State courts plan to resume regular operations by September

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s courts are preparing to resume regular operations this fall.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell issued an executive order Tuesday that would lift most coronavirus restrictions by Sept. 7.

The Boston Globe reports the new order will allow the public to return to all judicial buildings, with some restrictions.

Fully vaccinated people will not be required to wear a mask, unless judges mandate it in their courtrooms.

The public will be able to file court documents in-person by Sept. 7. Coronavirus cleaning protocols and plexiglass safety barriers installed in courtrooms will remain at least until the end of the year.

During the early days of the pandemic, Suttell ordered courts shuttered for all but emergency matters. Like other court systems, most judicial proceedings were held remotely.

The court system has been easing back into in-person operations with grand juries and bench trials resuming last summer. Jury trials resumed late last year as some courtrooms were outfitted with plexiglass.