Florida courts get OK to lift mask, social-distancing rules


Getty Image (Courtesy: BrianAJackson)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The chief justice of Florida’s Supreme Court says the state’s justice system will soon be able to conduct court proceedings without masks and social distancing.

Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an administrative order on Friday lifting the rules put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“At this time, effective vaccines for COVID-19 are adequately available in Florida for persons ages 12 and older; almost half of this state’s population has been partially or fully vaccinated; and government-issued health standards and guidance provide that fully vaccinated persons do not need to wear face masks or physically distance in most indoor and outdoor settings unless required by federal, state, or local laws, rules, or regulations,” the administrative order states.

The order prioritizes jury trials, with criminal trials taking precedence, by directing most other proceedings to be conducted remotely to focus facility and other resources on in-person trials.

Chief judges may drop the mask and distancing requirements in courtrooms as of June 21 and no later than August 2. The order also allows courts to take steps to lift the suspension of speedy-trial requirements.

For more details on the order, visit the Florida Supreme Court’s website.

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