News In Brief

Pressley Tests Positive for COVID-19

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result.

“After experiencing COVID-like symptoms, this morning I received a positive, breakthrough COVID-19 test result. Thankfully, my symptoms are relatively mild, and I am grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted. I am currently isolating and following all health protocols in order to mitigate further spread and keep my loved ones and community safe.

“Vaccines save lives. With this unprecedented pandemic continuing to rage, I am deeply grateful for the scientists, researchers, and frontline healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly to develop vaccines that are safe and effective, and ensure that our communities are protected. I encourage everyone to do their part by getting vaccinated, boosted and masking up. I wish everyone a safe and happy new year and look forward to continuing to fight for the robust relief our communities in the Massachusetts 7th need and deserve.”

Trial Court Announces Changes to Court Operations

 In response to the current situation in the Commonwealth with respect to COVID-19, the Trial Court today issued an order that outlines changes to court operations. Massachusetts trial courts will remain physically open to the public to conduct business and will operate in accordance with protocols that enhance the health and safety of court users and personnel. 

The order and related operational guidance issued to the Trial Court today include the following:

• Remote court operations shall be used wherever possible. Courts may continue to hold in-person proceedings in matters where a virtual proceeding is not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights.

• Trial Court departments shall reduce the number of staff working in person to no more than 50% of the total number of staff at a time and should separate their staff into not less than two teams that will alternate their time working in-person and remotely as deemed necessary by the department head. Security, Facilities and ELMO shall be exempt from the 50% reduction based upon job function.

The Trial Court also issued additional health screening protocols and updated information on masking in courthouses. Beginning on Monday, January 3, 2022, the Trial Court will re-introduce the use of screening questions to determine if anyone entering a courthouse, including court staff and the public, has a temperature, is feeling unwell, or has received a positive COVID-19 test, has been exposed to COVID-19, or has symptoms.

The Trial Court mask requirement will remain in effect. Employees, court users and other individuals who work in or visit a courthouse must wear masks that completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snuggly against the sides of the face with no gaps. The use of gaiters, bandanas, or face shields will not be allowed as a substitution for a mask. Court Officers will enforce the requirement to properly wear a mask for court visitors. The Trial Court will provide a mask to those who do not have an acceptable mask when entering a courthouse once the Trial Court Security Department has a sufficient quantity for distribution.

SJC Pausing All Jury Trials

Supreme Judicial Court issues new order pausing in response to the current situation in the Commonwealth with respect to COVID-19, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued an order pausing all jury trials in Massachusetts state courthouses until January 31, 2022. All courts otherwise will remain open for in-person business, with a continued emphasis on conducting matters remotely whenever possible.

Today’s order partially amends the existing order regarding court operations during the pandemic, which was issued by the SJC on July 1, 2021 and became effective July 12, 2021. 

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