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Posted on: June 21, 2021

COURT DROPS MASK, DISTANCING MANDATES

Portrait of Chief Judge Rondolino, smiling, in robe.

Updated July 14, 2021

Neither masks nor social distancing are required in courtrooms during in-person proceedings in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

That is according to an administrative order signed by Anthony Rondolino, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, June 16. Judge Rondolino’s order came 12 days after Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady instructed all 20 chief judges in the state to lift restrictions as early as June 21 and no later than Aug. 2.

Rondolino's order does not prevent participants and observers from wearing masks; the choice is up to the person in the courtroom. Additionally, presiding judges will consider requests from participants who seek social-distancing.

Additionally, all types of hearings may be conducted in-person. During the pandemic, many types were heard remotely, either through teleconferencing, video-conferencing, or a combination of the two. If a participant has received a notice to the effect his or her case will be heard remotely on or after June 21, that order stands.

Also, judges and quasi-judicial officers may continue to conduct remote hearings if they choose to do so. There are exceptions, however, such as criminal trials with an in-custody defendant.

Read Judge Rondolino’s entire June 16 administrative order.

Read Chief Justice Canady’s entire June 4 administrative order.

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