Face masks will continue to be required in all Iowa court-controlled spaces “regardless of a person’s vaccination status,” under an order the Iowa Supreme Court issued on December 6.
Like the mask mandate the high court announced in August, the requirement to wear face coverings in spaces under the judicial branch’s jurisdiction “applies statewide and does not depend on a particular county’s or area’s positivity rate or transmission status.” It does not apply to areas of county courthouses under the control of county governments. (Some boards of supervisors, including those governing Iowa’s largest counties, have approved mask mandates for county buildings and offices.)
It’s been months since Governor Kim Reynolds encouraged, let alone required, Iowans to wear masks in indoor public spaces. Fortunately, the state’s judicial branch is empowered to set its own COVID-19 mitigation policies, and has generally followed scientific consensus about the value of face coverings to reduce transmission. The Delta variant, which has been the dominant coronavirus strain in Iowa for months, spreads easily in close quarters. Legal proceedings often force attorneys, litigants, court employees, and jurors to be in the same room for hours.
The latest order signed by Chief Justice Susan Christensen establishes several other policies and practices to adapt judicial proceedings to the pandemic, informed by recommendations from a court-appointed task force and public comments.Continue Reading...