The Impact COVID-19 Has Had on Florida Court System
COVID-19 has had a lasting and broad impact on virtually every aspect of life in Florida. From daily living, to social outings, business and even court systems.
As of June 4th 2021, Chief Justice Charles Canady issued the AOSC20-17: COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols and Emergency Operational Measures for Florida Appellate and Trial Courts. This statewide emergency order lifted some of the previous mask and distancing requirements set in place for courtroom settings and proceedings.
While some proceedings may continue to be conducted remotely (as appropriate), this move prioritized jury trials to aid in working through the backlog caused by COVID. A list of all Florida emergency orders issued during the pandemic can be found HERE.
In the months that followed, an amended order was issued to all courts requiring them to put in place several health and safety by August 2, 2021.
The amended order allowed for:
- Participants and observers of in-person court proceedings to wear masks if desired;
- Courts to not require distancing or masks unless required to do so by local, state or federal law or unless the court’s chief judge decides local health conditions warrant it;
- Chief judges of individual circuit courts may adopt face mask policies using clear plastic panels
- Participants may request to be physically distanced during court proceedings
*Individual courts or judges may have additional rules and requirements related to practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.