Masks No Longer Required in State Courthouses If Fully Vaccinated

By Christian Nolan

July 12, 2021

Masks No Longer Required in State Courthouses If Fully Vaccinated


By Christian Nolan

Good afternoon Members,

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, during her coronavirus update today, announced that judges, staff and visitors no longer have to wear a mask inside state court system courthouses as long as they can prove that they are fully vaccinated.

Previously, in mid-June, DiFiore announced that judges and court employees who certified that they were fully vaccinated were no longer required to wear a mask in the non-public areas of state court facilities. Visitors, meanwhile, were still required to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status.

DiFiore said that in the coming days, the same judges and court staff who have already certified that they are fully vaccinated, will no longer be required to wear a mask in the public areas of the courthouse, including inside courtrooms.

Additionally, fully vaccinated court visitors who can show proof of their vaccination status will be allowed to enter and remain in courthouses without a mask. DiFiore said that detailed information regarding the implementation of the updated mask policy will be distributed and available soon.

The chief judge noted that face masks will continue to be required for everyone not certified to be fully vaccinated, and other safety measures, including distancing, and excusal of individuals who are ill or have been exposed to COVID-19, will continue.

In-Person Arraignments

DiFiore also announced that in-person day arraignments have resumed in the New York City Criminal Court in all five counties, with the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island now on board.

With regard to in-person night arraignments, Manhattan Criminal Court restarted last week, Brooklyn resumes today, and they are scheduled to begin next week in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

DiFiore expects that by July 24 the New York City Criminal Court will have fully transitioned back to in-person arraignments, including on the weekend. Outside of New York City, in-person arraignments have resumed in every judicial district.

“We will continue to press forward with a responsible restoration of in-person operations, and I want to assure everyone that as we expand in-person proceedings, your safety will remain a top priority for us,” said DiFiore.

Accepting Applications for Court of Appeals

The New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination has announced that it is seeking recommendations and applications of persons who may be qualified to serve as an associate judge of the state’s highest Court, the Court of Appeals.

On Jan. 1, 2022, Associate Judge Eugene M. Fahey will reach the mandatory age for retirement. Under the state constitution, judges of the court must retire at the end of the year during which they turn 70.

Candidates for Fahey’s vacancy may download an application from the commission’s website ( or contact the commission’s counsel, Henry M. Greenberg, c/o Greenberg Traurig, LLP, 54 State Street, 6th Floor, Albany, New York 12208. Telephone: (518) 689-1492; e-mail: [email protected]; fax: (518) 689-1499. Applications may be filed electronically by e-mailing them to [email protected] or submitted by mail to the commission’s counsel.

The deadline to submit applications is Aug. 6, 2021. Candidates who have submitted an application for the last two vacancies (Hon. Leslie E. Stein and Hon. Paul G. Feinman) may also be considered in connection with the coming vacancy created by Fahey’s retirement and do not need to submit an additional application, as long as they indicate to the commission on or before Aug. 6 that they want to be considered.

While prospective candidates must file an application with the commission, recommendations may be made by anyone who believes that a prospective candidate could be an excellent judge of the court. Recommendations of qualified candidates for a vacancy are encouraged and may be made to the commission’s counsel.

Upcoming CLE Webinars

Wednesday, July 14 – SEC Exam Priorities and Recent Trends.

Wednesday, July 14 – Embracing GENgagement To Win the DEI Challenge.

Thursday, July 15 – New Venture Capital Funding Pool Created Under the Rescue Act.

Tuesday, July 20 – CPLR Update 2021: Critical Knowledge for Your Practice.

Latest NYSBA.ORG News

In addition to coronavirus updates, we are adding other interesting new content to our website.

NYSBA will examine the reality of conservatorships on the upcoming live webinar “Conservatorship: What If Britney Spears Resided In New York State? What New York Lawyers Should Know.” It will take place on Tuesday, July 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Also, at a live webinar July 22, NYSBA’s Committee on Law, Youth and Citizenship will examine the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. and discuss the impact the ruling will have on school districts going forward.

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