Face coverings will be mandatory for anyone in a court facility, including judges and staff, beginning July 13, 2020, according to an order issued today by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea. The order requires that people wear their own face coverings when they will be doing business in person with a district or appellate court. Visitors to any of the 105 court facilities should talk to court staff immediately upon entry if they do not have access to a face covering or have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing one. Visitors who do not have access to a face covering will be provided one.
“Requiring face coverings to be worn in court facilities when physical distance requirements cannot be maintained will contribute to the administration of justice by allowing the Judicial Branch to continue to safely and methodically expand court services and in-person court proceedings while implementing uniform safety measures in all court facilities,” said Chief Justice Gildea.
The order comes following the June 24, 2020, national public opinion survey conducted by the National Center for State Courts, which found that 70 percent of respondents would be more comfortable in a court facility where masks were required for employees and visitors.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch continues to be in a transitional phase, as established by orders. A May 28, 2020, order reopened court facilities on a limited basis for additional in-person access. Some counties may require appointments for public counter or public access terminal access. Local court facilities may continue to have additional conditions for entry.
Before visiting a court facility, court users should visit the Safe Reopening webpage to learn more about local court facility access and to review the updated Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Visitors are asked to self-screen for symptoms or exposure before entering a court facility. People exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within 14 days of when they need to enter a court facility, are asked to contact the court or their attorney, rather than come to the courthouse. Symptoms to self-screen for: chills, cough, muscle pain, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, or new loss of taste or smell.
Counties that have been approved to conduct criminal jury trials will continue to provide face coverings to summoned jurors.