Brooklyn Boro

With Brooklyn courts back in session, buildings are quiet as employees remain at home

June 11, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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The New York City courts officially reopened on Wednesday as part of Phase One of the state’s reopening plan, but while most of the judges were back in their respective buildings, things were not back to normal.

The Brooklyn Eagle was told by various court employees that there wasn’t much action in the court and there were very few people going in or out of the Civil Term building on Wednesday.

There are an estimated 17-20 percent of non-judicial employees in the buildings, as judges conduct virtual hearings from their chambers over Skype for Business with only essential employees available in person for assistance.

The number of employees will slowly begin to increase in the next few weeks, with many more expected to return when New York City enters Phase Two of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan. That is estimated to be two to three weeks away, but will depend on the number of cases of COVID-19.

Once Phase Two finally begins, additional non-judicial staff are expected to return to court on a rotational basis to keep the number of people in the buildings down. It is expected that there will be three phases of reopening.

With the courthouse finally reopened, visitors will be expected to be screened for COVID-19 prior to entry. All visitors, and employees who interact with them, will be required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

“Although the court and its personnel managed as best as they could ever be expected through the crisis, it is great that litigants can finally have all of their issues fully adjudicated,” said Frank Carone, president of the Brooklyn Bar Association.

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