California courts have started to hold jury trials and summon residents for jury service after a three-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.
Most counties across the state have either resumed jury trials or plan to start up again in the coming weeks after implementing safety measures that include staggering juror reporting times and adding extra cleaning in court buildings, the Judicial Council of California said.
It said Merced, Placer, and Tulare superior courts are asking prospective jurors to report to local gymnasiums, auditoriums, or other outdoor large spaces to ensure prospective jurors keep social distance during the selection process.
The council allotted $5 million to reimburse courts for installing temporary safe distancing measures, which include signage and physical barriers to separate people inside courtrooms.
Courts are also instructing those who feel ill or who are in a high-risk group due to age or pre-existing health condition to ask for a postponement of their summons.
About 9 million Californians are summoned to jury service each year, the council said.