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Press Release Trial Court Announces Changes to Court Operations

For immediate release:
12/31/2021
  • Massachusetts Court System
  • Executive Office of the Trial Court

Media Contact for Trial Court Announces Changes to Court Operations

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAIn response to the current situation in the Commonwealth with respect to COVID-19, the Trial Court today issued an order that outlines changes to court operations. Massachusetts trial courts will remain physically open to the public to conduct business and will operate in accordance with protocols that enhance the health and safety of court users and personnel. 

The order and related operational guidance issued to the Trial Court today include the following:

  • Remote court operations shall be used wherever possible. Courts may continue to hold in-person proceedings in matters where a virtual proceeding is not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights.
  • Trial Court departments shall reduce the number of staff working in person to no more than 50% of the total number of staff at a time and should separate their staff into not less than two teams that will alternate their time working in-person and remotely as deemed necessary by the department head. Security, Facilities and ELMO shall be exempt from the 50% reduction based upon job function.

The Trial Court also issued additional health screening protocols and updated information on masking in courthouses. Beginning on Monday, January 3, 2022, the Trial Court will re-introduce the use of screening questions to determine if anyone entering a courthouse, including court staff and the public, has a temperature, is feeling unwell, or has received a positive COVID-19 test, has been exposed to COVID-19, or has symptoms.

The Trial Court mask requirement will remain in effect. Employees, court users and other individuals who work in or visit a courthouse must wear masks that completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snuggly against the sides of the face with no gaps. The use of gaiters, bandanas, or face shields will not be allowed as a substitution for a mask. Court Officers will enforce the requirement to properly wear a mask for court visitors. The Trial Court will provide a mask to those who do not have an acceptable mask when entering a courthouse once the Trial Court Security Department has a sufficient quantity for distribution.

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Media Contact for Trial Court Announces Changes to Court Operations

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.

Executive Office of the Trial Court 

The Executive Office of the Trial Court facilitates communication and enables joint leadership of the Trial Court by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court and the Court Administrator.
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