Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County Courts Reopen With Several Changes

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After being closed for two months, Contra Costa County courts reopened Tuesday with a host of new changes in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Face masks are now required. People with temperatures above 100 degrees will be turned away. Cones and signs are reminding people to stay 6 feet apart.

“I didn’t touch anything,” Wesley Jones of Pleasant Hill said. “There's no pens. There’s no places to sit. They’re keeping it sanitary. Everything seems to be under control.”

Instead of visiting a clerk’s office, people can drop off their paperwork in red drop boxes posted outside court entrances. 

Three jury trials that were interrupted by the stay-at-home order will resume this week, but jurors will have to spread out.

“If you’re a juror, you can only seat yourself in a chair that does not have one of those closed signs,” Contra Costa County Judge Barry Baskin said.

Baskin said instead of allowing 50 people to sit in the gallery, he will have to cap it at 15. 

“That’s very heartbreaking,” he said. “The defendant’s family will have to be restricted as to the number they can bring. Same thing for the victims’ families. They too will be restricted.”

People visiting the courts should expect to face long lines and long wait times.

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