12th Circuit Court asks people to wear masks as COVID cases rise

Clerk of Court's office in Sarasota County
Clerk of Court's office in Sarasota County
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 11:55 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - With a surge in COVID-19 cases along the Suncoast, the 12th Circuit Court, which serves Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties, is encouraging people to wear masks in the courthouse buildings.

“For the past several months, each county within our circuit has experienced COVID-19 positivity rates between 10-20%,” an order signed by Chief Judge Charles Roberts said. The order went into effect Aug. 1.

The order “highly encourages” courthouse visitors to wear face masks upon entering the courthouse or when they are in public areas. Anyone who wishes to wear a face mask but does not have one, will have one provided upon request.

Also highly encouraged -- but not required -- is physical distancing in all courtrooms, hearing rooms, jury assembly and jury deliberation rooms where in-person proceedings occur, the order says.

Anyone with symptoms including a cough, sore throat, congestion, fever, chills or body aches should self-isolate and contact the court about rescheduling. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, is prohibited from entering a court facility.

Litigants, witnesses or jurors who are sick or positive for COVID-19 on a day they are required to be in the courthouse should contact the Court or Clerk’s Office about rescheduling.

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