HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Courthouses around the region are slowly opening back up, and there are different restrictions in different cities.
Leaders with the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office said they are opening on Monday, May 18 with no restrictions.
They said visitors entering the Portsmouth Courthouse will be required to wear a face covering in the building, will also have their temperatures checked and said social distancing guidelines will be in practice.
There are also signs stating that only two people are allowed in the elevator at a time.
Leaders at the Newport News Courthouse said they continue safety protocols that have been in place since the courts scaled back services. They said they give masks to people who arrive without one, take the temperature of each person coming in and ask questions about their health.
State Sen. Tommy Norment was in the Portsmouth Courthouse for a separate issue and said he supports the new procedures.
“Wearing a mask is certainly a courtesy to other individuals. Taking your temperature, I have no problem with that,” Norment said.
Officials said most courthouses have been open during the coronavirus pandemic, but many cases have been delayed.
There have been bond hearings and court procedures throughout the pandemic.
The judges take the guidance from the State Supreme Court and made decisions for their individual courthouses.
Many of the courts are operating on a limited or modified schedule.
Sheriff E.C. Harris in Suffolk said Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is open and General District court is taking DUI and felony cases, but you need to call Circuit Court to make an appointment if you need their services.
“It’s been difficult because there’s no game plan; there’s no guidebook. There’s no answer to every question because it can be handled so many different ways. This is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” said Sheriff Harris.
He said come early if you need to go to court and be patient. He said don’t bring extra people with you. He said they are practicing social distancing inside.
You can find more information on each city's policies and procedures amid the pandemic below: