Courts gradually opening

Sign outside of the court in Chatham, ON. Sept 25, 2017. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

Courts in Chatham and in Windsor will reopen for in-person hearings in two weeks.

They will be among some courtrooms across Ontario to be open for family law matters starting July 6. The Ministry of the Attorney General said it’s Phase 1 of an overall plan to return to full court operations across Ontario by November 1, 2020.

The ministry has been renovating each courthouse and adding health and safety measures to protect the public and staff from COVID-19.

“The ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date,” said the ministry in a statement.

The ministry said site assessments continue to ensure all 93 courts on the list are ready for Phase 1.

The ministry is asking everyone to stay away from the courts unless they have official business there and not to attend court if they’re sick.

“Persons attending court must ensure that they arrive for court early because of the extra screening requirements in order to be in court for their scheduled appearance,” added the ministry. “Because of the restrictions on the number of people who may be in the courthouse, unless essential, family members or supporters should not attend court with people who have scheduled appearances in court.”

Contact the courts if you are unable to attend because you have been told to self-isolate.

Virtual courts will continue by teleconference or videoconference as the system gradually expands to include more proceedings.

Click here for a full list of in-person hearings allowed on July 6.

The ministry said more information will be released soon.