The Latest COVID-19 Court Closures and Restrictions

Molly Stubbs

Written by
— Updated on September 9, 2021

The Latest COVID-19 Court Closures and Restrictions

Updated on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly impacted how business is now functioning. As offices close their doors and employees turn to remote work, the legal system has also been forced to make alternate arrangements. To remain abreast of how the courts are handling COVID-19, we’ve compiled a list of all court closures and related restrictions announced for federal and state courts across the country.

We’ll continue to update this list as additional news is announced.

Federal Appeals Courts

U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the country, postponed all March and April oral arguments. The court justices will, however, still hold their scheduled conference on Friday, March 20, with some justices joining remotely. The court will still publish its Order List on Monday, March 23 at 9:30 a.m.

The court is still open for other official business and has not extended filing deadlines under Rule 30.1. The court building is closed to the public until further notice. The court has extended the filing deadline for any writ of certiorari due March 19 or later for 150 days.

The court announced on Monday, April 13, 2020 that it will hear May oral arguments via teleconference. The press will have access to live audio of the arguments.

Update: On January 22, 2021, the United States Supreme Court announced it will continue to hear oral arguments by telephone conference, following the previous format used. The Justices and counsel will all participate remotely. The court will provide a live audio feed of the oral arguments and transcripts of the argument will be available the following day.

U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has moved all scheduled hearings for April to remote arrangements. No in-person hearings will be held until further notice. The court will release audio of daily hearings to their website. Public access to the court buildings is suspended, effective March 16, 2020, noon EST. Requirements for paper documents alongside electronic filings are suspended until further notice. Pro se parties may submit case-initiating documents via email or fax.

On August 13, 2020, the court extended its access restrictions to the National Courts Building complex. Access is restricted to court personnel; others who wish to gain access must submit a request in writing at least 24 hours in advance. The extension is scheduled to remain in effect until September 14, 2020.

Update: On January 15, 2021, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Federal Claims issued a joint order extending its building access restrictions through February 28, 2021. Requests for access will still be accepted by submitting the request in writing at least 24 hours in advance.

District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals

The D.C. Circuit serving Washington, D.C. has moved all scheduled oral arguments to remote arrangements until further notice. Access to the court building is restricted to official court staff or related visitors. Visitors are required to submit to a temperature check before they will be allowed entry. Anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus, had contact with an exposed party, or is experiencing symptoms is barred from entering the courthouse. Pro se parties may email filing documents to [email protected]

Update: As of September 4, 2020, in-person onsite oral arguments remain suspended and will proceed via audio or video conferencing, which will be available to the public through the court’s YouTube channel.

First Circuit Court of Appeals

The First Circuit serving Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico has cancelled all arguments scheduled for April 6 through April 9, 2020. The Clerk’s Office is also not accepting in-person filings at the intake window until further notice. Filing deadlines falling between March 26 – April 24, 2020 were extended 30 days.

The First Circuit will hold oral arguments by teleconference during its September 2020 session. Live streaming audio, as well as recordings, will be available via the court’s YouTube channel or its website. The court has also temporarily suspended the requirement in Local Rule 25.0(b)(1)(c) that appendices to briefs must be filed in paper form. Appendices may instead be filed electronically.

Update: In light of the continued public health concerns and limitations on public access to the courthouse, the First Circuit will hold all oral arguments for the court’s March 2021 session by video conference. The public will have access to live audio via the court’s YouTube channel.

Second Circuit Court of Appeals

The Second Circuit serving Vermont, Connecticut, and New York will continue to hear in person arguments as scheduled. The court has also established a teleconference option for parties who wish to not appear in-person. The courthouse remains open for official business only—any public visitors will not be admitted. Filing deadlines through May 17, 2020 have been extended by 21 days to minimize court disruption.

Electronic filing options have also been expanded for petitions for review from the Board of Immigration Appeals. The requirement to file paper copies in other matters, however, resumed July 1, 2020.

Third Circuit Court of Appeals

The Third Circuit serving New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the Virgin Islands will continue to hear all scheduled arguments. Parties may file a motion to request a remote appearance option. Filling paper briefs and appendices is suspended until further notice.

The Third Circuit Judicial Conference scheduled for May 13-15, 2020 in Philadelphia was cancelled.

Update: The Third Circuit remained open and operational during the pandemic. A September 25, 2020 announcement provided that the court is holding hearings in-person as well as via audioconferencing and Zoom. Parties may file a motion to appear remotely if they so choose.

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Fourth Circuit serving Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina postponed arguments scheduled for March 17-20, 2020 and for April 7, 2020. Those scheduled arguments will be rerouted via video-conference. The courthouse is closed to the public and all documents should be filed electronically.

In-person oral arguments have been suspended for September 9-11, 2020. The session will be scheduled for video or teleconference. The Court will provide a live audio stream of the arguments in each case.

Update: As stated in a January 22, 2021 announcement, in-person arguments will continue to be suspended through the Court’s March 8-12, 2021 argument session. The panel assigned to the case will make a determination as to how the arguments will be heard, with live audio streams available to the public.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Fifth Circuit serving Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas postponed all oral arguments until its April 27-30, 2020 session. The court has also suspended the requirement to file paper documents and will accept electronic versions. The courthouse is closed to the public until further notice. Deadlines for pro se parties to file are extended 30 days from their original due dates.

The Court cancelled its in-person hearings for the September session, scheduled for August 31-September 3, 2020. Hearings will be held by video or teleconference, and the Court will provide a live audio feed.

Update: On January 22, 2021, the Fifth Circuit issued an order which rescinded a previous order that granted incarcerated pro se filers deadline extensions. The clerk is directed to establish future deadlines in accordance with the court’s Local Rules, finding that blanket extensions for incarcerated individuals are no longer warranted.

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Sixth Circuit serving Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee postponed any oral arguments scheduled between March 17-20. Clerk’s Office staff is working remotely and the rule stipulating that non-prisoner pro se litigants must file only in a paper format is suspended through July 31, 2020. Non-prisoner pro se litigants may email documents as a PDF.

Update: Per a January 21, 2021 order, the Sixth Circuit will not hold any in-person oral arguments in Cincinnati during the month of March 2021. Oral arguments will be held either by video or telephone.

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

The Seventh Circuit serving Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin will hear all oral arguments scheduled for March 30 through the end of April 2020 remotely. Hearings and arguments will be recorded and available via the court website. The courthouse is closed to the public and any staff deemed unable to work remotely have been put on administrative leave indefinitely.

Cases scheduled for oral argument through December 31, 2020 will be heard remotely. The court will provide a live audio feed of hearings as well as recordings posted to the court’s web page.

Update: As of November 10, 2020, the Seventh Circuit has ordered that it will continue to operate under the plan activated in March 2020, and that all oral arguments through April 30, 2021 will be held via telephone or video, with audio live-streamed to YouTube.

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Eighth Circuit serving Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota remains open. Access to the courthouse is restricted for the public and for anyone displaying symptoms of coronavirus or who has been in contact with an infected person.

Oral arguments scheduled for September 21-25 and October 19-23, 2020 will be conducted remotely. The court has not yet decided whether to cancel in-person oral arguments for the remainder of 2020.

Update: Oral arguments scheduled for February 15-19, 2021 and March 15-19, 2021 will be conducted via videoconference using the Microsoft Teams application. No decision has yet been made as to the arguments scheduled for April through June.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Ninth Circuit serving California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands is evaluating all hearings scheduled for April and May. The court plans to continue fully remote hearings “at least through August 2020.” Access to the courthouse is restricted for the public.

Update: On October 5, 2020, the Ninth Circuit held its first virtual en banc sessionwith 11 judgesvia videoconference, which is available on the court’s YouTube channel.

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Tenth Circuit, serving Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas was only open to official court personnel and to members of the public who have pending business with the court until July 1, 2020. The requirement for paper filing was reinstated on July 1, 2020.

Update: On October 26, 2020, the Tenth Circuit released its Reopening Protocol, which was developed to comply with all federal, state, and local orders. Staff will be limited to no more than 50% capacity, with employees directed to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, practice social distancing, and wear face coverings.

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

The Eleventh Circuit, serving Georgia, Florida, and Alabama is open to only official court personnel. Court documents should be filed electronically or left in the dropbox outside the court building until further notice. Any individual with coronavirus symptoms or who has been exposed to an infected person is barred from entering the courthouse.

Chief Judge Ed Carnes cancelled the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference scheduled for May 2020 in Atlanta.

Federal District Courts and State Courts

Alabama

Northern District of Alabama: The court is restricting entrance to the court by any person who has recently travelled to China, Italy, Japan, Iran or South Korea or anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Jury trials are suspended until further notice. All unexpired discovery deadlines and depositions are extended by 14 days. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: The court is following guidelines issued by the CDC, such as updating its HVAC systems, installing hand sanitizer stations and social distancing markers, and requiring face coverings to be worn.

Middle District of Alabama: The court suspended jury summons for 30 days beginning on March 17, 2020. The court will conduct initial appearances, arraignments and detention hearings remotely. The court also restricts entry to the courthouse for anyone exposed to coronavirus.

Update: On September 18, 2020, the court extended its previous order permitting certain criminal proceedings to take place via video or audio conference. The Order was extended an additional 90 days.

Southern District of Alabama: The court restricts entry to the courthouse for anyone exposed to coronavirus or anyone who has recently visited Europe, China, Italy, Iran, or South Korea. The court will consider remote hearings with the approval of the presiding judge.

Alaska

District of Alaska: The court has postponed civil and criminal jury trials until after October 5, 2020. Civil hearings have also been postponed until after October 5, 2020. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: Civil hearings and all jury trials are postponed until after April 5, 2021.

State Courts: The court is open only for official court personnel and urges anyone feeling ill to conduct their business by phone rather than come to court.

Update: Per a February 8, 2021 order, a presiding judge may permit in-person criminal trials to proceed beginning March 15, 2021.

Arizona

District of Arizona: The court has suspended civil and criminal jury trials scheduled on or before May 4, 2020 pending further order of the court.  Any trial-specific deadlines scheduled to begin before May 4, 2020 still stand. Judges may choose to hold hearings via phone or video conference as they see fit.

Cases are postponed in the Tucson division through March 29 and are subject to further delay. Court proceedings in Yuma involving few than 10 people (including court personnel) may carry on.

Update: All criminal and civil jury trials scheduled for January and February shall be postponed until further notice, per a January 11, 2021 order, and may be further postponed depending upon the public health situation.

Arkansas

Eastern District of Arkansas: The court cancelled civil jury trials scheduled between March 18 and April 30, 2020. Criminal jury trials are postponed until September 25, 2020. Other court proceedings will continue via phone or video conference where able.

Update: The Eastern District of Arkansas is now open to the public, with protocols in place such as mandatory face coverings. All civil and criminal trials scheduled from now to March 23, 2021 will be postponed.

Western District of Arkansas: The court cancelled all civil and criminal trials through May 1, 2020. Other proceedings such as initial appearances, arraignments, and detention hearings will continue as planned or remotely per the presiding judge’s decision. Access to the courthouse is restricted for anyone who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

California

Central District of California: The court suspended jury summons until April 13, 2020. Access to the courthouse is restricted to anyone who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Civil case hearings are suspended except for in emergency situations.

Update: On February 1, 2021, limited operations resumed, such as grand jury proceedings and criminal matters in which the defendant does not consent to appear remotely. Court hearings may otherwise proceed by audio or video conference.

Eastern District of California: All courthouses in the district are closed to the public until May 1, 2020. Proceedings will be conducted in writing unless the presiding judge deems a hearing necessary, then it will be conducted via phone or video conference. The court has also suspended jury summons until May 1, 2020. Any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person is restricted from entering the courthouse.

Update: On January 4, 2021, the court issued an order continuing video conferencing and restricted access to the courthouse.

Northern District of California: The court suspended all jury trials until after May 1, 2020. Civil proceedings will be handled in writing or, if a hearing is necessary, it will be via phone or video conference.  For criminal proceedings, initial appearances and other proceedings before the magistrate judge will be held only in San Francisco and, when possible, by phone or video conference.  Members of the press and the public may access a conference call line to hear these hearings—dial-in information will be available on each case’s docket on PACER.

Update: Per a September 16, 2020 order, jury trials in criminal and civil cases “may proceed in accordance with the logistical considerations necessitated by the court’s safety protocols.” Other proceedings continue to be held via telephone or videoconference.

Southern District of California: The court postponed all jury trials until after April 16, 2020. A limited quorum of grand jurors may serve in limited periods starting on May 20. Access to the courthouse is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: On February 2, 2021, the court continued its postponement of all criminal and civil jury trials until March 8, 2021. Otherwise, individual judges retain discretion as to whether to schedule in-person proceedings.

Colorado

District of Colorado: The court postponed all jury selection and trials scheduled between March 13 and April 3, 2020. Ongoing hearings will be routed remotely where deemed appropriate by the presiding judge. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: Effective March 1, 2021, all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled are continued subject to further notice, but for certain pilot trials and bench trials.

Connecticut

District of Connecticut: The court postponed all in-person court proceedings and jury trials until May 15, 2020. The court will arrange for the U.S. Marshals Service to screen the health of any detainee who is scheduled to appear in court. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: Per a January 19, 2021 order, the District of Connecticut will postpone all jury trials scheduled to commence prior to May 3, 2021. Judges may schedule jury selections and trials to begin on or after May 3, 2031, if circumstances permit them to proceed safely.

Delaware

District of Delaware: The court has postponed all jury trials scheduled to begin before August 31, 2020. Sitting grand juries are allowed to continue to meet, but no new juries are to be formed. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of February 5, 2021, all jury trials are cancelled until on or after April 5, 2021.

Florida

Middle District: The court has restricted courthouse access for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. The court postponed all jury trials scheduled between March 16 through May 31, 2020. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis. Some criminal proceedings may be conducted by video or teleconference through September 25, 2020.

Update: On January 25-29, 2021, the court held its first virtual jury trial in a civil matter conducted on ZoomGov.com. The trial was conducted without any significant issues.

Northern District: The court has restricted courthouse access for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: The court continues in its day-to-day operations with social distancing and face mask requirements.

Southern District: The court postponed all jury trials scheduled between May 1 and June 30, 2020. The court will be screening those entering the courthouse and denying entry to anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms or who has recently travelled to a high-risk country. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 7, 2020, the Southern District will continue to utilize telephonic and video conferences for criminal matters. All jury trials are continued until April 5, 2021.

Georgia

Middle District of Georgia: The court suspended all trials for 60 days starting March 16, 2020. Access to the courthouse is restricted to only official courthouse personnel and individual judges will continue hearings as they see fit. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: Jury trials continue to be suspended through February 28, 2021, according to a February 10th order, which applies to every criminal case presently pending and those that become pending prior to April 4, 2021.

Northern District of Georgia: The Rome, GA courthouse has reopened. The other courthouses are closed until further notice. Jury trials and summons are also suspended for 30 days. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: On January 27, 2021, the Northern District announced that it would take part in a two-year pilot program to evaluate streaming live audio of certain civil proceedings of public interest. The suspension of jury trials will continue through April 4, 2021, although grand jury proceedings can be held.

Southern District of Georgia: Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country, has been in contact with an infected person, or who does not have official business with the court, except in the case of criminal trials.

Update: Per a February 1, 2021 order, jury trials scheduled between February 1 through March 31, 2021 will be continued, with other proceedings being conducted via video or telephonic conference.

Hawaii

District of Hawaii: The court postponed all trials scheduled between March 17 and May 3, 2020. All other proceedings in that period are cancelled or will be routed remotely. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: Beginning November 16, 2020, the court opened for in-person hearings and trials. Mitigation measures, such as face masks, hand sanitizer stations, and social distancing, were implemented.

Idaho

District of Idaho: The court postponed all jury trials and grand jury proceedings scheduled on or before May 11, 2020. For all civil cases, all motions will be decided in writing unless all parties request a hearing. If granted, the hearing will be via video conference or phone. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: On January 22, 2021, the court ordered all jury trials suspended through February 28, 2021, although a judge may conduct a jury trial earlier if special circumstances are present. Most hearings are conducted virtually, with in-person hearings being limited to 10 or fewer persons in the courtroom.

Illinois

Central District of Illinois: The court postponed all jury trials until May 18, 2020. All civil hearings will be conducted remotely. The court urges anyone over 60 or who has been potentially exposed to coronavirus to contact the Clerk’s Office before coming to court.

Update: On January 11, 2021, the court ordered its continued suspension of jury trials and public gatherings. Trials will be rescheduled to a date after March 23, 2021.

Northern District of Illinois: The court cancelled all hearings and other proceedings scheduled for March 17 through April 3, 2020. All court deadlines have been extended by 49 days from the original date. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: All civil and criminal jury trials are suspended until March 1, 2021. The use of video and teleconferencing for criminal matters will remain in effect until April 5, 2021.

Southern District of Illinois: The court has postponed all civil proceedings until further notice. All criminal proceedings will occur, if necessary, and be held remotely, if possible. All grand jury proceedings will still occur. Attorneys must notify the judge if they intend to bring anyone potentially exposed to coronavirus into court. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: Effective February 16, 2021, the federal courthouses in East St. Louis and Benton will be open to the public, with teleconferencing and video conferencing still utilized. Bench trials will resume immediately. Civil jury trials will resume on March 1, 2021, and criminal jury trials will resume on April 12, 2021.

Indiana

Northern District of Indiana: Visitors to the court must submit to a temperature check. All jury trials are scheduled to begin before July 6, 2020. Judges are authorized to schedule hearings via video or teleconference until at least September 21, 2020.

Update: All jury trials scheduled to begin before March 1, 2021 will be rescheduled unless the presiding judge determines the trial should proceed as scheduled.

Southern District of Indiana: The court has postponed all jury trials through at least September 1, 2020. Unless the presiding judge says otherwise, all other court proceedings will continue as planned. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: On February 12, 2021, it was announced that all jury trials will resume on April 5, 2021 and that the Clerk’s Offices will be reopened to the public on February 16, 2021.

Iowa

Northern District of Iowa: The court postponed all jury trials until April 24, 2020. Non-jury proceedings will continue on a case by case basis, based on the presiding judge’s decision. Other deadlines remain in place.

Southern District of Iowa: All grand jury proceedings for April were cancelled. The court postponed all jury trials until May 4, 2020. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: On September 8, 2020, all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled from then until October 12, 2020 were continued pending a further order.

Kansas

District of Kansas: The court has begun allowing in-person hearings and trials at the judge’s discretion. Judges are “strongly encouraged” to use video and teleconferencing in criminal matters. The court has also restricted courthouse access to any person potentially exposed to coronavirus. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 8, 2020, all in-person civil and criminal jury trials, bench trials, and other hearings scheduled to commence through March 31, 2021 will be continued pending further order from the court. However, certain emergency in-person hearings may be conducted at the discretion of the court.

Kentucky

Eastern District of Kentucky: The court postponed all civil and criminal trials scheduled through May 17, 2020 for at least 30 days. Any ongoing trials are subject to the decision of the presiding judge. Grand jury proceedings will continue.

Update: As of November 17, 2020, the Eastern District remained open for business, however, trials remain continued. Trials currently in progress at the time of the order can be completed at the judge’s discretion.

Western District of Kentucky: The court postponed all civil and criminal trials scheduled through May 1, 2020, for at least 30 days. All in-person appearances for civil and criminal matters are cancelled through at least May 31, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of November 13, 2020, all jury trials are continued and will be rescheduled. Judges retain discretion to conduct in-person or video and telephonic hearings.

Louisiana

Eastern District of Louisiana: The court postponed all civil and criminal jury trials until May 1, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 2, 2020, all civil and criminal jury trials are suspended until March 1, 2021.

Middle District of Louisiana: The court postponed all civil and criminal jury trials until May 1, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Western District of Louisiana: The court postponed all civil and criminal jury trials until May 1, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Maine

District of Maine: The court postponed all jury trials for March, April, and May 2020. The court has also postponed all jury selection until further notice. Any court deadlines between March 28 and May 1, 2020, are extended 30 days. The Clerk’s Office is open by appointment only. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of September 18, 2020, jury empanelment and trials were continued until April 2021, and other in-person hearings through March 31, 2021. Video and phone conferencing will be used through March 14, 2021.

Maryland

District of Maryland: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through April 24, 2020. All other court proceedings scheduled through March 27, 2020 are cancelled and will be rescheduled. As of March 18, 2020, all in-person proceedings in the Southern Division court in Greenbelt are suspended until further notice. All emergency hearings will be routed to the Northern Division court in Baltimore. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of January 4, 2021, limitations on court operations remain in place through February 26, 2021.

Massachusetts

District of Massachusetts: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through May 29, 2020. Certain criminal proceedings are postponed for at least 60 days. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: As of January 11, 2021, the Western Division of the court has cancelled all in-person hearings through March 29, 2021. Virtual proceedings or modified in-court/virtual hybrids can be conducted.

Michigan

Eastern District of Michigan: The court postponed all in-person court appearances until further notice. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: Per a September 18, 2020 order, video and telephonic conferencing was to continue through December 28, 2020.

Western District of Michigan: In-person hearings resumed on May 18, 2020, but the court will continue to entertain remote arrangements on a case by case basis. Persons displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are warned not to enter federal court buildings.

Minnesota

District of Minnesota: The court postponed all jury trials through April 27, 2020. All criminal and grand jury proceedings are postponed through April 16, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of February 12, 2021, all in-person hearings and jury trials continue suspension through March 15, 2021, with the judge’s discretion. All criminal proceedings continue to be conducted via videoconferencing, unless not reasonable. In which case, the proceeding will be continued until May 2, 2021, absent an in-person hearing.

Mississippi

Northern District of Mississippi: The court will move all in-person proceedings to phone or video conference arrangements, where possible. Counsel must notify the court if any party scheduled to appear is potentially infected or exposed to COVID-19.

Update: On December 28, 2020, the previous order was extended.

Southern District of Mississippi: The court postponed any nonessential hearings through March 31, 2020. For more urgest proceedings, counsel must notify the court if any party scheduled to appear is potentially infected or exposed to COVID-19.

Update: As of January 7, 2021, all civil and non-essential criminal jury trials are postponed. Judges have discretion in conducting all other hearings.

Missouri

Eastern District of Missouri: The court postponed all jury trials through May 31, 2020. Other proceedings should be done remotely when possible, or as directed by the presiding judge. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: Per a December 15, 2020 order, all trials are postponed through March 15, 2021. Although the courthouse is open for limited in-person hearings or by specific appointment, most criminal proceedings and all civil proceedings are held via video and telephone.

Western District of Missouri: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through March 29, 2020. Certain criminal proceedings will continue as planned. In-person document filing rules are suspended and electronic filing is encouraged. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of February 1, 2021, the Western District courthouses are open for business, with judges granted discretion in determining whether to hold proceeding in-person, by telephone, or by Zoom. Criminal jury trials are continued to May 3, 2021.

Montana

District of Montana: The court suspended all jury trials set to begin through May 1, 2020. They will be rescheduled for a future date by the presiding judge. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 2, 2020, all jury trials and pretrial conferences were vacated through January 15, 2021, with proceedings held in-person or remotely. Per a January 19, 2021 order, the court has entered Phase 3 in their reopening stage, in light of the reduced rate of COVID-19 infections.

Nebraska

District of Nebraska: The court postponed all in-person court appearances scheduled for March 17, 2020 through May 1, 2020. All jury trials were postponed for the month of March. Video teleconferencing for criminal proceedings will continue through September 24, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: On January 15, 2021, it was ordered that jury trials may commence on February 16, 2021.

Nevada

District of Nevada: The court postponed all trials and related deadlines through April 10, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: On October 20, 2020, a plan for resuming jury trials was released, which includes starting only one trial at a time in each division, to begin on Mondays and aim for deliberation by Fridays. Each “trial stack” will prioritize defendants who have been in custody the longest, while civil cases will be scheduled in open weeks.

New Hampshire

District of New Hampshire: The court suspended all jury trials and grand jury proceedings through June 1, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis. The court will hold in-person proceedings on Tuesdays and Thursdays with no more than 10 people in attendance.

Update: As of November 17, 2020, the court continues to conduct civil and criminal hearings by video and telephone, and still restricts public access to the courtrooms.

New Jersey

District of New Jersey: The court has postponed all jury trials and selections through September 25, 2020. Individual judges may continue to hold individual hearings at their discretion and by remote arrangements where possible. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: As of January 27, 2021, the use of video and telephone conferencing remains in effect until March 17, 2021 for criminal proceedings and jury selections for both civil and criminal trials is continued through March 12, 2021.

New Mexico

District of New Mexico: The court has postponed all jury trials and related deadlines set to begin through May 1, 2020, until further notice. Video and teleconferencing in criminal matters is extended at least through June 26, 2020. Anyone entering the court will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

Update: As of January 29, 2021, all jury trials and grand jury proceedings are suspended through February 28, 2021.

New York

Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued a memorandum on April 7, 2020, announcing the New York Unified Court System would begin hearing pending non-essential cases via Skype beginning Monday, April 13, 2020.

Eastern District of New York:  The court postponed all jury trials and selections through April 27, 2020. The status of related deadlines is at the discretion of the presiding judge. Any detainees scheduled to appear in court will have their temperature taken and will not be admitted with a temperature over 100.4. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: Effective for 90 days starting on December 25, 2020, the Eastern District continues to use video and telephone conferencing for criminal matters, including felony pleas and sentencing.

Northern District of New York: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through April 30, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of October 8, 2020, the Northern District continues to operate with safety precautions implemented. As of February 24, 2021, many criminal proceedings continue to be held remotely via Microsoft Teams.

Southern District of New York: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through April 27, 2020. Although jury trials have since resumed, jurors barred from entry to the courthouse due to displaying COVID-19 symptoms may defer their jury service.

The court has also restricted access to the courthouse only for those with business with the courts, parties required to appear for Bankruptcy Court, and official court personnel. Probation hearing parties will have their temperature taken and will not be admitted with a temperature over 100.4. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 18, 2020, video and teleconferencing continues to be utilized for criminal proceedings, with all in-person proceedings suspended through January 15, 2021.

Western District of New York: The court postponed all civil jury trials and grand jury selections for 60 days starting on March 13, 2020. The court has also suspended criminal jury trials scheduled for March 18 through May 13, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: Effective December 8, 2020 through February 24, 2021, all jury trials are continued as well as other personal appearances unless deemed essential by the presiding judge.

North Carolina

Eastern District of North Carolina: The court has postponed all jury trials scheduled for March 18, 2020 through May 1, 2020. Individual judges may hold in-person hearings but will route them remotely when possible. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: On December 7, 2020, the use of video and teleconferencing is authorized to continue for another 90 days.

Middle District of North Carolina: The court remains open and deadlines have not been extended. The court has postponed any jury trials scheduled through October 5, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 30, 2020, the court remains open to the greatest extent possible, but utilizes video and teleconferencing. Jury trials and certain in-person hearings are continued until April 3, 2021.

Western District of North Carolina: The court postponed all jury trials through June 1, 2020. Judges will stagger their hearings and use the largest courtrooms available. Non-evidentiary hearings will be routed over video conferences.

Courthouses reopened as of May 29, 2020, subject to certain social distancing requirements. Civil hearings and civil and criminal jury trials have resumed subject to the availability of jurors, but judges have discretion to use video or teleconferencing when needed.

North Dakota

District of North Dakota: The court suspended all jury trials scheduled for March 16 through May 1, 2020. Criminal case deadlines are also suspended, but civil deadlines remain in place. Individual judges may route in-person hearings via phone or video conference at their discretion. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: All criminal and civil jury trials are continued, and may be further continued if necessary and appropriate, until March 25, 2021.

Ohio

Northern District of Ohio: The court has postponed all jury trials and court hearings through September 21, 2020. All public gatherings at the court building other than court proceedings are suspended, and the courthouses are closed to the public until further notice. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: All civil and criminal jury trials are continued to April 5, 2021. Limited in-person court proceedings may be conducted if social distancing is adhered to and other precautions are made.

Southern District of Ohio: The court will continue a limited schedule of in-court proceedings. Civil and criminal jury trials are suspended until August 31, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: All civil and criminal jury trials scheduled from November 25, 2020 to December 31, 2020 are continued, except criminal defendants in custody with a jury trial prior to December 31, 2020 may proceed in the interests of justice. Other in-court proceedings scheduled in this timeframe shall occur only in-person upon the determination of the judge, with videoconferencing utilized when possible.

Oklahoma

Eastern District of Oklahoma: The court has resumed jury trials, grand jury proceedings, and naturalization ceremonies as of June 24, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: As of February 9, 2021, all jury trials scheduled to commence through April 5, 2021 are continued pending further order from the court.

Northern District of Oklahoma: The court has suspended all jury trials, grand jury sessions, and related deadlines until further notice. This does not apply to proceedings which do not involve oral arguments.

Update: As of February 24, 2021, civil and criminal hearings and trials scheduled on or before March 31, 2021 are continued pending further order from the court, but for felony sentencing and plea hearings which may be held in-person at the discretion of the judge.

Settlement conferences and grand jury proceedings will proceed as scheduled.

Western District of Oklahoma: The court suspended all jury trials through April 2020. Grand jury sessions for April 7 and 21, 2020 were cancelled. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: On January 5, 2021, all civil and criminal jury trials set on the February 2021 docket were continued, but for civil trial-related deadlines. Trial-related deadlines in criminal cases are continued.

Oregon

District of Oregon:  The court postponed all jury trials and selections through April 26, 2020. Other court proceedings are also postponed through April 26, 2020, unless all parties reach an agreement for a remote arrangement. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 21, 2020, all jury selections, jury trials, and other proceedings may be conducted as long as they are in compliance with health advisories. The parties and judge may agree to proceed via telephone or videoconferencing.

Pennsylvania

Eastern District of Pennsylvania: The court has postponed all Central Violations Bureau proceedings, civil and criminal jury trials, and grand jury selections scheduled through July 31, 2020. This extends to all related deadlines. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: Per a December 21, 2020 Order, the court has resumed holding some essential in-person proceedings, including some felony pleas and sentencings. However, in-person proceedings are discouraged at this time unless absolutely necessary. The court is continuing to use video teleconferencing and telephone conferencing for court proceedings to the greatest extent possible.

Middle District of Pennsylvania: The court has postponed all hearings and proceedings in all civil and criminal matters for 60 days starting on March 13, 2020. Jury trials may resume as of August 17, 2020, with priority given to criminal jury trials. Non-jury proceedings may continue at the discretion of the presiding judge. Until further notice, all Harrisburg Courthouse proceedings will be transferred to either the Williamsport Courthouse or the Scranton Courthouse. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 29, 2020, jury trial suspensions remained in effect through February 1, 2021.

Western District of Pennsylvania: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through April 27, 2020. All related deadlines remain in place unless otherwise notified. Individual judges will continue to hold in-person hearings and will hold them via phone or video conference when possible.

Update: The court’s order regarding videoconferences was renewed and extended on December 14, 2020 for another 90 days.

Rhode Island

District of Rhode Island: The court has closed the court building to the public and restricted access for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. All grand jury and ongoing criminal hearings are postponed until further notice. All in-person civil hearings are cancelled, unless they can be conducted remotely.

Update: As of January 13, 2021, all criminal jury selections and trials are continued to April 2021. Civil trials will be conducted via Zoomgov.com.

South Carolina

District of South Carolina: The court postponed all civil and criminal jury selections, jury trials, and roster materials through May 8, 2020. Any in-person hearings are postponed, unless they can be conducted remotely. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: As of December 21, 2020, certain criminal proceedings utilize video and teleconferencing.

South Dakota

District of South Dakota: The court postponed all jury trials through July 6, 2020. Any non-jury proceedings will proceed at the discretion of the presiding judge. Parties are encouraged to participate remotely if possible. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: On January 22, 2021, all jury trials scheduled prior to March 8, 2021 were continued in the Western Division.

Tennessee

Eastern District of Tennessee: The court suspended all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled for March 16 through April 24, 2020. All grand jury proceedings in Greeneville and Chattanooga courts are suspended through April 24, 2020. All civil trials without a jury are pending decisions of the presiding judges. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 16, 2020, audio and videoconferencing continues to be utilized and courthouse visitors are restricted.

Middle District of Tennessee: The court postponed all jury trials, selections, and grand jury proceedings for March 17 through April 30, 2020 until further notice. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of January 12, 2021, civil jury trials scheduled to begin through February 28, 2021 are continued pending further order from the court.

Western District of Tennessee: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through August 28, 2020, until further notice. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: The court has since adopted a reopening plan, with the public being permitted to attend proceedings if safety protocols, such as masks and social distancing, are followed.

Texas

Eastern District of Texas: The court postponed all jury trials through May 1, 2020. All related deadlines will still remain in place. Individual judges may continue to hold in-person hearings at their discretion. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. The Plano courthouse is closed through April 1, 2020, and any in-court appearances are suspended. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of February 19, 2021, videoconferencing continues to be utilized for criminal proceedings.

Northern District of Texas: The court postponed all jury trials, selections, and grand jury proceedings through May 1, 2020. Individual judges may continue to hold in-person hearings or may conduct hearings remotely, when possible. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Southern District of Texas: The court suspended all jury trials in the Houston and Galveston courts until May 1, 2020. The courts will otherwise remain open, pending presiding judges’ decisions. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: Whether to resume jury trials in each of the seven divisions within the Southern District is in the discretion of the judges. The Houston Division is scheduled to resume jury trials by March 15, 2021 and most other divisions plan for jury trials soon thereafter.

Western District of Texas: The court postponed all jury trials through May 1, 2020. All related deadlines will still remain in place. Parties should contact the Clerk’s Office if they have been possibly exposed to coronavirus prior to coming to the court. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of February 2, 2021, all civil and criminal jury trials scheduled through March 31, 2021 are continued. Bench trials may proceed. Judges in specific divisions may hold jury trials if determined that they can be conducted safely.

Utah

District of Utah: The court has postponed all jury trials through September 1, 2020. Any trials already underway will continue. All grand jury proceedings were also suspended through August 1, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Vermont

District of Vermont: The court has postponed all civil and criminal proceedings until further notice.  All grand jury proceedings were postponed until April 23, 2020. Use of video and teleconferencing in criminal cases is extended at least until September 25, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of January 4, 2021, the authorization to use videoconferencing has been extended.

Virginia

Eastern District of Virginia: The court postponed all civil and criminal proceedings through May 1, 2020. All jury trials, selections, and grand jury proceedings are also postponed through May 1, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: The court continues to use Zoomgov.com for proceedings when consent is provided.

Western District of Virginia: The court postponed all jury trials through April 30, 2020. Judges may continue to conduct certain proceedings remotely, where possible. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently traveled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: As of December 3, 2020, all civil and criminal jury trials are postponed until March 1, 2021. Videoconferencing will be utilized for other hearings, when practicable.

Washington

Eastern District of Washington: The court suspended all jury trials and related deadlines through April 14, 2020. Yakima grand jury sessions and all criminal jury trials through August 31, 2020 are cancelled. The Spokane office is open as of June 1, 2020, but the Yakima and Richland offices, while open, will not admit members of the public until at least August 31, 2020. Naturalization Ceremonies for April 2020 were cancelled.

Update: As of January 14, 2021, some courthouses and courthouse floors remain partially closed, with in-person hearings permitted at the discretion of the judge.

Western District of Washington: The court postponed all civil and criminal hearings and trial dates through June 1, 2020. Individual judges may proceed with remote hearings, where possible.

Update: As of December 30, 2020, all civil and criminal in-person hearings and trials scheduled to occur before March 31, 2021 are continued pending further order.

Washington, D.C.

District of D.C.: The court postponed all jury trials and selections through May 11, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently traveled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: As of December 17, 2020, all jury trials will be continued to at least March 15, 2021.

West Virginia

Northern District of West Virginia: Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: As of December 8, 2020, videoconferencing in certain criminal matters continues to be authorized by the court.

Southern District of West Virginia: The court postponed all jury trials and grand jury proceedings through April 23, 2020. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently traveled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: While jury trials remain continued, jury selection notices have been sent out for prospective jury service for a period beginning April 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021.

Wisconsin

Eastern District of Wisconsin: The court will hear all civil hearings remotely and anyone attempting to access the courthouse will be screened for coronavirus symptoms. All jury trials and selections are postponed until further notice. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: As of December 18, 2020, criminal matters continue to be held via videoconference.

Western District of Wisconsin: The court suspended all civil and criminal jury trials through May 28, 2020. All related deadlines remain in place. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Update: All civil and criminal jury trials through January 31, 2021 have been suspended on December 16, 2020.

Wyoming

District of Wyoming: Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. All civil trials scheduled through June 1, 2020 were postponed. Deadlines unrelated to a trial date remain in place. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Other Territory Courts

Guam

Guam: The court postponed any jury trials or selection scheduled for April 26, 2020 or earlier. Court proceedings will be held remotely where able and courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person.

Update: Although most hearings are conducted virtually, jury pool selection will begin on March 3, 2021.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico: The court has postponed all non jury trials and hearings until further notice. Any ongoing trials and grand jury proceedings will continue.

Update: As of January 5, 2021, the court will continue to use video or teleconferencing for civil and criminal proceedings through March 5, 2021. Certain in-person proceedings and jury trials may be held on a limited basis.

Northern Mariana Islands

Northern Mariana Islands: The court has suspended all jury trials and selections until further notice. Courthouse access is restricted for any person who has recently travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with an infected person. Judges may route hearings remotely on a case by case basis.

Immigration Courts

U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review will only hold hearings for detained parties. All non-detained hearings are postponed. The Seattle, Atlanta-W. Peachtree St., Charlotte, Houston-S. Gessner Road, Memphis, New York City-Broadway, New York City-Federal Plaza, Newark, Los Angeles-Olive Street, and Sacramento immigration courts are closed.

Update: Certain immigration courts have resumed non-detained hearings. Hearings in non-detained cases at courts without an announced date are postponed through, and including, March 19, 2021.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

All USPTO offices have been closed to the public since Monday, March 16, 2020. They will remain closed until further notice. Access to the offices are for official USTPO personnel only. Deadlines are not extended.

International Courts

Court of Justice of the European Union & General Court of the European Union: The courts remain open, but priority is given to especially pressing matters. Hearings scheduled through March 27, 2020 at the Court of Justice and April 3, 2020 at the General Court are postponed until further notice. All prior case deadlines remain in place.

Update: Hearings scheduled before the Court of Justice and General Court may take place, with proper sanitary measures adopted, or by video if a party cannot travel.

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