Important Information about HoCoSAO due to the COVID-19 Emergency


In response to modified COVID-19 protocols from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued five new administrative orders, effective June 1, 2021, clarifying COVID-19 health measures in courthouses and judicial branch facilities. The new orders rescind five previous orders to allow all judicial employees, including judges, and court visitors over the age of two who are fully vaccinated to enter the courthouses and judiciary facilities without face masks, unless the administrative judge or state court administrator determines there are certain settings that may require them.

“Recent changes to the CDC guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 allows the Maryland Judiciary to move forward consistent with these protocols” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “More and more Maryland residents have responded to the call to be vaccinated, and COVID-19 infection rates have dropped steadily throughout Maryland. We will continue to monitor the state and local jurisdictions closely and respond as necessary to protect, as much as possible, the health and safety of all who use the courts and their services, as well as the Judiciary personnel who serve them.”

Under the new orders, in those jurisdictions that may require certain additional health measures, the administrative judges of the circuit court and district court must determine together whether to maintain equivalent restrictions in their respective courthouses.

The administrative orders stipulate that those who have not been vaccinated must continue to wear face masks and maintain social distancing. However, if they are participating as a litigant or witness in a court proceeding, they may be required by the presiding judge to remove their face mask and use a provided face shield. People who are in social “pods” or cohorts may sit/stand next to one another, but if unvaccinated, must continue to maintain social distance from others.

Finally, as before the pandemic, the filing date for any court filing by mail, effective June 1, 2021, is the date the filing was stamped.

Find more information on COVID-19 and court operations online at https://www.mdcourts.gov/coronavirusinformationforpublic.

Visit the local court page for the latest information on hours of operation BEFORE arriving to court.

Please note: If you have any questions or concerns, please call our main line at 410-313-2108.

For more info, please go to:
https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate

The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office has resumed its normal operating hours and can be contacted during normal business hours during this time:

For Howard County District Court – inquiries regarding serious traffic and criminal cases, bail reviews and current limited court hearings, or to speak to the attorney on duty:

Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(410) 480-7700

For Howard County Circuit Court – inquiries regarding cases and current limited court hearings, or to speak to the attorney on duty:

Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(410) 313-2108

Our Victim/Witness Assistance Unit remains available to address any questions and concerns you might have during this time.

Howard County SAO Victim/Witness Assistance Unit
410-313-3153
kvasco@howardcountymd.gov

For all other inquiries, please send an email to the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office at:

sao@howardcountymd.gov

We will continue to keep you abreast of the latest updates via our website and social media pages. If you need to reach anyone in our office, please call the number listed below or send us an email. We will respond promptly.

Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office Information:
https://howardcountysao.org/
410-313-2108
sao@howardcountymd.gov


Social Media Sites:

facebook.com/HowardCoSAO

@HowardCoSAO

youtube.com/channel/UCLN5otRRp1Pxw6xi3TaE_KA