WEST PALM BEACH, FL – We are all experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and uncertainty as the public health emergency caused by the global spread of COVID-19 continues to impact Palm Beach County in ways that seemed unimaginable a few short weeks ago. It is in times of stress and uncertainty that the rule of law is most called upon. For this reason, the Court has committed itself to doing not only all that it must during this public health emergency, but also all that it can.
The Court is limiting most face-to-face hearings. However, in order to protect the public’s constitutional right to access and to ensure the progress of essential proceedings, the courthouses have remained open. The judges of our Circuit have ensured that the citizens of Palm Beach County can continue to have their essential court matters heard quickly. Some essential matters must be heard face-to-face. Additionally, the judges are handling thousands of cases through electronic means. For cases that must be handled face-to-face, extraordinary measures have been taken to protect the safety and wellbeing of the public, court staff and court partners.
To help ensure that no person infected with COVID-19 enters the courthouses, Sheriff Bradshaw has purchased temperature-scanning devices for installation in our busiest courthouse, the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach. Any person who enters the courthouse will undergo a non-invasive temperature scan. Individuals will simply walk through a defined area and a device will instantly record the temperature of the person. In the remaining courthouses, members of the public and all staff may be subjected to a temperature reading. Any person who refuses to have their temperature taken or has a temperature of 100.4 º F, or higher, will not be permitted to enter the courthouses.
The Circuit is incredibly grateful to Sheriff Bradshaw for providing the necessary equipment and personnel to perform these temperature exams. While it is our sincere hope that no person exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 attempts to enter any of the courthouses, these precautions will give those who are required to enter the courthouses a certain level of assurance that we are focused on mitigating the risk of COVID-19 and that all of us are concerned about the safety of our citizens.