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Even as courts reopen, hearings will continue being done remotely for a while

Jefferson County will start a gradual expansion of onsite operations, but no trials for the time being and forget about getting married at the courthouse.

COLORADO, USA — As businesses and services are figuring out how to reopen safely, so are courthouses. For the foreseeable future, the justice system won't look quite the same as it did before.

Under the statewide stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic, Colorado's court system suspended most hearings and trials, and its limited other operations, except for those that were deemed essential.

>> The video above is about some specific cases that have been delayed due to COVID-19.

As District Courts resume operations, most hearings are being done remotely and will continue that way in the judicial districts that include Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

The Jefferson County courthouse in Golden began an incremental expansion of on-site operations Monday, according to an order from the 1st Judicial District chief judge.

Virtual hearings will be the norm, with defendants and attorneys appearing remotely. But starting Monday, some District Court divisions can hold hearings for defendants who can't appear remotely, with no more than 10 people in a courtroom at a time, including court staff.

Jury trials are on hold through July 5. Arraignments for misdemeanors and traffic violations are also on hold. A gradual expansion of in-person appearances could continue over the coming weeks and months.

Court staff can deny entry to the courthouse to anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms. The public must wear masks and social distance at least 6 feet.

Anyone hoping to get married at the courthouse will have to wait, as no weddings will be performed.

Other judicial districts in the Denver metro area haven't offered up plans as detailed as Jefferson County's for the gradual resumption of in-person operations publically.

Denver District Court is only doing appearances remotely, with no date listed on its website for when that might change.

In the 18th Judicial District, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, no juries will be called until after July 5, and other proceedings will be postponed or conducted remotely, unless the chief judge approves an exception.

The 17th Judicial District, which includes Adams and Broomfield counties, will only do proceedings remotely through June. Courthouses are open but are operating with limited staff and focusing only on matters of immediate concern to public safety.

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