Kevin C. Brazile, the Presiding Judge for the Los Angeles County Courts, issued an amended face mask order. Effective immediately, face masks with valves will not be allowed in court. Also, effective immediately, those wearing face shields are still required to wear a face mask (without valves) underneath the shield. Exceptions will be allowed as required by physicians and children under the age of two.
“We all have gotten used to evolving science and public health guidance during the pandemic,” Presiding Judge Brazile said. “The Court is aligning its mandatory face mask requirements in all Los Angeles County courthouses with Los Angeles County and California Department of Public Health guidances, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, to prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19.”
People with health conditions, including mental health and disabilities are still expected to take any preventative measures their health allows them. As an example, if they wear a face shield, but cannot wear a face mask, they can add a drape to the bottom of the shield to prevent droplets from escaping in the air.
Persons with disabilities who want an exemption from this Order as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to Rule 1.100 of the California Rules of Court, or under federal law - the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - should contact the ADA liaison at each courthouse. A list of liaisons is available at www.lacourt.org/ada/adahome.aspx.
According to the Order, “mandatory use of a face mask is part of the Court’s Here For You | Safe For You plan to provide a safe courthouse environment while offering services that allow court business to be conducted remotely. Whether appearing by phone, from home, the office or coming to the courthouse, the Court provides safe, efficient options to access justice. The Court’s remote technology options promote social distancing by reducing the number of people appearing in person. Pre-scheduled appointments are required for in-person transactions at the courthouse.”
Other aspects of Presiding Judge Brazile’s Order are as follows:
- All persons entering any courthouse or courtroom shall wear a face mask over their nose and mouth at all times within public areas of the courthouse or courtroom.
- Non-exempt individuals who decline or refuse to wear a face mask will be denied entry to the courthouse and/or courtroom.
- Individuals who remove their face masks after entering the courthouse or courtroom will be reminded to wear them. If they refuse, they may be denied services, may have their legal matters rescheduled and/or will be asked to leave the courthouse or courtroom immediately.
- Persons who refuse to leave voluntarily will be escorted out of the courthouse and/or courtroom by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s personnel.
- Individuals are required to maintain at least (6) six feet of physical distance from all persons (except those within their household at all times. Everyone must comply with social distancing signage throughout the courthouse.
- All individuals must use hand sanitizer when entering the courthouse, practice good hand-washing hygiene and cover coughs and sneezes, preferably with a tissue.