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Each Courthouse to Reopen at Least One Public Service Counter No Later Than June 15

Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Each Courthouse to Reopen at Least One Public Service Counter  No Later Than June 15

Following the Judicial Council determination in late May that the Minnesota Judicial Branch is in a new transitional phase, the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea has issued an order regarding additional in-person access to courthouses and resources. The order requires each district court in every county, and the state-level appellate courts, to open at least one public service counter on or no later than June 15, 2020.
 
Courts must comply with the Judicial Council-approved Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Preparedness Plan ahead of their reopening dates. The Preparedness Plan addresses exposure control measures and specific recommendations courts will follow in order to reopen for in-person courthouse activities. 
 
Litigants, attorneys, media, and members of the public who will be visiting courthouses should visit the new reopening webpage before visiting a courthouse. The new webpage lists cleaning, face covering, and social distancing procedures that will be followed by court staff. It also has information for jurors, and details for people who have questions about their local courthouse procedures.
 
Some counties may initially offer scheduling for courthouse access. Counties will detail local conditions and requirements on their local COVID-19 webpages, which can be found by visiting the new reopening webpage. The order also requires courts to provide access to public access terminals (courthouse terminals) on the same schedule. When counters and terminals are reopened, they will maintain the hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
 
This order does not change the continued use of remote hearing technology or the previously announced requirements to implement the Transitional Case Strategies for Civil, Criminal, Juvenile, and Probate case types. Self-Help Center services will continue to be conducted by phone and email only. The Minnesota State Law Library will reopen to the public on June 15, 2020, by appointment only.