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Missouri Courts Issue Reopening Guidelines

The Missouri Supreme Court issued a new order on May 4, 2020 setting guidelines for the Presiding Judges of the individual circuits to implement a gradual reopening of operations.

The guidelines are set up in 3 required phases, each one progressively easing up on restrictions. None of of the phases can be shorter than 2 weeks. Any court can revert back to a former phase if necessary to insure the safety of court personnel and the public. No court can begin reopening until May 16, and each court must notify the public before entering a new phase of the operational guidelines.

The restrictions require the courts to consult with local officials and local judiciary partners before determining when to move into a new phase.

Social distancing, heightened cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and limited in-person hearings will remain in place throughout the phases, with "large venues and common areas such as courtrooms, jury assembly rooms, jury deliberating rooms, break rooms, and other areas in the court" only opening in a limited, social-distancing capacity in the third phase.

Most traffic and DWI type cases will likely continue to be pushed back until courts are at least in the third phase, unless individual courts are able to utilize technology to hold remote hearings.

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