Last week, the Unified Court System issued a memorandum detailing the screening procedures for all visitors to New York State courthouses.  The screening procedures will include temperature checks and questioning upon entry to any Unified Court System facility.

According to the memo, beginning July 6, 2020, all visitors, including "parties, attorneys, witnesses, spectators, law enforcement officers, prisoners, vendors, and all other non-UCS personnel" will be required to submit to infrared temperature screening and questioning upon entry into the courthouse.  

Each visitor will also be asked whether, within the last 14 days the visitor:

  1. Has had fever, cough, shortness of breath or any flu-like symptoms; 
  2. Has tested positive for COVID-19 (or been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19): or 
  3. Has returned from travel abroad or from a state covered by Executive Order 205.1.

If the visitor's temperature is less than 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit and the answer to the above questions is "no" then the visitor will be permitted to enter the courthouse.  If the visitor registers a temperature equal to or greater than 100.0 F or answers "yes" to any of the above questions, the visitor will not be permitted to enter the courthouse and will be asked for the following information:  "(a) [the] visitor's full name; (b) case name, index number, and judge; and (c) reason for court visit (e.g., scheduled hearing, etc.)."  The visitor is not obligated to provide this information.  If the visitor is a represented party, court staff will instruct the visitor to notify his or her attorney.  If the visitor is unrepresented, the visitor will be told to contact the clerk's office for further instructions.  

The memo also instructs court personnel to keep records of any incidents where a visitor answers "yes" to screening questions and/or registers a temperature above the required threshold for entry into the facility.

For more information, and the latest updates, be sure to monitor our COVID-19 Resources Page for New York Lawyers.