SAN ANTONIO – Under a plan submitted to Bexar County Commissioners by Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel, all county courts will be allowed to conduct in-person hearings beginning on Monday.
“As we ramp up, for me, the idea is at least we’re getting started,” Rangel said Friday.
All in-person proceedings were halted last March as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Court activity was later limited to remote hearings.
The in-person hearings will resume under guidelines drafted by Rangel.
“Each floor is only going to have no more than two courts on the entire floor of the courthouse and justice center to have in-person hearings,” Rangel said.
Under the guidelines, in-person jury trials will resume in six to eight weeks.
“We’re going to begin with one felony jury trial per day only in the central jury room, one civil jury trial per day in the old historic courtroom in the old courthouse,” he said.
Rangel said he’s taking a cautious approach because COVID-19 cases could tick up once again.
“It’s going to be a slow startup, and the purpose of that is because we don’t know exactly what’s around the corner,” Rangel said. “We want to make sure that once we start, that we continue to proceed.”
He said that all COVID-19 safety protocols, such as mask use, social distancing, and disinfectant use, will remain.
Rangel said he would maintain close communication with local health officials throughout the reopening process.
“Public safety, as it has been throughout the pandemic, will remain our top priority,” Rangel said.
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