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Hall courts reinstating mask mandate amid rising COVID cases
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Attorney Clint Teston attends a Magistrate Court hearing Friday March 12, 2021. - photo by Scott Rogers

Amid rising COVID-19 case counts at Northeast Georgia Health System, the Hall County courthouse is reinstating its mask mandate “for all courtroom proceedings regardless of a person’s vaccination status.”

Chief Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin signed an order Friday, July 30, to make masks mandatory starting Monday, Aug. 2, citing new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Court administrator Jason Stephenson said the judge’s order “continues to recognize the severe threat to public health posed by the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, while allowing the critical work performed by the judicial system to continue uninterrupted.”

NGHS had 91 confirmed COVID-positive patients Friday across all of its facilities with another 25 patients awaiting test results. Additional COVID data is available at gainesvilletimes.com/coronavirus.

There have been 30 jury trials across the Northeastern Judicial Circuit — which includes Hall and Dawson counties — since a ban on proceedings was lifted in March by the Georgia Supreme Court.

Gosselin’s order also instructs people to stay home if sick or exposed to COVID, while encouraging fellow judges to use virtual proceedings when possible and limit proceedings where large numbers of people must attend at the same time.

“In general, no more than 73 persons should be expected to appear at any one time, which is the current maximum capacity of the Hall County jury assembly room, spaced 3 feet apart,” according to Gosselin’s order.

Gosselin’s order will expire at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31.

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