In response to the public health crisis created by COVID-19 and the actions taken by federal, state, and local officials, a number of Administrative Orders have been issued setting forth several safety measures in an effort to maintain Court functions while complying with public health orders and guidelines.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, Hamilton County reached a level of “high transmission” during the week of August 2, 2021 to August 8, 2021.
In accordance with the most updated guidance from the CDC and the high transmission rate reached in Hamilton County in August 2021, additional safety measures were implemented pursuant to an Administrative Order filed on August 18, 2021.
This Order, among other things, required facial coverings/masks to be worn in all common areas of the first floor, as well as in any elevators operating in the Taft Law Center. The Order also permitted the leadership of each of the entities occupying individual floors within the Taft Law Center to establish their own standards with regards to facial coverings/masks and social distancing policies.
On February 25, 2022, the CDC updated their guidance limiting its recommendation for masks indoors to areas identified as “High” COVID-19 Community Levels. However, people may choose to wear a mask at any time, and people with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. On March 1, 2022, Hamilton County was identified as “Medium” COVID-19 Community Level. County level for community transmission rates is available on the CDC’s website:
In an effort to further serve our community and in accordance with the most updated guidance from the CDC, the Court amends the prior Administrative Order entered on August 18, 2021 and modifies the order as follows:
- This Administrative Order applies to the William Howard Taft Law Center at 23o E. Ninth Street (“Taft Law Center”).
- Consistent with public health guidelines, the wearing of facial
coverings/masks by employees, attorneys, and members of the public is no longer required in common areas or elevators in the Taft Law Center.
- The leadership of each of the entities occupying individual floors within
the Taft Law Center retains the authority to establish their own standards
within their individual spaces, including capacity, social distancing, and
face covering/mask policies. This includes the following entities: The First District Court of Appeals, Hamilton County Probate Court, Hamilton County Prosecutor, Hamilton County Public Defender, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Veterans’ Service Commission.
- Individuals who wish to wear a face covering/mask for personal health
reasons shall be permitted to do so even where masks are not required in a particular area.
- No person shall enter the Taft Law Center, including all Hamilton County
elected officials, county and court employees, contractors, and anyone seeking to participate in or attend a court proceeding, if the person has COVID-19, suspects they have COVD-19, has a COVID-19 test pending, or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
- Any person who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 at the Taft Law Center
may be asked to leave the building at the discretion of the Court or the
leadership of the relevant entity in which the person is located.
- Any person who has had recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 shall wear a mask.
- The Hamilton County Sheriff and her Deputies and other agents shall not
be liable for anyone admitted or denied access to the Taft Law Center
regardless of such person’s medical health.
- The availability of hand sanitizers and regular cleaning in common areas
shall be maintained.
- This Administrative Order is effective March 2, 2022 and until further
order of the Court. To the extent this Order conflicts with any of the
previous COVID-19 related Administrative Orders, this Administrative Order supersedes.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. Beth A. Myers
Administrative Judge, First District Court of Appeals.