Federal courts begin to consider guidelines for reopening amid pandemic


FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington, at sunset. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments March 2, 2020, to decide whether Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam can be deported without getting to make his asylum case to a federal judge. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Federal courts across the nation are starting to look at guidelines for reopening, contingent on local decisions regarding the coronavirus.

The guidelines came from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. They propose criteria for courts to consider as they go through four phases toward reopening.

Many courts are already in phase one, which includes most employees working remotely amid the postponement of all but necessary proceedings.

Phase two makes room for more court filings and allows non-vulnerable employees to return to the workplace.

Phase three opens courts, jury rooms and cafeterias with six-foot distancing restrictions.

Phase four is a return to normal operations.

Additionally, a group of chief judges and court executives has been formed to come up with protocols for safely restarting proceedings.

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