FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS- COVID 19 AND THE COURT
Is the Court open during the coronavirus/Covid 19 pandemic? Yes. The Clermont County Common Pleas Court, General Division, is currently open and operating with normal hours during the pandemic.
Is the Court taking precautions about the coronavirus/Covid 19? Yes, the Court has an extensive set of precautions in place and will modify them as the situation changes.
Can I come to court during the pandemic? In limited circumstances, yes. The only people allowed in the Courthouse are parties to cases, people on jury duty, attorneys with cases before the Court, witnesses, and other people required to be in Court.
Can anyone come and watch cases in court? No, during this pandemic, the general public is not permitted to come into the Courthouse just to observe. Only the people required to be in court for a specific obligation are allowed in.
Do I have to wear a mask? YES. Absolutely everyone who comes to the Courthouse must wear a mask at all times. If you don’t have a mask, you will be refused entry at the door. Please bring your own mask. You must wear a mask to enter the courtrooms. You will see court staff wearing their masks.
Is social distancing in effect? Yes. You will be expecting to maintain social distancing (six feet) in the line to enter the Courthouse, while going through security screening, and at all other times while you are in the Courthouse hallways, waiting areas, courtrooms, and other places. Waiting area and courtroom seating is limited, as it has been reduced to help with social distancing.
Is there screening at the Courthouse door? Yes. Everyone entering the Courthouse will have their temperature taken with a thermal camera, and will be asked questions about their health and recent travel. The Sheriff’s Deputies will refuse entry to anyone who has a temperature or shows signs of illness.
Regular security requirements about weapons and other prohibited items are still in full force and effect.
Is hand sanitizer available? Yes. You will be asked to spray your hands after passing through the security checkpoint. There are other conveniently located places in the Courthouse where hand sanitizer is available.
Is there a way to file papers with the Clerk without physically coming to court? Yes. The Clerk of Court, under Local Rule 17, does accept fax filing of certain documents. Please check the Clerk of Courts page on this website by clicking HERE.
Instead of coming to the courthouse, can I just call the judge or a court employee to get information about my case or explain what is going on with my case? No. The usual ethical rules that prohibit judges, magistrates, and court employees from having one-sided communications with parties remain in effect. You can review the limits on what court employees may discuss by clicking HERE.
Is the Law Library open? Yes. The Law Library is open, but with special precautions about use of the books and other facilities. There are limits on the number of people who can occupy the conference rooms at any one time.
Are there changes to the courtrooms? Yes. There is limited seating in the public areas to create proper social distancing. There are Plexiglas barriers in certain spots in each courtroom to separate individuals. The Judges and their staff will enforce specific requirements for each courtroom, which you must follow.
Are there any modifications to how the Court conducts its operations? Yes. The Court is using technology where possible to hold pre-trial conferences and other proceedings by telephone or video conferencing. Certain criminal proceedings are being held by video conferencing from the Clermont County Jail and state prisons. Nearly all court mediations are being held as Zoom conferences.
If you have a question about how a certain judge is using technology for their cases, please contact that judge’s chambers for guidance.
Within the Courthouse and its various offices, there is frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and countertops. Occupancy of the elevators is limited to two people at a time. The courthouse is sanitized every evening.
Does the pandemic mean I am excused from jury service? No. Anyone summonsed for jury duty must complete and return the questionnaire. Jurors wishing to be pre-excused from jury service must respond as instructed on the questionnaire. Reporting instructions are included on the summons. If you have a particular medical or personal situation, each case will be considered individually. Excuse requests are reviewed weekly by the Jury Commission Board.
As an attorney for a creditor or a mortgage holder, when can collection proceedings or foreclosure cases go forward? The Ohio Supreme Court has issued an order tolling certain deadlines for filing dates and for hearings on various collection related matters. However, Am. Sub. H.B. 197 and the Supreme Court’s order were intended as temporary measures, and both will expire on July 30, 2020. Counsel should consult the Ohio Supreme Court website at www.supremecourt.ohio.gov for any updated information.
Are civil protection order (CPO) hearings still being held? Yes, CPO hearings are going forward as scheduled in person in Courtroom 205 with masks and social distancing.
Where can I get more information on what the Court is doing about Covid 19? Details about the Court’s response to Covid 19 and specific Court orders are on the court’s website www.clemontcommonpleas.com. Information about how the Ohio court system is dealing with the pandemic is on the Ohio Supreme Court’s website at www.supremecourt.ohio.gov.