By Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County courts are advancing to the next phase of a plan to eventually return to full capacity and operations.

The chief judges of the Livingston County Trial Courts consulted with the local health department and determined that criteria are satisfied as of May 6th to move into Phase 2 of the Supreme Court Administrator Office’s Return to Full Capacity Guidelines.

The local order states there have been no COVID-19 confirmed or suspected cases in the court facility within a 14-day period and data obtained from consulting with health authorities confirmed that regional health care facilities are able to treat all patients without crisis care. Data was further said to be obtained confirming that there is no evidence of COVID-19 rebound within the local community and no need to implement additional social distancing measures based upon a resurgence of infections in the local area.

As for changes included in the new phase; people will notice an increase of in-person hearings, filings, and payments but virtual hearings will continue as much as possible. In the interest of safety, masks will continue to be required for all court employees and all persons entering court facilities. The order says members of the public or staff who refuse to wear required face coverings or adhere to social distancing requirements may be asked to leave the court facility. The courts will continue to monitor and assess public health conditions to determine when to appropriately proceed to the next phase.

The order and a memorandum from State Court Administrator Tom Boyd are both attached.