Due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 among court staff, Seattle Municipal Court will be closed to the public from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, 2020 by General Administrative Order 2020-05.
Leadership at Seattle Municipal Court were informed late on Friday, March 13, that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has not been at the courthouse since Friday, March 6. We are in contact with Public Health – Seattle & King County to provide notice to individuals in direct contact with the employee.
Court closure will allow time for employees who were in close contact with the affected person to self-quarantine for 14 days, as recommended by Public Health. The employee’s work area will be deep cleaned and surfaces throughout the rest of the courthouse will be sanitized.
“Public health and safety are our top priorities during this extraordinary time. We are maintaining close contact with our partners at the City of Seattle and King County to ensure that we are doing everything we can to limit the risk of exposure for our staff, court participants and visitors,” said Acting Presiding Judge Willie Gregory. “We are being proactive in our response and as transparent as possible with our staff, court participants, stakeholders and visitors.”
In-custody defendants booked at King County Jail under Seattle Municipal Court charges will still have the opportunity to be released under personal recognizance, if eligible, during the closure. Court staff are working closely with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and the King County Department of Public Defense to preserve the rights of in-custody defendants.
After this week’s closure, Seattle Municipal Court will resume significantly limited operations starting on Monday, March 23 effective through April 12, as specified in General Administrative Order 2020-04. These limited operations will minimize the number of people who need to come to the courthouse while still meeting the court’s constitutional obligations to preserve individual liberties and resolve alleged violations of the law in a fair, independent and impartial manner.