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Delaware courts extend Phase 2 to Sept. 5

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WILMINGTON – Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. ordered Aug. 5 that the state courts’ reopening plan remain in Phase 2 until at least Sept. 5.

“Given the concerning national trend of increasing virus spread, new quarantine requirements by other states, and hotspots within our state, the courts will not enter Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan until medical experts believe it is safe to do so and more information becomes available about the trends in COVID-19 infections and its spread in the United States and Delaware,” Seitz wrote in his order. 

The arrival of the COVID-19 virus caused the judiciary of the state’s court system to close courtrooms to lawyers and the public alike on March 23 to try to stem the tide of the virus. For weeks, lawyers were limited to videoconferencing to handle motions and other routine filings.

On June 8, the judiciary began to reopen courts to lawyers in a phased approach with a heightened focus on social distancing. Two weeks later, it entered Phase 2 of its plan, which allowed non-jury trials to begin again.

Seitz announced in early July that Phase 3, which allows jury trials to begin again and would therefore dramatically increase the number of people in courthouses, would be delayed due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

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