The 20th Circuit, 58th District and Ottawa County Probate courts announced Friday that access to courtrooms and other spaces is now limited to no more than 10 persons, including staff, effective immediately.

The court is closed to the general public except for essential functions involving health, safety and constitutional rights.

To confront this unprecedented public health crisis, the Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2020-2, which highlights in specific detail essential functions. This order supersedes any previously issued local administrative orders regarding the crisis.

“We have immediately implemented the Supreme Court’s latest administrative order for the protection of the public and court and county employees,” said Ottawa County Chief Circuit Judge Jon Van Allsburg. “We will continue to take every possible step to stop the virus while providing essential services. Our team is adjusting as quickly as possible to the crisis. This means we will be putting more court business online, and will be conducting trials and hearings remotely using the court’s Zoom technology.”

Essential functions include arraignments for in-custody defendants, review and determination of requests for search warrants and personal protection orders, certain child protective proceedings, and critical issues regarding child support and child custody, among others specified in the order. The new order also provides courts with additional flexibility to conduct business using technology such as video and telephone conferencing.

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