York County's COVID-19 judicial emergency extended through March

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

York County's top judge has again extended the county's judicial emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this time until  spring 2021.

President Common Pleas Judge Joseph C. Adams filed his declaration Thursday with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, according to the declaration.

It extends York County's judicial emergency through March 31.

The state Supreme Court has authorized county president common pleas judges to extend their previously ordered judicial emergencies.

Adams' declaration limits in-person proceedings and access "in order to safeguard the health and safety of court personnel, court users, and members of the public."

It also requires people to wear face masks "at all times in all places when in the physical presence of jurors," and notes that county judges presiding over matters may authorize people to temporarily remove the masks when speaking so they can be understood, "so long as a minimum of six feet of separation is maintained between the speaker and all jurors," Adams ordered.

Also, everyone "must wear face masks at all times in all areas of the building directly accessible to members of the public, while elected officials may establish their own protocols regarding the wearing of masks by employees within areas of their respective departments not directly accessible to members of the public," he wrote.

York County President Common Pleas Judge Joseph C. Adams

Finally, the updated declaration suspends statewide rules that restrict the use of advanced communication technologies such as Zoom.

Many York County proceedings have been taking place utilizing two-way video conferencing and Zoom for matters including adoptions, Adams has said.

"It is vital that the courts remain open to serve the public," Adams told The York Dispatch earlier this year. "However, in keeping with the recommendations made by health officials, we will be slowing down our operations."

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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