Florida courts resume normal operations, no more masks

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - At the beginning of this month, the Florida Supreme Court issued an administrative order, stating that starting on Monday, June 21, all of the state’s judicial circuits will return to normal operations.

That means masks and social distancing are no longer required.

The Fifth Judicial Circuit is comprised of Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Lake, and Sumter counties.

They immediately made the switch at the Marion County Judicial Center.

“What the Supreme Court did was they set in place a time frame from June 21st, this morning through August 2nd, so they gave time for each circuit to decide when they were ready and prepare to fully reopen,” Marion County Clerk of Court and Comptroller, Greg Harrell said.

But officials said they can make accommodations for those who want to continue using masks.

“If they are uncomfortable with not wearing a mask or not being spaced out, we can make those accommodations. We are here to make everybody feel comfortable and basically help them provide their service to the system by appearing and serving as a juror or a witness,” Harrell said.

And one of the things that they will be keeping from pandemic guidelines, is Zoom calls.

“Through some of the advancements that were made through remote hearings and the use of Zoom sessions that some efficiencies could be realized so those things will not go away completely,” Harrell added.

The order also states that, trials in criminal cases are to be top priority.

Also, the speedy trial rule in criminal court proceedings is still suspended until Oct. 4, for those who were taken into custody before March 14, 2020, and it’s Jan. 3, 2022 for those who were arrested after March 14.

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