Jul 05, 2020 10:00 AM

Kan. Supreme Court: No opting out of face coverings in district, appellate court proceedings

Posted Jul 05, 2020 10:00 AM

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court issued an administrative order Thursday requiring district and appellate courts to comply with the governor's order requiring people to wear face coverings in public areas to help stop the spread of COVID-19, according to a media release from the Office of Judicial Administration.

Administrative Order 2020-PR-090, effective July 3, requires district and appellate courts to comply with Gov. Laura Kelly's Executive Order No. 20-52 requiring the use of face coverings in public, even though the governor's order exempts court proceedings.

Courts are required to comply even if local county commissions opt out of the governor's executive order.

The Supreme Court order requires all court employees, judicial officers, and members of the public to wear a face covering in any courtroom, court office, or other facility used for a court proceeding. Face coverings must also be worn in any nonpublic court office unless physical shields are in place.

"We must protect the health and safety of court users, staff, and judicial officers during this pandemic," Chief Justice Marla Luckert said. "The use of face coverings, hygiene practices, protective shielding, and social distancing will allow us to do that as we conduct court proceedings across the state."

The Supreme Court order allows a judge to waive the face covering requirement under certain circumstances set out in the order.