Under a new order from the Missouri Supreme Court, any local court facility that has an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to revert back to an operating phase with greater restrictions on in-person proceedings.
On July 24, the court issued an order which modified its earlier operational directives to guide courts in establishing precautionary measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 while also remaining open to conduct business. The order is effective Aug. 1.
Under the new order, the high court is requiring that if any court employee, bailiff or any other court personnel working in a court facility tests positive for COVID-19, the local court must move that facility back to Operating Phase Zero or One.
Under Phase Zero, most in-person proceedings are suspended and access to the courthouse is greatly limited, while under Phase One, critical proceedings may resume in-person and courtrooms and public courthouse spaces are limited to no more than 10 people.
The order also requires that all individuals wear face masks or coverings in all public court areas and during court proceedings, unless good cause is shown to limit the requirement in a particular proceeding. Individuals working alone in a private office are an exception to the mask requirement.
The court also set out in the order that local courts may include terms and conditions that are more stringent than provided in the statewide operating directives, but they may not be less stringent than the statewide directives.
Under the modified order, local courts also are required to make efforts to communicate precautions they are taking and other COVID-19 related developments to attorneys through The Missouri Bar.