By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor yesterday issued a general order, effective Monday, which retains the requirement that face masks be worn in county courthouses—whether the person has been vaccinated or not—but lifts the need for social distancing.
In particular, Taylor rescinded General Order issued Nov. 23 by his predecessor as presiding judge, Kevin Brazile, which said:
“In the interest of enforcing social distancing and to reduce the number of people in courthouses, access to courthouses is restricted at all times to judicial officers, court staff, co-lessees, Judicial Council staff, vendors, jurors, mediators, authorized persons (which includes, but is not limited to, news media representatives and news reporters), attorneys, litigants and witnesses with matters on calendars, and individuals with confirmed appointments.”
It added that “members of the public, not otherwise referenced above, who wish to attend a court proceeding may do so upon advance request and at the discretion of the judicial officer presiding over the matter.”
The 2020 order required persons in courthouse hallways to stand at least six feet away from anyone not a member of his or her household, limited the number of persons inside a courtroom, and forbade eating in hallways.
Yesterday’s order also amends one Taylor issued June 17 retaining the social distancing requirement, as well as the mandate that persons seeking court services, such as from the Clerk’s Office, obtain an appointment. The new order “encourages” appointments.
“”Expanding access to justice safely remains the court’s top priority. During the pandemic, the court adopted alternative services and solutions to offer safe access to justice.
“Today, I am pleased to announce the court is aligning with, and responsibly following, federal, state and county public health and Cal/OSHA workplace guidance that eliminates social distancing in public spaces. Public health guidance also dictates safety measures, including mask-wearing, to protect workers and the public from spread of the virus and those persons not yet vaccinated.
“This is a huge step forward in our rise from the pandemic.”
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