Minimum Standard Health Protocols


Recognizing the need to ensure the health and safety of litigants, attorneys, visitors, court staff, judges, and other individuals entering the buildings housing the court, the City of Farmers Branch will implement the following protective measures at the Municipal Court:

General

  1. All judges will use all reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely.
  2. The presiding judge of the municipal court will communicate with the local health authority to adjust this operating plan as necessary with conditions in the city.

Judge and Court Staff Health

  1. Employees are required to notify the court before coming to work if they are ill and shall follow-up with the employees primary care physician or urgent care before returning to work.
  2. Judges or court staff who feel feverish or have measured temperatures equal to or greater than 99.6ºF, or with new or worsening signs or symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, or having known close contact with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter the building and should seek medical advice.
  3. Court staff will be required to wear facial coverings, practice social distancing, and practice appropriate hygiene recommendations at all times by the direction of city policy.
  4. Protective Measures:  No touch soap dispensers installed in all restrooms, routine cleaning performed. 

Face Coverings

  1. Face coverings are optional and to be used at the discretion of each individual in light of their own situation and comfort level.
  2. If you are participating in a jury trial and wish to wear a face covering the court will provide a clear face covering before the proceedings begin.  These must replace any covering that does not allow others in the court room to view your facial expressions.

Technology

The court will utilize a number of tools to allow citizens to handle their citations without a traditional appearance through the use of:

  1. Zoom
  2. Farmers Branch eCourt
  3. Mail
  4. Phone payments
  5. Online Payments
  6. Email

Vulnerable Populations

  1. Individuals who are over age 65 and individuals with serious underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer or other conditions requiring such therapy are considered to be vulnerable populations.
  2. Vulnerable populations who are scheduled for court will be accommodated by:
    • eCourt availability
    • Advanced seating
    • Preferential order to see the judge
    • Utilization of Zoom

Social Distancing

  1. All persons not from the same household who are permitted in the court building will be required to maintain adequate social distancing of at least 6 feet.

Gallery

  1. The maximum number of persons permitted in the gallery of the courtroom has been determined. The maximum capacity of the courtroom will be monitored and enforced by the court bailiff.
  2. The gallery of the courtroom has been marked with yellow tape to identify appropriate social distancing in the seating area. Seating is limited to every other row.

Well

  1. In each courtroom, the counsel tables, witness stand, judge’s bench, clerk, and bailiff seating have been arranged in such a way so that there is social distancing of at least 6 feet between each space.
  2. Partitions have been installed at the Judge’s Bench, Clerk and Bailiff

Hygiene

  1. Tissues have been placed at counsel tables, at the witness stand and on the judges’ bench. At least one (1) trash can at the clerks, two trash cans in the well and one trash can in the lobby.
  2. The Department of State Health Service’s “Stop the Spread of Germs Flyer” has been posted in multiple locations of the court building.

Cleaning

  1. Court building cleaning staff will clean the common areas of the court building so that common spaces are cleaned daily.
  2. Court building cleaning staff have been provided cleaning supplies shown to be effective with the coronavirus.
  3. Court building cleaning staff have been trained on proper cleaning techniques and provided appropriate personal protective equipment.

LAST UPDATED 03/18/2021