DC Courts Issue Order Requiring Persons Entering to Wear a Face Covering During Pandemic

On June 26, 2020, the DC Courts' Joint Committee on Judicial Administration issued an order requiring those who enter any of the DC Courts buildings to wear a face covering.   

The order reads, in part:  "As the District of Columbia Courts’ buildings slowly reopen to the public, additional precautions are necessary to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of litigants, counsel, court visitors, and court personnel.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons maintain a social distance and wear cloth face coverings when in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.... all persons entering court buildings, except young children, persons who have trouble breathing when wearing a face covering or mask, persons who are unable to remove the face covering without assistance, or persons who require a religious or other accommodation, should wear face coverings or masks to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other persons on the premises."

The order specifies that face covering means a mask (whether homemade or manufactured), scarf, or any other cloth covering that completely covers a person’s nose and mouth. 

The DC Courts have been operating remotely, with few exceptions, since mid-March.  The DC Court of Appeals has been deciding many cases based on the pleadings and has had live-streamed oral arguments (available online through YouTube).  The DC Superior Court has 39 courtrooms operating remotely, and aims to have 57 courtrooms operating remotely by the end of July.  More information on court operations and how to obtain assistance from court staff and/or legal advice from a pro bono attorney is available on www.dccourts.gov/coronavirus.