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Florida courthouses ease some coronavirus restrictions

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady amended orders on Thursday so that masks, temperature checks and health screenings will no longer be required to enter state court buildings.
Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady amended orders on Thursday so that masks, temperature checks and health screenings will no longer be required to enter state court buildings.
Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady amended orders on Thursday so that masks, temperature checks and health screenings will no longer be required to enter state court buildings. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published May 7
Updated May 7

TALLAHASSEE — Florida courthouses are relaxing some coronavirus restrictions while others remain in place.

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady amended orders on Thursday so that masks, temperature checks and health screenings will no longer be required to enter state court buildings, but masks and social distancing will still be required in the actual courtrooms.

“As you know, for more than a year we have taken steps to safely operate the judicial branch using safeguards dictated by changing health conditions and evolving best practices,” Canady said in a statement. “The changes I make today reflect the current state of the pandemic while maintaining appropriate safeguards as we move toward the time when all Floridians eligible for vaccination will have had the opportunity to become fully vaccinated.”

Many court proceedings moved to online video conferencing last spring when COVID-19 prompted lockdowns around the United State and the rest world. Jury trials were halted completely in Florida but eventually resumed.

The relaxed courthouse rules come just days after Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended local pandemic restrictions imposed by city and county governments. The executive order didn’t apply to school districts and state courts, and private businesses remain free to require masks.

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