COVID-19 Blog Updates

What to know before visiting a courthouse in MA

Although courthouses physically reopen on July 13th, all courts will still conduct most business virtually -- by telephone, videoconference and email. If you must go to the courthouse, here is what you should know.

You may go to a courthouse to:

  • attend in-person court proceedings
  • conduct in-person business with a clerk's, register's, or recorder's office
  • meet with a probation officer or probation staff person; or
  • conduct business at other offices that are open to the public and located in a courthouse.

You should self-screen before coming to court

  • If you have a cough or fever, or have been exposed to someone who is COVID-positive or is presumed to be COVID positive, please do not go to the courthouse.
  • You may want to make an appointment to facilitate your visit
  • You may bring your cell phone or electronic device to all courthouses
  • Courts may provide a drop-box in a secure and accessible location at the courthouse entrance to deliver pleadings or documents for filing
  • When you arrive, you will be asked a short series of health screening questions
  • You must wear a mask at all times in the courthouse and observe social distancing; any accommodation requested exception for health reasons related to the wearing of a mask or face covering will be referred to the court’s ADA coordinator. It is suggested that you contact the court in advance to discuss such a request.
  • The number of people in a courthouse, or in a specific area of the courthouse, will be limited to ensure social distancing. You may need to wait in another area, if a clerk’s office has reached capacity.
  • Trial Court cleaning protocols comply with CDC Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities.

If you have any questions, please call or email the court directly. Or call the Trial Court Help Line at 833-91-COURT from 8:30-4:30;  Spanish & Portuguese Interpreters are available

Updated/Posted On:
July 15, 2020

SJC Order Regarding Public Access to Mass. State Courthouses

BOSTON, MA — The Supreme Judicial Court today issued an updated order regarding public access to Massachusetts state courthouses and court facilities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The order will go into effect July 13, 2020.

The SJC outlined that courthouses will physically reopen to the public for limited purposes, including some in-person proceedings, on July 13, 2020, but courts will continue to conduct most business virtually. The number of in-person proceedings will further expand during a second phase beginning on August 10, 2020.

The order issued today applies to (a) litigants, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, law enforcement personnel, contractors, vendors, media, and other members of the public when in or seeking entry to a Massachusetts state courthouse or other state court facility, including a probation office or a building that is temporarily being used for court proceedings (courthouse); and (b) non-court personnel whose place of work is in a courthouse (e.g., employees of a Registry of Deeds or the Social Law Library) whenever they are in the courthouse but outside of their immediate place of work.

When courthouses reopen on July 13, entry will be limited to persons attending in-person proceedings, persons conducting business with a clerk’s, register’s, or recorder’s office, persons meeting with probation, and persons conducting business at other open offices in the courthouses. Persons seeking to enter will be screened to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order outlines a specific screening protocol for those who wish to enter a courthouse.

Those prohibited from going into court facilities will include people who are not wearing face coverings, individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, persons experiencing symptoms related to the virus within the previous three days and people waiting for coronavirus test results after showing symptoms or coming into contact with someone who has the disease.

Temperature checks will be applied to all wishing to enter the court facilities.  If a temperature of 100 degrees or higher is registered, that person will not be allowed to enter.

Updated/Posted On:
July 9, 2020

More Info From Our Lawyers

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