In October, because of mounting backlogs of cases, Melton allowed for the resumption of jury trials, provided jurisdictions put together plans for how to do so safely. A number of judicial circuits have done so.
But Wednesday’s emergency order signaled a more cautious approach.
“While this order does not impose a blanket shutdown of non-essential in-person proceedings, courts should remain vigilant of changing COVID-19 conditions and be prepared to suspend jury trials as necessary and to reconsider grand jury proceedings as well,” it said.
It also urged courts to conduct court proceedings remotely to the fullest extent possible.
“We recognize there is such a thing as Zoom fatigue,” Melton said. “But we urge people not to get weary just yet. Now is not the time to relax, especially as we anticipate the arrival of vaccinations in the next few months.”