guidelines:
- Social distancing should be employed as much as possible while conducting the signing, while not losing visual contact with the documents or signer to enable witnessing of the signatures.
- Notaries should wear gloves and face masks (as available.)
- Instead of handshakes, notaries are encouraged to use other respectful forms of greeting.
- Ask the signer to use their own blue pen or the notary should provide a disposable blue pen for the signer to use and keep or dispose of after the signing.
- Stay home when you are sick, preferably as soon as you start feeling sick.
- Cover your mouth with tissues whenever you sneeze, immediately discarding used tissues in the trash, or use your arm to cough into near the elbow joint.
- Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces.
- Notaries should be able to honor such requests as signing in an outdoor setting if available and/or preferred by the signer.
Notaries must notify us immediately and decline an assignment if you answer yes to any of the following questions:
- Have you returned from international travel within the last 14 days?
- Have you or any household members had close contact with or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
- Have you experienced any cold or flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days (fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory illness, difficult breathing)?
Please exercise caution and good judgement to protect the health of the signer and yourself.
Other recommended safety measures
For Notary Signing Agents and signers that are concerned about possible contact with the COVID-19 coronavirus when meeting face to face during loan signings and notarizations, some have recommended a process called “window-separated signing” or “porch signing”, in which loan signings are conducted through a window or doorway at a safe physical distance. In response, the National Notary Association (NNA) has published its own guidance for performing these signings in a way that protects the health of all involved and ensures that any notarial acts performed comply with state laws.
The NNA recommends that Notaries should follow these minimum guidelines when performing “window-separated signings”:
- The Notary and signer must be able to communicate with each other by sight and sound through the window and by normal means. Cell phones, FaceTime, Skype or other electronic communication tools must not be used for a “window-separated signing.”
- The Notary must follow all federal, state and local guidelines for social distancing, health protection and sanitization when meeting with signers and handling documents, IDs or other materials. When items are passed between the signer and Notary, one person should place the item in a neutral area and then step back and provide safe distance to allow the other person to pick it up.
- The signer must give their actual ID to the Notary to view and inspect. The ID may not be viewed at a distance or through a window. The Notary should retain possession of the ID until the end of the signing, and then return it to the signer.
- For jurats (called “verifications on oath and affirmation” in some states), the Notary must directly witness the signer sign the document in direct line of sight. This may be done through a window or doorway. Any required oaths or affirmations must be administered by the Notary to signer in direct line of sight and sound.
- The Notary must complete all journal entries before handing the journal to the signer in an appropriate social distancing manner. The signer should sign (and in California, place any required thumbprint) in the appropriate journal entry through a window or doorway in direct line of sight of the Notary.
- The Notary must complete all notarial certificates in direct line of sight of the signer through a window or doorway before leaving the signing.
- The Notary must take reasonable steps to ensure the same documents handed to the signer are the same ones handed back to the Notary. The Notary should compare all signatures on notarized documents with the signatures made in the journal entries, and with the signature on the ID that the Notary has retained throughout the entire signing, to ensure the same person signed the documents.