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Missouri judiciary launches reopening tool

The Missouri judiciary has launched a redesigned main COVID-19 alerts page to help users quickly determine the phase in which a court is operating under the Supreme Court’s May 4 order and administrative guidelines, which became effective May 16.

Circuit court and appellate court information can be found using drop-down menus or a color-coded interactive map. Users can switch between a circuit court and appellate court map. Clicking on a given county or appellate court takes users to a page with the selected court’s notices and orders.

The page also includes a searchable, sortable table for municipal division information. If there is information for a particular municipal division, it will be included in the table. Otherwise, the municipal division may be covered by a countywide order.

As of press time, 12 circuits remained in Phase Zero, in which most in-person proceedings are suspended and access to courthouses greatly limited.

Only one of the three appellate courts, the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District, has advanced to Phase One, which allows for critical in-person proceedings to presume and limits courtrooms and public spaces to no more than 10 people, if possible.

So far, Jackson County is the largest circuit to move to Phase One, followed by Greene County. Neither St. Louis City nor St. Louis County Circuit Courts have advanced to the first phase of reopening.

In Jackson and Greene Counties, the courts both issued orders resuming critical in-court proceedings and appearances, effective May 16.

Both counties will require those entering courthouses to answer screening questions and have their temperature checked. If a person’s temperature is above 100.4 degrees, that person will not be allowed into the counties’ courthouses.

All persons admitted to judicial buildings in both circuits are required to wear a mask while in common areas of the facilities.

In Jackson County, masks are required while in all public spaces, including courtrooms, hallways, restrooms and in conducting business with court employees.

In Greene County, masks will not be required in courtrooms unless ordered by the individual judge of the division.

Both circuits also require people to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another.

In Jackson County, no one will be allowed to approach the bench or court staff in the courtroom without first gaining permission from the judge.

Coronavirus crisis

This item is part of Missouri Lawyers Media's free coverage of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the legal community.

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