courthouses

Vermont to Reopen Most Courthouses, But Masks Still Needed

Visitors and employees will still be required to wear masks, social distance and answer health screening questions when they arrive.

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The state of Vermont is planning to reopen most of the state’s courthouses on Tuesday, but measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 will continue for some time.

Vermont State Court Administrator Patricia Gabel said in a news release that despite the Tuesday reopening, courts will still hold remote hearings, and anyone who has an appointment with the court should check whether it will be in person or remote.

“Not all Vermonters who come to court have a choice about how long they must remain there or with how many people they must be in close proximity,” Gable said in a statement. “To keep everyone safe, we will require people who have business with the Judiciary to wear masks, to social distance, and to answer health screening questions when they enter our courthouses.”

Gabel urged anyone with a vaccination card to bring it with them, although proof of vaccination is completely voluntary.

“If a judge in a particular courtroom determines that all parties in a hearing or other proceeding are vaccinated, that judge has discretion to allow people to unmask during that proceeding while in that room,” she said. “We ask that those people re-don masks before leaving that area.”

Judges also have discretion to modify the default rule regarding social distancing within their individual courtrooms. The general rule is that people will wear masks in the courtroom and socially distance unless a judge permits them otherwise.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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