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Dawson, Hall courthouses reopen with safety precautions

The Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which includes Hall and Dawson counties, began reopening its courthouses on June 1 with limited staffing and more health precautions.

Chief Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin’s judicial emergency order expired on Sunday, May 31.

State Court judges have handled jail pleas and other criminal matters considered critical or essential. The Superior Court has taken on bond hearings, probation revocations and some pleas.

According to a news release, in-person proceedings on non-essential matters may resume “so long as they are conducted within written guidelines approved by” Gosselin.

“All courts will continue to make every reasonable effort to conduct proceedings via remote videoconferencing where possible, including livestreaming certain proceedings when appropriate,” according to the news release.

The Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center has been designated as an alternative courthouse space.

The law library will remain closed due to limited space, according to the news release.

Anyone feeling unwell should not come to court. Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test or who has been in contact with someone with a positive test within the past 14 days is also asked to stay home.

Masks will be made available at the courthouse entrances, and people entering are encouraged to bring their own. The masks are required in courtrooms and all other public areas.

The news release calls for social distancing of at least 6 feet in the parking deck, breezeways, entrances, hallways and courtrooms.

Those seeking assistance from indigent defense, the family law information center, treatment services, pretrial services or Hall County probation are asked to make an appointment.

“Help limit the number of people in the building by leaving non-essential visitors home, particularly children,” the news release stated.