Face disguises are now required in Minnesota courtrooms and courthouse public areas, according to an order issued by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota Laurie S. Gildea.
“The Minnesota Judiciary continues to prioritize health and safety as we respond to the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gildea said in a press release. “As we see an increase in positive reviews and hospitalizations across the state, our courts are taking prudent measures to ensure access to justice while we safeguard the health of our court officials, staff and everyone who enters the courtroom.”
A judicial manual, released on July 30, allowed judges to make local decisions on whether to require the use of camouflage masks in their courtrooms or on the premises of local courts.
According to the new order, face masks must be worn in all courtrooms and in public places on court premises. People should speak to court staff immediately upon entering if they do not have access to the face disguise or if they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing it.
Face masks will be provided to individuals who do not have access to them. The presiding judge may require people to remove the mask from their face if necessary for the conduct of the trial.
People are encouraged to stay at home if they are sick and ask them to self-check for symptoms or exposure before entering the courthouse. People who show symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 within 14 days after they need to go to the courtroom are asked to contact the court or their lawyers rather than go to the courthouse.