Alaska News

Alaska courts again require masks for building entry statewide

Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, Nesbett Courthouse

This article was originally published at KTOO.org and is republished here with permission.

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JUNEAU -- Face coverings are now required for every visitor to a state courthouse, regardless of vaccination status.

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Daniel Winfree issued the latest order, reversing a previous order relaxing the use of masks in state court facilities.

Winfree writes that masks are necessary because of the rise in COVID-19 cases and the prevalence of the more contagious delta variant throughout the state. Also, he refers to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows fully vaccinated people can spread the delta variant just as fast as non-vaccinated people.

Some exceptions to the mask-wearing rule include children under age 2 and someone who has a mental or physical disability that prevents them from wearing a mask.

In addition to masks, courthouses may resume screening visitors for possible infection and may make them sign in.

Winfree’s order is on top of other health precautions ordered by the presiding judge in each region. In Juneau, Superior Court Judge Amy Mead suspended criminal jury trials and grand jury proceedings until at least the end of August in every major courthouse in Southeast Alaska because of the region’s high case counts and elevated risk.

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