The COVID – 19 pandemic is creating unprecedented scheduling challenges in the court system. The landscape is changing hour by hour. As of March 18, the Washington State Supreme Court issued an order effectively requiring courts to postpone all non-essential hearings until at least April 24th. It also requires that courts offer telephonic or video appearance if “not impossible”.
Courts are scrambling to manage caseloads while complying with this order, and generally trying to manage safety of all participants at the same time. Each of the six local courts in Kitsap County has issued emergency orders explaining how they are going to operate during this time of crisis, but also acknowledging that circumstances are changing constantly.
In Kitsap, a member of the Superior Court staff has tested positive for the coronavirus disease, so in that building in particular stricter policies are in place to protect the public from unnecessary exposure.
Please call your attorney before showing up for any court date. Some courts are closing to the public totally during certain hours, others are offering telephonic appearances, others are setting cases out for weeks or months without any input from either side. Please stay home and away from the courthouse unless you have spoken to your attorney or to the court staff directly, and been specifically instructed that your appearance is required. Together, we can help slow the spread of this disease.