As coronavirus cases continue to climb in Texas, courts are adapting to the changing circumstances. The Federal Courthouses for the Southern District of Texas in the Houston and Galveston Divisions had previously re-opened in May. However, due to a rise in cases in Harris County and the surrounding areas, the Courthouses have been re-closed to the public through July 10, subject to further developments and guidance from local health officials.
In addition, the Supreme Court of Texas has recently issued its Eighteenth Emergency Order regarding Covid-19. This revised order extends a ban on all jury proceedings to September 1, 2020. The order also removes a previous requirement that parties consent to online proceedings, and grants all courts the ability to modify or suspend any deadlines through September 30, 2020. This wide discretion will continue to allow courts to operate while delaying large in-person gatherings until it is safe, or sufficient protective measures have been put in place.
Along with the Supreme Court’s revised order, the Governor of Texas issued an order requiring Texans living in counties with more than 20 coronavirus cases to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible.
To read a copy of the Eighteenth Emergency Order Issued by the Supreme Court of Texas click here.
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