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The original item was published from 6/4/2021 5:11:00 PM to 7/26/2021 12:05:01 AM.

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Posted on: May 7, 2021

[ARCHIVED] CANADY FURTHER RELAXES COURTHOUSE COVID RESTRICTIONS

Portrait of Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady in dark suit, tie, and glasses.

Updated 06/04/2021

Chief Justice Charles Canady ordered allowing courts to lift requirements to wear masks and maintain social distance while in courtrooms during proceedings. The order prioritizes criminal jury trials by directing most other proceedings be conducted remotely.  Read the news release.

Updated 05/07/2021

As a result of several administrative orders by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady, COVID-19 health screenings and face coverings no longer are required for visitors to courthouses in Floida's Sixth Judicial Circuit (covering Pasco and Pinellas counties).

“As you know, for more than a year we have taken steps to safely operate the judicial branch using safeguards dictated by changing health conditions and evolving best practices,” Chief Justice Canady said. “The changes I make today reflect the current state of the pandemic while maintaining appropriate safeguards as we move toward the time when all Floridians eligible for vaccination will have had the opportunity to become fully vaccinated.”

The orders amended today govern health and safety precautions, emergency measures for trial courts, and emergency measures for appellate courts

More than a year ago, most in-person court events were suspended. 

“Beyond the changes that I am now making that affect courthouse operations outside of in-person court proceedings, I expect that in the not-too-distant future modifications of the protocols now in place for in-person court proceedings will be adopted so that we can move our court rooms back to more normal operations,” Canady said. 

The orders, issued late Thursday, loosen some, but not all, restrictions put into place as a result of the pandemic.

For instance, social distancing and masks remain in full force and effect inside courtrooms during in-person proceedings. However, in the hallways outside courtrooms, social distancing and masks no longer are be required.

Signs in common areas reminding people to wear a mask and social distance will be removed.

Although the latest administrative orders from the Florida Supreme Court do away with some restrictions, the circuit remains in Phase 2, where in-person hearings are allowed in courtrooms as long as certain precautionary measures, such as social distancing and masks, are in place. 

As ever, visitors to the West Pasco and Robert Sumner judicial centers are encouraged to practice whatever personal precautions they consider prudent.

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