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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Delaware courts likely to stay at Phase 2 of reopening for more than another month

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Chief Justice is extending the judicial emergency for another 30 days — holding the state’s courts at Phase 2 of their reopening plan

The public was allowed back into court facilities June 15. But court operations have not returned to pre-pandemic levels yet— and safety restrictions remain in place. 

The public is currently allowed in for hearings and non-jury trials — with no more than ten visitors to a courtroom. Buildings are capped at half their normal capacity. 

The state Supreme Court is holding in-person arguments. But court employees are still encouraged to work remotely and conduct hearings through audio and video conferencing. 

Officials say the courts are successfully conducting “much” of their usual business in criminal and civil matters — except for jury trials. 

Chief Justice Collin Seitz, Jr. said in a statement Monday that COVID-19 remains a “real threat” to the health and safety of all Delawareans. He cited the virus’ “alarming” spread in other states and the ongoing “uncertainty” about its progress in Delaware. 

The judicial emergency will expire Aug. 6 unless it is extended. Seitz said the courts will “probably” remain at Phase 2 of their reopening plan for more than another month. 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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