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Massachusetts Courts Plan Limited Opening In July

Massachusetts courthouses will start to reopen for some business in less than three weeks.

The state Supreme Judicial Court issued a new order Wednesday on the reopening, after almost three months of being closed for most operations because of the pandemic.

Starting July 13, clerks, registers and recorders' offices will be conducting in-person business. People will also be allowed in courthouses to meet with probation officers.

The SJC says anyone entering a courthouse will be screened for COVID-19 and many court proceedings will still be done virtually. Cell phones will be allowed in all courthouses. Judges can start to schedule trials for September.

On Aug. 10, a second reopening phase begins, during which in-person proceedings will be expanded. Specifics will be outlined later on the court system's COVID-19 web page. Criminal and civil jury trials are postponed until Sept. 8 at the earliest.

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Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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