California was the first state to shut down due to the corona virus. Restaurants, bars, theme parks, gyms, event venues – even parks and beaches were closed due to the pandemic. However, on June 15, 2021 after 15 months of stay-at-home owners, Governor Gavin Newsom re-opened the state. Now, with few exceptions, all public areas are opened with no mask requirements and no social distancing requirements.
One of those exceptions is the Los Angeles Court system. Also on June 15, 2021, Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor sent out a news release:
“While June 15 represents the state’s economic reopening with revised state and county public health guidelines that match recent CDC changes, workplaces must continue to comply with Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards. The Court is carefully monitoring rapid developments and will continue to provide updates on any changes to workplace guidelines. Please be patient and continue to wear your masks and remain six feet apart in all court buildings. If you forget your mask when coming to the courthouse, one will be provided to you at the entrance.”
The current protocols for court access and appearances remain in effect. People seeking services from the Clerk’s Office, the Self-Help Centers, and/or the court support services must have a pre-scheduled appointment. For telephone or video assistance, or to schedule an appointment, the telephone number for each courthouse is listed at the courthouse entry and posted on the Court’s website at www.lacourt.org
Face coverings are still required as well: “In accordance with Amended General Order No. 2021-GEN-009-02, issued on February 25, 2021, all persons are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while in a courthouse. Persons whose disabilities preclude them from wearing face coverings are urged to seek an accommodation under Rule 1.100 of the California Rules of Court in advance of their court appearance or appointment.” Further, face masks with valves are prohibited.
The Order requires:
“• 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 personnel.
• Individuals are required to maintain at least six (6) feet of physical distance from all persons (except those within your household) at all times and comply with social distance signage throughout the courthouse.
• Use hand sanitizer when entering the courthouse, practice good hand-washing hygiene and cover coughs and sneezes, preferably with a tissue.”