Miami-Dade Circuit Chief Judge Bertila Soto has moved to close down court facilities from Tuesday until March 27, ordering all staff who are able to work from home to do so during this period.
The closure does not apply to emergency or “mission critical” matters, which include first appearances in criminal cases, Baker Act and substance abuse hearings, juvenile shelter and detention hearings, and emergency petitions for temporary injunctions.
Presiding judges will still have discretion to set emergency hearings, while any trials that started before Friday, when the Florida Supreme Court issued an order suspending jury trials, will continue.
In-custody defendants will not have to appear for arraignment hearings, which will continue unless there is no written plea. Cases will be set for trial if there is a written plea.
All other court proceedings will be rescheduled.
The closure could be extended, depending on advice from health and government bodies.