Today the SJC issued two orders addressing the coronavirus pandemic. First, effective immediately, all jury trials in both civil and criminal cases scheduled to start in Massachusetts state courts before April 17, 2020 are being continued. At this juncture, those trials that have already commenced will continue to verdict. Second, persons who have been diagnosed with or have symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from entering any Massachusetts state courthouse. And anyone who has traveled to certain countries within the last fourteen days or who have been in contact with such persons are also being denied access to courthouses and other state court facilities in the Commonwealth.
These recent measures taken by the SJC are similar to those that were announced by the District of Massachusetts yesterday. Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants noted: “We are taking these measures to balance the need to protect the health of court personnel, those who visit our courthouses, and the general public, while attempting to continue court operations to the extent practicable.”