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San Diego County courthouses reopen with many changes in operations

Posted at 12:35 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 15:35:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Courthouses around San Diego reopened Tuesday, and visitors can expect many changes in operations due to coronavirus concerns.

On Tuesday morning, 10News was at the Vista courthouse as a line formed well before the building opened its doors.

Staff members with a mobile workspace checked with each person making sure what they needed to get done required entrance into the courthouse.

Michael Roddy, the Court Executive Officer for the San Diego County Superior Court, said, “We’ve been open for the last 10 weeks of the closure, handling emergency restraining orders, harassment orders, and ex parte requests so those that need a critical urgency and the court will consider those items.”

If you need to drop off paperwork, there are deposit boxes placed in front of the main doors. Markers on the ground make sure people practice social distancing.

For those that have to go inside, temperature checks will be administered before you walk through the metal detectors.

Once in the lobby, you’ll notice kiosks representing different departments. The staff will help people from behind plexiglass dividers.

At this point, court staff members are trying to keep the public only in the lobby, allowing crews to focus on disinfecting the high-touch areas on that floor.

Court officials say they’ve been working on this system for the last 10 weeks, and while they’re keeping an eye out for potential problems, they’re asking everyone to be patient.

Roddy added, “This is brand new to use. We’ve never done this before. It will get better just like all things. The first day is going to be difficult but as we get experience the process will improve.”

Jury duty is still suspended as the courts work out how they will handle jury trials.

Courts are also in the process of sending out rescheduling notices for the cases that have been postponed as many of those will be held by video or telephone.