TN Supreme Court lifting courtroom capacity limits and mask mandates


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Friday, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an Order that will ease the current restrictions on in-person proceedings.

The order reduces the required space between people in the courtroom from six to three feet; lifts any courtroom capacity limits still in effect; and lifts the facial coverings requirement.

It provides judicial districts and judges discretion to require courtroom capacity limits as health and safety conditions necessitate and still encourages facial coverings in compliance with CDC guidelines and allows any person to wear a facial covering. Finally, the Order encourages courts to continue to use alternative means to in-person hearings, including video and teleconferences.

“Statewide, the courts have done a tremendous job staying open under these trying circumstances for over a year and the Supreme Court commends their innovation, dedication, and perseverance in following our Orders, CDC Guidelines, and state and county health directives,” said Chief Justice Jeff Bivins. “It is time to allow courts more flexibility in managing their caseloads and courtrooms while still being cognizant that the virus is still out there.”

Overall, courts have held more than 18,692 video proceedings on Zoom licenses managed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

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