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Posted on: May 13, 2020

Sheriff’s Office Implementing Additional Measures at Courthouses as More Cases Added to Docket

Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office 

May 13, 2020

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office is implementing additional measures at the Chesterfield County General District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and Circuit Court to maintain social distancing to protect visitors and staff as the courts prepare to add more cases to its dockets over the coming weeks.

To limit the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, effective 8 a.m. Monday, May 18, all patrons entering the courthouse from the main entrance will be asked a series of COVID-19 screening questions and have their temperature taken. This will happen at all three of Chesterfield County courthouses.

Additionally, sheriff’s deputies will be wearing full personal protective equipment, or PPE, during the screening process.

“The men and women of the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office are committed to providing all visitors to our three court campuses with a safe and secure environment for which to conduct business, appear in court, or work.,” said Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl S. Leonard. “This now includes implementing and adhering to all social distancing standards and practices.”

People who may be diagnosed with, or may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as defined by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), should immediately contact their respective attorneys prior to their court date.

Anyone who does not answer any of the questions affirmatively, or who has a temperature above 100 degrees, will not be allowed entry to the building; and a sheriff’s deputy will take their information and relay it to the presiding judge to determine best course of action.

Only a limited number of individuals will be permitted in the courtrooms and the court hallways at any given time to comply with social distancing requirements.

No friends or family without prior approval by the courts will be allowed inside and are strongly encouraged not to travel to the courthouse to prevent long lines and standing groups.

Once screened and admitted entrance to the courthouse, only 14 people will be permitted inside the courtroom gallery.

To maintain social distancing, seats inside the gallery will be clearly marked with a white sheet of paper taped to the rear of the seat highlighting where patrons can sit.

Once the courtroom reaches capacity, additional individuals will only be allowed in as someone leaves.

Furthermore, limited number of patrons will be staged outside the courtrooms at six feet apart. Sheriff’s deputies will be assigned to ensure social distancing is maintained and the line flows without interruption.

Circuit Court Clerk’s Office payments, curbside drop-off service

Because of the tight quarters inside the Chesterfield County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office payment area, there will be no more than four people in this area at one time to maintain compliance with social distance requirements.

To avoid possible long wait times and lines, residents are encouraged to utilize online options for payment of certain fees and filings.  

Meanwhile, Sheriff’s deputies will continue monitoring drop-off boxes at the front of the courthouse for items that do not need to be given directly to the Clerks’ Office.

Visitors needing to conduct business at the courts and those required to appear for court cases are encouraged to arrive at the courthouse early and be patient as lines will be long.

“As we shift to operating all of our courts under these new procedures, we ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate through this together,” Sheriff Leonard said. “Please be prepared for smaller audiences in the courtrooms, waiting lines, and a slower pace for cases being called. In the end we will get through this together and in a fashion that is safe.”

Click here for more information about the Chesterfield County General District Court, the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and the Chesterfield District Court.  

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