By Jessica Mathews/

Livingston County Courts are entering a new phase under a plan designed to eventually return to full capacity.

The courts are moving into Phase 2, which means people can come into the building for in-person filings, in-person payments and counter service. In-person court proceedings will be allowed on a limited basis, with as many proceedings as possible to be conducted virtually. The chief judges of the Livingston County Trial Courts consulted with the local health department and determined set criteria contained in an administrative order from the Michigan Supreme Court have been satisfied. That includes no confirmed or suspected COVID cases in the court facility within a 14-day period, there is a 7-day average of 15% or less for positive tests, and the Supreme Court Administrator’s Office has determined that existing orders would not prevent the court from implementing Phase 2.

An order noted that chief judges have consulted with health authorities and obtained data confirming regional health care facilities are able to treat all patients without crisis care and that there is no evidence of COVID rebound within the local community. Various steps are being taken to protect the health and safety of employees, as well as additional measures related to public entry into court facilities. Both groups will be asked to self-screen. The full list of requirements and order is attached.

Officials say local public health conditions related to COVID-19 are being monitored and data will be continuously evaluated to assess readiness to proceed to the next phase of court capacity.