Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today implored all court users to comply with the Court’s mandatory face mask requirement and other public health guidance to protect everyone seeking and delivering justice in Los Angeles County courthouses.
“As a County, we have been in this place before where infections are increasing rapidly and we need to join together to stop the spread during a surge in community transmission,” Presiding Judge Taylor said. “During this fragile time in the pandemic, it is imperative to remind everyone that face masks, worn over the nose and mouth, are required in all Los Angeles County courthouses. The Court strongly urges attorneys to appear remotely for hearings. The public is strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment for Clerk’s Office services and access online and courthouse call center options for self-help and other needs. We all share a responsibility to protect one another.”
Presiding Judge Taylor reminded the public that anyone experiencing symptoms, who has been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, should not enter any courthouses. If you have tested positive or are experiencing symptoms, promptly call the courtroom and other parties to continue the hearing or trial.
The Court’s longstanding mandatory face mask mandate aligns with a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LA DPH) requirement, reissued earlier this month, to wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
At the same time the county enters its fourth wave of COVID-19 infection since March 2020, Court leaders have observed more people not properly following the Court’s mandatory face mask Order.
“While the Court has done its best to provide public safety information, public notices, and resources, as with anything in our great community, the most essential component in this equation is you – our friend, neighbor and colleague in justice. Without your cooperation, our ability to protect you, your client, your families, and our justice system is impaired.”
Effective Monday, August 2, the Court has hired additional Sheriff’s deputies, on a temporary basis, to enforce the Order and remind people that they must wear their face masks properly in all public locations in the courthouses, including courtrooms, hallways, and restrooms.
The Court continues to monitor courtroom capacity limits against trial demands, while carefully watching local COVID trends and LA DPH advisories and orders. While there are no social distancing mandates in LA County, the public is urged to come to court in person only when necessary to help the Court manage foot traffic. Attorneys should expect to work with trial judges to conduct jury selection in larger courtrooms, if available, and anticipate the Court spreading jurors around the courtroom at a more comfortable distance.
“We all must rededicate ourselves to following public health guidance and Court safety mandates,” Presiding Judge Taylor said. “Our nation and our county are in a fourth wave of infection with a variant that spreads more easily and targets unvaccinated individuals. LA DPH advises that wearing a face mask indoors reduces the risk of both getting and transmitting the virus. As we are learning, vaccinated people who contract the Delta variant can spread COVID-19 to anyone else.”
More information on the virus is available at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
The Court will continue to work with its justice partners to provide fair and efficient access to justice for delayed matters, with health and safety remaining the highest shared priority.
Please review this important information:
Face Coverings: In accordance with Amended General Order 2021-GEN-023-00, all persons – regardless of vaccination status – are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while in a courthouse. Persons whose disabilities preclude them from wearing face coverings compliant with the guidance are urged to seek an accommodation under Rule 1.100 of the California Rules of Court in advance of their court appearance or appointment. A list of ADA liaisons is available at http://www.lacourt.org/ada/adahome.aspx.
Clerk’s Office and Self-Help Center Appointments:
In the interest of safeguarding the well-being of court users, persons seeking services from the Clerk’s Office, court support services, and/or the Self-Help Centers are encouraged to schedule appointments. 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, www.lacourt.org.
View the full notice here.
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