With restrictions to begin loosening with the expiration of the stay-at-home order on Monday, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea has issued an order detailing a gradual and limited reopening of state courts.
The courts must meet safety conditions established in the Minnesota Judicial Branch's COVID-19 preparedness plan, which includes expectations for social distancing, disinfecting and cleaning, face coverings as well as partitions and barriers, according to the order.
In a news release, Gildea said access to justice means people in courthouses are safe and feel safe. Guidance for a gradual reopening came from state and local health officials, judicial officers and staff.
"When people return to our courthouses they will see new signage, physical barriers, staff and judicial officers wearing face coverings, frequent sanitization, and many other new protocols set up to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Gildea said.
Beginning Monday, judges and employees can return to their offices in accordance with the preparedness plan.
On June 1, a limited number of pilot jury trials can begin. Aside from the pilots, no other criminal jury trials can begin before July 6 and no jury trials can be held in civil cases before Sept. 1.
Some hearings will continue to be held virtually.
In-person counter support will be limited to those attending an in-person proceeding. All other services will continue be available online or by phone.