In a press release and new Administrative Order, Whatcom County Superior Court has officially ended to its face-covering requirement starting March 12, 2022. This comes pursuant to information provided in Governor Jay Inslee’s press conference on February 28, 2022.
According to the press release, face coverings in Superior Court controlled offices and common spaces will be optional. However, everyone who enters the Superior Court is encouraged to wear facial coverings for their own protection and the protection of others. While facial coverings are no longer mandatory in Superior Court, there are the following exceptions:
- Jury trials, during which all participants, including jurors, judicial officers, court staff, parties, witnesses and the public must wear facial coverings at all times;
- Whenever determined to be necessary by a judicial officer.
All participants to court proceedings should bring a facial covering to the courthouse for all
hearings, in case it is determined by a judicial officer that one is necessary. The court will
have limited supplies of masks available for those who need one.
Children under 5 years of age, people with medical or mental health conditions or disabilities that prevent them from wearing a facial covering are not required to wear a facial covering at any time.
FEDERAL COURTS ALSO GO MASKLESS
The news comes as a growing number of courts from coast to coast are going maskless amid a nationwide decline in COVID-19 cases. Since the beginning of March, more than a dozen federal district courts have issued orders relaxing or dropping requirements for people to wear face coverings aimed at reducing COVID-19’s spread.
“The Court sincerely hopes that this downward trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations will continue,” Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez in Seattle wrote in a Thursday order.
The changes came after the CDC on Feb. 25 dramatically eased its COVID-19 guidelines for masks, shifting from a focus on the rate of coronavirus transmission to monitoring local hospitalizations, hospital capacity and infection rates.
My opinion? Excellent. Our local courts were very responsive and responsible in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I speak for us all – judges and attorneys alike – who say, “Let’s get back to work!”
Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.