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Leaders in Law: Mask Up! Facemasks with Valves No Longer Permitted in LA County Courthouses

Non-exempt individuals who refuse

to wear a face mask will be denied

courthouse/courtroom entry under

revised order

Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile last month issued a revised mandatory face mask order that prohibits the use of face masks with valves in all Los Angeles County courthouses. The new Order also requires that face masks be worn beneath face shields except as required by a physician. Children under the age of two are exempt from the Order.

On April 10, 2020, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) issued a Guidance for Face Coverings which it subsequently amended on June 2, 2020, June 19, 2020, June 26, 2020 and July 17, 2020. The Court is aligning its mandatory face mask requirements in all Los Angeles County courthouses with Public Health and California Department of Public Health guidances, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, to prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19.

Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that precludes them from wearing a face mask, are exempt from the Order. Nevertheless, they must take whatever protective measures their condition permits, such as wearing a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge as long as their medical condition allows it. Individuals with disabilities who seek an exemption from this Order as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Rule 1.100 of the California Rules of Court, should contact the ADA liaison at each courthouse. A list of liaisons is available atlacourt.org/ada/adahome.aspx.

To reduce the risk of contagion, the matters of individuals exempted from wearing a face mask may be scheduled when fewer people are present in court.

To prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of court users,

the Court issued the following orders:

• All persons entering any courthouse or courtroom shall wear a face mask over their nose and mouth at all times within public areas of the courthouse or courtroom.

• Non-exempt individuals who decline or refuse to wear a face mask will be denied entry to the courthouse and/or courtroom.

• Individuals who remove their face masks after entering the courthouse or courtroom will be reminded to wear them. If they refuse, they may be denied services, may have their legal matters rescheduled, and/or will be asked to leave the courthouse or courtroom immediately.

• Persons who refuse to leave voluntarily will be escorted out of the courthouse and/or courtroom by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s personnel.

• Individuals are required to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from all persons (except those within their household) at all times. Comply with social distancing signage throughout the courthouse.

• Use hand sanitizer when entering the courthouse, practice good hand-washing hygiene and cover coughs and sneezes,

preferably with a tissue.

The Order replaces Presiding Judge

Brazile’s July 6, 2020 Order.

Judicial officers and court employees also are required to wear face masks in all courthouses, courtrooms and public spaces unless they have a medical exemption. Paper masks will be available for the public at security screening areas at courthouse entrances.

Mandatory use of a face mask is part of the Court’s Here For You | Safe For You plan to provide a safe courthouse environment while offering services that allow court business to be conducted remotely. Whether appearing by phone, from home, the office or coming to the courthouse, the Court provides safe, efficient options to access justice. The Court’s remote technology options promote social distancing by reducing the number of people appearing in person. Pre-scheduled appointments are required for in-person transactions at the courthouse.

Information on Here For You | Safe For You can be found at lacourt.org.

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