The Minnesota Judicial Branch announced that face coverings will no longer be required in court facilities effective July 6.
“As the pandemic’s impact on Minnesota continues to recede, so too will some of the health and safety protocols that were in place in our district and appellate courts,” said Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea.
Judges, employees, and courthouse visitors will still be allowed to wear face coverings in court facilities if they choose to do so, although judges may direct people to remove face coverings as necessary to conduct court hearings.
There will continue to be limitations on the types of in-person activities that take place at court facilities through Sept. 6. The following is summary of current court operations:
• In-Person Hearings and Trials: Criminal Jury Trials; Civil Jury Trials; court trials in Major Criminal, Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Protection (including Child in Need of Protection or Services and Permanency case types); Criminal Settlement Conferences; and Grand Jury Proceedings continue to take place in-person. Mandatory misdemeanor criminal trials and contested hearings in these cases can be held in person beginning Aug. 2.
• Remote Hearings: All other district court proceedings are being held remotely unless the chief judge of the judicial district grants permission for an in-person proceeding based on extenuating circumstances.
• Appellate Courts: Proceedings in appeals before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court will continue as scheduled by those courts.
• Civil Commitment: Proceedings before the Commitment Appeal Panel will continue as scheduled by the Panel, and may be conducted by remote technology.
• Public Service Counters: At least one public service counter in each county, and one in the appellate courts, will be accessible between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday, excluding court holidays. Counter service can be provided remotely, by appointment, or in person.
• Self-Help Services continue to be conducted by remotely, by appointment or by telephone.
• Courthouse (public access)Terminals are available based on hours established by the local district court.
The presiding judge may limit the number of persons in attendance at an in-person proceeding, other than the parties, attorneys representing the parties, and necessary court staff, if required by local conditions.
Other than media representatives attending proceedings and permitted to record as allowed by court rules or court order, the only recording permitted for any proceeding, whether in-person or remote, is the official recording created by the court. Requests by media representatives to attend in-person proceedings must be coordinated through the Judicial Branch Court Information Office.
Also effective July 6, the Judicial Branch will suspend requirements in its COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and Jury Management Resource Team recommendations for jury trials during COVID-19.