Local court systems have handled emergency matters during the coronavirus lockdown — often via teleconference — but two courts in Virginia’s Loudoun County are getting back to hearing all matters in person, with some restrictions.
Starting Monday, Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, as well as General District Court, will hear new cases coming into the system, and start to thin out the backlog of cases that were postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Both courts are located in the Leesburg courthouse, which also houses Circuit Court, where larger trials will be held. Circuit Court is currently only handing emergency cases.
Before entering the courthouse, all members of the public, as well as employees, will have their temperatures taken, and answer some questions to be assessed for possible COVID-19 risk. A person with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more will not be admitted.
Cloth face coverings will also be required inside the courthouse — visitors can bring their own, or one will be provided.
Physical distancing will be required in courtrooms, hallways, and offices. Court personnel will help ensure people keep their distance.
If a person does not meet the entrance requirements, but has a matter before the court, efforts will be made to coordinate a video appearance, and continuances will be granted for anyone prohibited from entering the courthouse.
D.C. Superior Court is expanding the number of courtrooms that it operates remotely from eight to 19, beginning Monday.
“At this point, we are ready to add additional courtrooms and case types to the list of those that will be heard while the pandemic distancing requirements are still in place.” D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin said.
The court’s remote hearings will address civil, criminal, domestic violence, family court and probate matters.
The court said it expects to add more kinds of cases in June.