As Snohomish County continues to open up in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan, courts are also preparing to get back to business as usual — at least as much as possible.
Although courts have not closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, proceedings have slowed and trials have been suspended.
Bruce Weiss, Snohomish County Superior Court presiding judge, said jury trials will resume July 6.
“One of the most important rights under our state and federal constitutions is the right to a jury trial,” Weiss wrote in a statement. “Because of the COVID-19 emergency, we have been unable to have jurors safely come to court.”
The courts have been modifying their operations to help prevent the risk of infection from coronavirus, adopting successful procedures from other courts from around the country that have resumed operations, he said.
Social distancing and masks will be required. Hand sanitizer will be readily available, and gloves available on request. The courtrooms will be cleaned daily using enhanced cleaning methods.
Those who are in the high-risk category for coronavirus or are uncomfortable servicing as a juror when summoned to appear for jury duty can request that their jury service be deferred to a later time, Weiss said.
Skagit County judges announced recently they plan to restart using similar procedures for Superior Court hearings in early- to mid-July.
Island County judges have not announced when they plan to resume regular court proceedings.