BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After nearly seven months, circuit courts across Maryland are set to resume full operation with a number of changes in place due to the coronavirus.
WJZ got a rare look inside the Baltimore County Courthouse to preview what people can expect when they show up for jury trials or other court proceedings.READ MORE: DC Statehood Approved By House As Senate Fight Looms
The last time a trial happened within the courthouse’s walls was March 17. Starting Monday, that will change.
“It was important that we start that process back up so that there’s not a delay in prosecution of matters,” Judge Kathleen Cox said.
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Cox hopes people aren’t worried about their safety after hearing how much preparation went into the reopening process.
“There’s been a lot of forethought and planning that’s gone into how to do this last hurdle so that the court runs smoothly, but we do it in a way that’s safe for everybody,” she said.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Freeze Warnings, Frost Advisories Issued For Thursday Overnight Into Friday
Before making it inside, everyone — judges, employees and members of the public — will be required to have their temperature taken and will be subject to health screening questions.
“When we rebuild these jury boxes, we will be adding an additional row of chairs, moving the courtroom tables over across and then putting floor-to-ceiling Plexiglass in so that people are protected row to row with less chairs in,” Cox added.
While the courthouse will be ready, other pandemic challenges like underlying health issues and people having to deal with kids learning from home may delay service, Cox said.
“We’ve tried to take just a very practical approach and understand the legitimate concerns and challenges that people have come for service but at the same time encouraging people to do their civic duty because there are trials that need to go forward,” she said.
Seating at courthouses will be limited; for more information, click here.MORE NEWS: One Injured In Essex Shooting Wednesday