ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In response to modified COVID-19 protocols from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued five new administrative orders, effective June 1, 2021, clarifying COVID-19 health measures in courthouses and judicial branch facilities. The new orders rescind five previous orders to allow all judicial employees, including judges, and court visitors over the age of two who are fully vaccinated to enter the courthouses and judiciary facilities without face masks, unless the administrative judge or state court administrator determines there are certain settings that may require them.
“Recent changes to the CDC guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 allows the Maryland Judiciary to move forward consistent with these protocols” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “More and more Maryland residents have responded to the call to be vaccinated, and COVID-19 infection rates have dropped steadily throughout Maryland. We will continue to monitor the state and local jurisdictions closely and respond as necessary to protect, as much as possible, the health and safety of all who use the courts and their services, as well as the Judiciary personnel who serve them.”
Under the new orders, in those jurisdictions that may require certain additional health measures, the administrative judges of the circuit court and district court must determine together whether to maintain equivalent restrictions in their respective courthouses.
The administrative orders stipulate that those who have not been vaccinated must continue to wear face masks and maintain social distancing. However, if they are participating as a litigant or witness in a court proceeding, they may be required by the presiding judge to remove their face mask and use a provided face shield. People who are in social “pods” or cohorts may sit/stand next to one another, but if unvaccinated, must continue to maintain social distance from others.
Finally, as before the pandemic, the filing date for any court filing by mail, effective June 1, 2021, is the date the filing was stamped.
New Administrative Orders:
- Second Amended Administrative Order Expanding Statewide Judiciary Operations In Light of the COVID-19 Emergency
This administrative order rescinds the Feb. 16, 2021, Amended Administrative Order Expanding Statewide Judiciary Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency.
- Eighth Administrative Order Clarifying COVID-19 Health Measures in Courthouses and Judicial Branch Facilities
This administrative order rescinds the Feb. 16, 2021, Seventh Amended order on the same subject.
- Third Amended Administrative Order on Lifting the Statewide Suspension of Jury Trials and Maintaining Grand Juries
This administrative order rescinds the Feb. 16, 2021, Seventh Amended Order Clarifying the Statewide Suspension of Jury Trials and Maintaining Grand Juries.
- Ninth Revised Administrative Order on the Emergency Tolling or Suspension of Statutes of Limitations and Statutory and Rules Deadlines Related to the Initiation of Matters and Certain Statutory and Rules Deadlines in Pending Matters
This administrative order rescinds the Feb. 16, 2021, Eighth Revised Administrative order on same subject.
- Ninth Amended Administrative Order on the Suspension During the COVID-19 Emergency of Foreclosures, Evictions, and Other Ejectments Involving Residences
This administrative order rescinds the Feb. 16, 2021, Eighth Amended Administrative order on same subject
The Maryland Judiciary entered Phase V of its five-phased COVID-19 progressive resumption of operations plan on Monday, April 26, 2021. At this time, all courts in Maryland are fully operational with the resumption of jury trials in criminal and civil cases in circuit courts statewide, consistent with the COVID-19 emergency administrative orders.