In light of rising COVID-19 cases, all members of the public will be required to wear a face covering inside Riverside County courthouses regardless of vaccination status beginning Monday.
The new rule will apply to litigants, attorneys, jurors, vendors and security personnel.
Court employees are currently exempt from the rule because they must instead abide by CAL/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards, said Marita Ford, a spokeswoman for the courts. The latest update to those rules allow employers to let vaccinated employees go without face coverings indoors, but they must document their vaccination status.
Children under the age of two will also be exempt.
Ford said face coverings must have at least two layers of material and must fit snugly over the nose, mouth and chin, hooking around the ears or secured behind the head. Members of the public wearing single-layer neck gaiters, face coverings with an exhalation valve or face shields alone will not be permitted into the courthouse.
Ford said those with a disability may seek an exemption from the court’s face covering order as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She said any non-exempt individuals who remove their face covering after entering the courthouse or courtroom may be denied services, have their legal matter rescheduled and could be asked to leave the courthouse.
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance recommending that fully vaccinated persons wear a face covering in public indoor settings. The California Department of Public Health and the Riverside County Public Health Department have both aligned with the CDC’s recommendation.