Supreme Court of Virginia
IN RE: ORDER DECLARING A JUDICIAL EMERGENCY
IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 EMERGENCY
On March 12, 2020, Governor Northam entered Executive Order Number Fifty-One (2020) Declaration of a State of Emergency Due to Novel Coronavirus COVID-19. The Governor noted that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has been working with local, state, and federal officials, healthcare and emergency management experts, and various state agencies to form a COVID-19 Taskforce to prepare for and respond to this threat, and that, given recent confirmed occurrences of COVID-19 within the Commonwealth and in neighboring states, as well as information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is anticipated that the disease will spread. A state of emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Virginia and efforts of the executive branch are underway to continue to prepare and coordinate its response to the potential spread of COVID-19, a communicable disease of public health threat. This state of emergency became effective March 12, 2020, and is to remain in full force and in effect until June 10, 2020, unless sooner amended or rescinded by further executive order.
On March 13, 2020, the Governor advised that “if you have not already, please continue to review your [Continuity of Operations or] COOP plan. It is critical that you think about essential functions as they relate specifically to the COVID-19 event.” Many courts are actively doing so and court users and the public may access information on courts’ responses to the COVID-19 emergency online at: http://www.vacourts.gov/. All judges and clerks may access resources and information via the Court’s intranet site at: http://oesinet/. Courts that have not already done so, should review their continuity of operations plan and consult remotely with local stakeholders.
In 2010, the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Pandemic Flu Preparedness Commission issued the Pandemic Influenza Bench Book for Virginia’s Court System and it has been available since then to the public and court personnel via the Court’s web site at: http://www.vacourts.gov/programs/pfp/benchbook.pdf. It was revised in 2017, and most recently was specifically referenced in emails sent to all judges and clerks by the Executive Secretary on February 26 and March 11, 2020, with information for all courts to use in addressing the current COVID-19 emergency.
Click the Notice (PDF) link below for more information.