As we have since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, MSBA continues to provide information to our members about court closures and modified procedures. We know that these are challenging times filled with uncertainty. We will continue to support you in your practice and your well-being with important updates.
In Extension of Reduced Operations Under Exigent Circumstances Created by COVID-19, Standing Order 20-21, dated November 19, 2020, Chief Judge James K. Bredar extended the period of suspension of all in-court proceedings through January 15, 2021. Standing Order 20-21 was issued in response to the “rapid increase in both (1) the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and (2) the average number of new cases reported each day. State and local leaders have issued new restrictions in response to these rising figures. The Court also notes the upcoming holiday season and recognizes the likelihood of greater community spread and worsening data in the coming weeks.”
The Order effectively extended Court Operations Under Exigent COVID-19 Circumstances: Standing Order 20-20, issued November 11, 2020, which imposed the following restrictions:
- All in-court hearings and proceedings in the District of Maryland are SUSPENDED. Chambers will contact parties and counsel regarding any scheduled in-court proceedings. Some of these proceedings will be transferred to virtual formats and all others will be postponed.
- No members of the public and no counsel, parties, witnesses, or other court users may enter any U.S. Courthouse in the District of Maryland without prior permission from the Chief Judge, the Clerk of the District Court, or the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court.
- No members of the public may enter any U.S. Probation Office in the District of Maryland without prior permission from the Chief U.S. Probation Officer.
- Members of the public will retain access to drop boxes at the entrance of each Courthouse to deposit and date-stamp papers between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Court staff may continue to enter the Courthouses consistent with the instructions of their supervisors; and it is further
- The following persons shall not enter any U.S. Courthouse or U.S. Probation Office in this District without the express permission of the Chief Judge:
- Persons who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or told to presume they have COVID-19 by a health professional within the last 14 days;
- Persons who have had contact in the last 14 days with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or told to presume they have COVID-19 by a health professional, unless the diagnosis was more than 14 days ago and the person diagnosed has been symptom-free for the past 72 hours;
- Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine by any physician, hospital, or health agency;
- Persons who have a temperature of 100.0 degrees or higher, as measured by the touchless thermometers at the entrance to each Courthouse, which all persons are required to use prior to entry;
- Persons who have had fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea within the last 14 days, unless the symptoms are attributable to another known condition;
- Persons who reside with someone who has had fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea within the last 14 days, unless the symptoms are attributable to another known condition;
- Persons who have returned from international travel or a cruise ship voyage within the past 14 days; and
- Persons who have been released from a federal, state or local jail, prison, or other correctional institution within the last 14 days, except those who are reporting to be fit with a location monitoring device or as otherwise ordered by the Court.