HM Courts & Tribunals service has adopted a sterner tone in its weekly news update, urging court users to ‘rigorously adhere’ to social distancing and mask wearing. However, it insists that its buildings are ‘Covid-secure environments’ and that the virus ‘will not spread if we avoid close contact with others’.
In this week’s operational summary, the courts service said existing safety measures such as social distancing, hand hygiene, ventilation and mask usage ‘must be rigorously adhered to’ and everyone ‘must unfailingly follow the hands-face-space guidance’.
‘We continue to act on the standards, advice and guidance available for workplaces, as published on gov.uk, and where those change we will update our policies to meet any new guidelines,’ it said.
The wording of the message has been updated since last week, when court users were assured 'arrangements remain sufficient in dealing with the challenges provided by the new mutation of the virus'.
According to HMCTS, Covid risk assessments are reviewed each week and necessary changes are made. Copies can be requested from local courts.
A new Nightingale court opened at Hull University today, providing one extra courtroom. Two additional courtrooms for criminal work are also due to open at the Royal Courts of Justice.
According to a statement published by the South Eastern Circuit’s representative body, King’s Lynn Crown Court is currently closed due to a Covid-19 outbreak and Norwich Crown Court did not sit this morning.