By a MetNews Staff Writer
Face masks must continue to be worn in courthouses notwithstanding the “re-opening” of the state, Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor announced yesterday.
Social distancing requirements are still in place, he specified.
Taylor noted that workplaces must continue to adhere to emergency rules promulgated by the state Department of Industrial Relations’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and courthouses are not exempted.
“The court is carefully monitoring rapid developments and will continue to provide updates on any changes to workplace guidelines,” the presiding judge said. “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 court’s requirements are set forth in a Feb. 25, 2021 general order, issued by Taylor. It provides:
1. All persons entering any courthouse or courtroom shall wear a face mask over both the nose and mouth while in public areas of the courthouse or courtroom. Face masks with valves are not permitted. Face shields may not be worn without a face mask except as required by a physician. Children under the age of two (2) are exempt from the order.
2. Judicial officers and court employees in an enclosed space with the door closed may remove their masks while they are alone.
3. Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that precludes them from wearing a face mask are exempt from wearing a face mask. Nevertheless, they must take whatever protective measures their condition permits, such as appearing remotely or wearing a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge.
4. Individuals with disabilities who seek an exemption from the face mask requirement as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act or Rule 1.100 of the California Rules of Court, should contact the ADA liaison at the courthouse. A list of ADA liaisons is available at www.lacourt.org/ada/adahome.aspx. To reduce the risk of contagion, the matters of individuals exempted from wearing a face mask may be scheduled when fewer people are present in court.
5. Non-exempt individuals who decline or refuse to wear a face mask will be denied entry to the courthouse and or courtroom.
6. 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.
7. Maintain at least six (6) feet of physical distance from all persons (except those within your household) at all times. Comply with social distance signage throughout the courthouse.
8. Use hand sanitizer when entering the courthouse, practice good hand washing hygiene, and cover coughs and sneezes, preferably with a tissue.
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