Going To Court? Temperature Checks, Covid Screening Added To Security Checkpoints
Syracuse, N.Y. — All visitors to New York State courthouses — from spectators to lawyers — will be required to undergo temperature checks and answer Covid-19 screening questions starting on Monday, the court system has announced.
The new measures are going into effect as the courts continue their slow reopening process. For more than a month, only emergency court proceedings were held. Then came limited Family Court, criminal and civil appearances.
The number of cases expands again Thursday. For the first time during the pandemic, criminal trials will begin again — but only those before a judge. Juries are still a no-no. There’s signs of progress, though: grand juries — panels of citizens who vote on criminal indictments — will begin meeting again July 13, the state courts announced.
With activity increasing again in local courthouses, the state is implementing temperature checks and standard Covid-19 screening questions:
1) Have you had fever, cough, shortness of breath or any flu-like symptoms?
2) Have you tested positive for Covid-19 (or been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19)?
3) Have you returned from travel abroad or from a state identified as having a high Covid-19 infection rate?
Screening stations will be set up before the visitor goes through the metal detector at each courthouse.
The rules apply to all non-court system personnel. That means lawyers, but not judges. Spectators, but not clerks.
A visitor will be told to leave if his or her temperature is greater than 100 degrees, or if the visitor answers yes to any of the questions. If the visitor is expected in court, he or she will be told who to contact for further information. Those turned away will also be asked to answer a voluntary questionnaire about what brought them to court.
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