Henrico Courthouse Workers Got Sick With COVID-19. Now Court Cases Will Be Postponed.

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By Arianna Coghill

October 23, 2020

HENRICO- It was only a few months ago that Virginia’s courts reopened their doors. After the pandemic hit in March, most had to close in order to protect the public’s safety. Jury trials, eviction hearings and other cases came to a halt. And now, almost a month after reintroducing juries in the courthouse, the Henrico General District Court will have to postpone trials yet again.

The office confirmed that two employees tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, several more employees are now in quarantine.

“The health of all our employees and the public is of utmost importance,” said Clerk Barbara Shaw in a statement. “We will continue to take steps to comply with all recommendations of the Virginia Department of Health and Henrico County to protect these interests.”

In immediate response to these cases, the Court worked closely with the Department of Health to make sure the virus didn’t spread further. The VDH and Henrico County employees helped disinfect the spaces used by the court workers.

But that creates another problem. The criminal office is now significantly understaffed, meaning they will have to postpone several cases until people get back on their feet.

What happens to the upcoming cases?

Because of the significant lack of staff, the courts postponed upcoming traffic cases. They’ll send out notices of changed court dates in the mail. Or individuals can find out their new court dates on the General Court’s website. Other cases, however, will continue.

“All criminal felonies and criminal misdemeanors, to include driving under the influence, will go forward as scheduled,” an announcement on the court’s website said

In order to protect staff and residents, the courts also put in place COVID-19 rules. Right now, The only people allowed in courtrooms are attorneys, parties, one parent/guardian for a juvenile, necessary witnesses and members of the press. When you arrive at the court, officers will ask you a series of questions about your symptoms.

Also, make sure you bring your own mask. Officers will not let you inside without one.

If you’re having any trouble finding your new court date, check out the court’s website. The courts also recommend calling the General District Court Clerk’s Office at (804) 501-4723.

Arianna Coghill is a content producer for the Dogwood. You can reach her at [email protected].

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