Washtenaw County courts remain closed amid reopenings

A gavel (WDIV)

ANN ARBOR – Although Monday marks the reopening of several governmental offices -- including operations at Larcom City Hall -- Washtenaw County courts will not be reopening for in-person business for now.

The State Court Administrative Office has asked the courts to reopen in four phases based on data from local hospitals and the health department. The reopening will be incremental, and each phase must be in effect for at least 14 days -- and receive the health department’s stamp of approval -- before moving onto the next phase.

Phases one and two will only allow employees in court buildings, and in-person services are expected to start up again in late June and early July. Until then, all court proceedings, probation interviews and any other public services will be conducted via videoconferencing, phone calls, mail or other means.

Phase three will see more in-person services, but filings will continued to be done via email, mail and MiFile and many hearings will continue to be virtual.

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According to the city of Ann Arbor, once the courthouses do finally reopen, the following safety protocols to protect staff and members of the public from the spread of COVID-19 will include:

  • Encouraging court users to make payments or conduct court business online, through the mail, utilizing the drop boxes at court locations or via other means as much as possible.
  • Face coverings in public areas will be required at all times. If a visitor does not have a face covering, some court locations will be able to provide them at the security screening locations.
  • Visitors will be screened for symptoms and COVID exposure at the security screening locations.
  • Physical distancing of 6 feet or more will be required. Floor markings and stanchions have been installed to direct traffic flow.
  • Sneeze guards have been installed at customer service counters, and signage has been placed throughout the building to note safety protocols that should be followed.
  • Cleaning and sanitization procedures have also been updated to provide more thorough and frequent cleaning of common areas and equipment.

For more information on reopening plans for Michigan courts, click here.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.