MONTPELIER – The Vermont Supreme Court has called for further restrictions to access to Vermont courthouses, declaring this week that, save for narrow exceptions, only participants in respective court cases will be allowed into the state’s courthouses.
Ordered Wednesday, the expanded restrictions to Vermont courthouses build on a judicial emergency declared earlier this month by the Vermont Supreme Court in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The order carves out minor exceptions for registered members of the media, and for relief-from-abuse and civil-stalking cases where each party will be allowed either a domestic violence advocate, a family member or a friend to serve as a support person.
According to the Vermont Supreme Court’s order, while registered members of the media will be allowed to observe court proceedings, no new applications for one-time media registrations will be entertained for the duration of the declared judicial emergency.
During the few court proceedings still allowed under the Vermont Supreme Court’s judicial emergency declaration, anyone still allowed into a courthouse is required to observe social distancing mandates to stay six feet away from others “to the extent reasonably possible.”
The Vermont Supreme Court initially declared a judicial emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic on March 16, agreeing to postpone most court proceedings save for a shortlist of trials deemed “urgent” by the Vermont Supreme Court.