Brooklyn Bar Association News

Posted by: Robert Abruzzese on Apr 19, 2021

After abruptly closing the courts for many in-person operations in March 2020, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced on Monday that all judges and court employees will return to their respective buildings by May 24 for in-person operations.

"Effective Monday, May 24th, all judges and court staff will be required to physically return to work in their assigned courthouses," Chief Judge DiFiore said in her weekly address to the legal community. "It is time to return to our normal and full courthouse staffing levels in order to support the fuller resumption of in-person operations, including jury trials and other proceedings in our courts."

Chief Judge DiFiore cited the availability of vaccinations, the easing of indoor public health restrictions, and the decline in COVID positivity rates and hospitalizations for the reason for sending employees back to in-person work.

"Our plan to restore full staffing is in line with the state’s reopening efforts, and with the latest public health guidance," Chief Judge DiFiore said. "The extensive safety measures that we have implemented to protect the health of everyone working in and entering our buildings, including: COVID screening and temperature checks; disciplined use of face masks and PPE; social distancing protocols; installation of acrylic barriers; and strict cleaning and sanitizing, will continue."

When court employees return to their buildings on May 24, operations will not immediately return to normal. Instead, Chief Judge DiFiore explained that they are coming up with a plan to keep courthouses less crowded and they will physically limit the number of people in the buildings. The goal is to do this by continuing the use of remote technology when appropriate.

Click here to read Chief Judge DiFiore's entire message.