Even though the Contra Costa County courts are saying they are “open” in reality, public access is going to be extremely limited. Family law hearings will be held remotely until further notice except for domestic violence restraining order hearings (DVROs).
Most functions of the Contra Costa County Superior Court, including jury service, are set to reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, May 26, court officials said this past week.
Anyone coming to any court facility in Martinez, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg or Richmond will have to wear a mask or other face covering at all times. No one who is sick will be permitted into court; anyone entering any court facility will have their temperature taken; anyone with a reading of 100 degrees Farenheit or more will be denied entry that day.
Visitors are being told to expect long lines and long wait times. With social distancing requirements to be enforced, access to various court buildings will be limited.
All court buildings will operate with a single entry/exit point. To help maintain social distancing, people who are not essential to court matters should stay away, regardless of matter or case type.
Starting May 26, court clerks’ offices will be open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. weekdays, with phone hours from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. until further notice.
The Martinez courts records office will remain closed.
Those summoned for jury service must follow the aforementioned rules for access to the courts, including wearing masks. To obey social distancing requirements, jurors will be called in two-hour blocks; potential jurors should refer to their jury summons for call-in information. No more than 50 jurors will be present in a jury assembly room at any time. Those who are sick, exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or are a high-risk individual (over 60 years of age, immunocompromised, etc.) will be excused from service upon proof.
Drop boxes will still be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Given the expected high demand and significant wait times, the court encourages filing items by using the drop boxes. Items placed in the drop box before 3 p.m. will be file-stamped that day.
Drop box locations are at the Main Street entrance of the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in Martinez (civil, criminal and probate filings); the main entrance of Family Law building in Martinez (family matters); the main entrance of the Walnut Creek courthouse (juvenile matters); and the Pittsburg and Richmond courthouses for the types of filings typically handled at those locations.
This article was first published on Patch.