Courthouses around Maine will close several days a week as virus spread worsens

By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News Staff

Courthouses around Maine are closing to the public several days a week through the month of January as coronavirus cases continue surging across the state.

Rather than reducing the number of hours they open each day, as they did in the early days of the pandemic, most courthouses will close several days a week. The closures will vary by region, with location-specific details available on the court system’s website.

Courts will be open when in-person hearings are scheduled, and most court proceedings will take place remotely when the buildings are closed to the public.

Staff will continue working and answering phones, according to Julia Finn, a spokesperson for the Maine judicial system. 

The court system curtailed operations statewide in March when the pandemic began. 

Operations ramped back up in the late summer and early fall as court personnel began addressing a large backlog of criminal cases, family matters and eviction cases. The court system delayed jury trials and most other civil cases until next year.

Finn said the judicial branch had decided that further limiting the hours courthouses are open to the public was the right decision “until pandemic conditions begin to improve.”

Finn asked that people with upcoming court dates call clerks’ offices before going to courthouses.

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