On Tuesday, May 26, courts across Long Island resumed operations for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown. Starting on Wednesday, May 27th, counties like Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, and Westchester enacted a gradual phased-in opening with limited in-person functions. Sullivan and Ulster counties swiftly followed suit Thursday, with Suffolk and Nassau counties opened their doors on Friday.
“Beginning tomorrow, New York State court system judges and chambers staff, along with designated clerks and support staff, in the nine previously named counties will return to their courthouses,” DiFiore declared. “As of Monday, May 25, courts in these counties have been accepting new cases that are filed electronically.”
The first phase of the reopening includes clerk’s office, judges’ chambers, and back offices. Social distancing guidelines must be carried out as well as steps to restrict courthouse traffic. Additional safety precautions include:
- Any person entering the courthouse must wear a mask;
- All staff interacting with courthouse visitors must wear a facemask;
- Non-worker courthouse visitors must undergo COVID-19 screening prior to entering the facilities;
- Court facilities must be regularly sanitized;
- Courtrooms and other areas must be clearly marked to ensure social distancing;
- Hand sanitizer dispensers, acrylic barriers and other safety items must be installed in courthouse areas when needed.
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