Planet earth wearing protective mask

OK, it was fun while it lasted. It was just two months ago that the El Paso & Teller County courthouses fully reopened after more than a year of Covid-related closures and restrictions. Now, with the Delta Variant raging, and Covid-19 cases and deaths reaching near-peak levels, it’s clear that vaccinations alone will not protect us from this scourge.

Yesterday, Chief Judge Will Bain of the 4th Judicial District joined the growing trend of reimposing mask mandates, by issuing Chief Judge Order 2021-12. The brief order reads, in its entirety:

“Beginning September 1, 2021, and until further notice, all visitors to and employees of the El Paso County Courthouse and Teller County Combined Courts shall wear a mask in any area accessible to the public or to jurors.”

There are no exceptions to the mask requirement for vaccinated people (which would be hard to enforce anyway, given the lack of vaccine passports), and thus far, no social distancing or other measures. But realistically, unless we can turn the corner on Covid-19, it’s probably only a matter of time before we return to remote hearings…