Interior Payson superior court room

COVID-19 shut down jury trials and forced hearings to go remote. Courts will start to open up on June 1 with a new policy that requires every visitor to wear a mask.

If you go to court, be aware the rules have changed.

Starting June 1, anyone entering the courthouse in Globe or Payson will need to wear a mask.

The Arizona Supreme Court issued this newest set of orders recently.

Throughout May, most court business was handled virtually, either through emails or phone calls.

“This helpful compliance with court requirements reduced visits and enhanced safety, mitigating the spread of COVID-19, while still allowing the courts to fulfill their essential function — service to the public,” according to a notice on the Gila County Courts website.

Gila County Presiding Judge Timothy Wright said with the new order requiring masks, they can begin holding in-person hearings again and open the court lobby to the public.

Since the pandemic hit, the court has delayed any hearings requiring 10 or more people. And the courts released some in-custody inmates for health or safety reasons, but only if they agreed to show up for future hearings and their release would not endanger the public, victims and witnesses, said Wright.

Wright hopes to have some operations resume soon.

“I intend to have a new administrative order out late this week addressing the return of jury trials,” he said.

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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