09:20 AM

Supreme Court of Missouri reminds courts to follow CDC masking guidelines

The Supreme Court of Missouri is reminding local courts to implement and enforce the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines recommending individuals wear masks in indoor public areas of court facilities that are within counties designated as having high or substantial COVID-19 transmission rates. 

In an Aug. 2 letter to chief and presiding judges, Chief Justice Paul C. Wilson reiterated the Supreme Court of Missouri’s requirements outlined in its May 28 COVID-19 order. The order states chief and presiding judges should monitor the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines, and local courts should implement any new or amended guidelines that align with the CDC’s recommendations. The letter noted this order’s directive applies to the CDC’s recent masking guidelines. 

Due to the COVID-19 Delta variant’s prevalence in the United States, the CDC recommended in July that individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public if they are in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates. As of Aug. 12, every Missouri county except for one was listed as having a substantial or high community transmission rate. Worth County is the only county in Missouri that has a moderate transmission level, according to the CDC. 

Wilson encouraged court officials to closely monitor transmission levels in their respective counties and implement and enforce the CDC recommended precautionary measures in their courts “so long as the CDC designates transmission levels in your county as high or substantial.” Click here to view the CDC’s COVID-19 county-view transmission map. 

“The court recognizes the substantial impact implementation and enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and procedures has had – and will continue to have – on court staff and proceedings,” Wilson’s letter states. “But, as conditions wax and wane, our response needs to do so as well. The unprecedented public health concerns presented by COVID-19 and, now, by this highly transmittable variant require all of us to remain vigilant and willing to implement, without delay, recommended measures to ensure the safety of those who work and appear in our facilities.” 

The Supreme Court of Missouri will list jurisdictions’ orders, including those regarding masking policies. You can view those court orders here

In accordance with the CDC’s recommendations, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an order on Aug. 2 requiring all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in all public areas of the Court. On May 28, 2021, the Court issued an order allowing courts to no longer conduct court proceedings and courthouse activities pursuant to the previously prescribed operational restrictions. 

Click here to view the Supreme Court of Missouri’s previous notices, as of June 29.