ALBANY (AP) — If you’re planning to enter a state courthouse, make sure you’re not running a fever.
Beginning today, all people seeking to enter court buildings must first have their temperature taken by a uniformed officer with an infrared thermometer, according to the state Office of Court Administration.
Those whose temperatures register at 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more will be turned away from the courthouses, the new policy states.
The would-be visitors will also be asked whether they have experienced virus symptoms or traveled to countries or states with high rates of coronavirus infection. The procedure dovetails with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order listing 16 states from which travelers entering New York are being directed to isolate themselves for 14 days.
If visitors have temperatures less than 100 degrees and answer “No” to the questions asked by court officers, they will be allowed entry after being checked by magnetometer/X-ray machines.
The new measure is part of an effort to counter the spread of the virus that has infected more than 390,000 New Yorkers and taken nearly 25,000 lives across the state over the past four months.
The state courts, for the first time since many proceedings were postponed in March, will resume grand jury hearings across New York on July 13, according to courts spokesman Lucian Chalfen.
Bringing back grand juries to consider indictments of people suspected of committing crimes should help address a growing backlog of cases, said Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond.
“The question is going to be: Will some of these people (facing possible indictment) show up?” said DuMond.
He noted the re-scheduling of the proceedings will be one of the first yardsticks for measuring whether defendants released from custody under the state’s new bail law will make their mandatory court appearances or abscond from justice.
The fiscal crisis that has accompanied the pandemic has forced state leaders to implement austerity measures, including a new 90-day delay in the payment of contractual 2% raises to state workers at state executive branch agencies represented by New York’s largest public employee union, the Civil Service Employees Association, and uniformed state troopers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has explained his administration froze the raises to avoid furloughing state workers, a move that has been taken by numerous county governments.
CSEA said in a statement it supports “full retroactive payment of the wage increase for all state workers, but we also recognize the dire financial position the state is in and have no desire to see members laid off or furloughed.”