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Courts ready to reopen with restrictions

Posted at 5:54 PM, May 29, 2020

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky courts will resume civil and criminal cases on a limited basis starting Monday June 1, but jury trials are still on hold. It's the first re-opening of sorts since COVID-19 halted most proceedings.

In Scott County, Chief Circuit Judge Jeremy Mattox, over Bourbon and Woodford Counties as well, explained some of the new restrictions in his courtrooms.

As in Fayette County, those entering the courthouse must wear a mask or some type of facial covering.

"It just has to cover your mouth and nose and you have to wear it at all times," said Mattox.

Before entering the courthouse, everyone must answer screening questions and follow six-foot social distancing rules. In the Scott County circuit courtroom, benches and seating areas are taped off to keep people from sitting close to one another. The courtroom generally holds up to 200 people, but will now be limited to two dozen.

"We've broken the docket up to 30-minute segments, 10 defendants per segment," Mattox noted.

People who have attorneys must wait outside in the parking lot in their vehicles until notified their case is ready. Though courts are back in session, judges are still handling most of their cases, remotely.

Judge Mattox knows the first day back will be challenging, but hopes people will cooperate.

"This is unchartered waters for us all and we're building the boat while we're in it. We're hoping people will be patient, and understanding, " said Mattox.