United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, CA (Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM) U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has closed its doors to everyone but judges and court staff.

The decision comes as six California counties have required residents to stay home and Washington state has sought to limit social gatherings.

In an order Tuesday, the court announced that all circuit locations would be closed to the public during non-court weeks and that any hearings would be live-streamed. The order also “strongly encouraged” lawyers to mail in paper copies of briefs instead of hand delivering. 

The court announced that it is evaluating the scheduling of arguments slated from March to May, according to a notice that also landed Tuesday. The notice also granted panel judges the discretion to submit orders without argument, postpone hearings or hold arguments by phone or video.

Lawyers will get some leeway on non-jurisdictional filing dates, according to the notice. Parties can also request a 60-day extension on briefs for coronavirus-related reasons by filing a notice with the court.

On Monday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California placed similar restrictions on courthouse access and postponed civil and criminal trials until May 1.

As the Ninth Circuit continues to respond to the threat of coronavirus, more updates can be found on its website.  

Read more: 

How COVID-19 Is Impacting California Courts: Roundup of Services

Northern District of California Closes Courthouses, Puts Off New Trials Until at Least May