SDNY and Second Circuit closed to the public out of Corona virus fears — court now in lock-down



By administrative orders both the U.S. District Court of for the Southern District of New (SDNY) and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have significantly curtailed entrance to the court buildings due to the Corona virus pandemic.

Oral arguments have been suspended and the buildings remained closed to visitors.

2nd Circ., SDNY Limit Public’s Court Access Amid Virus Fears


Law360 (March 16, 2020, 10:53 PM EDT) — The Second Circuit and New York’s Southern District are closing the courthouse doors to most of the public in response to fears about the global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, the two New York-based federal courts announced Monday.

In separate orders, the Manhattan-headquartered Second Circuit and the Southern District, which has branches in Manhattan, White Plains and Poughkeepsie, said public access to the courts will be minimized in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus, which was declared a pandemic on March 11 by the World Health Organization.

The Second Circuit said “individuals who do not have business with the court will not be admitted” until further notice, while the Southern District limited in-person access to those with court-related business, in addition to law enforcement and credentialed members of the media.

The Second Circuit said it would try to work around the new restrictions.

“Arguments will be conducted using technology that enables judges and individuals who argue to appear remotely, if they choose, and livestreams the arguments so that public access to the court’s proceedings is maintained,” the court said.

In the Southern District’s case, the limits on in-person access represent a tightening of restrictions put in place earlier this month, when the court barred those with a fever, cough or shortness of breath. The district also said Monday that its executive office will not be issuing new attorney service passes until further notice.

Both the Southern District as well as New York’s state court system halted jury trials last week in response to the disease. Another federal court, the Western District of Washington, on March 6 mostly shut down in-court proceedings in the Seattle and Tacoma courthouses.




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