June 18, 2021

Vermont Judiciary Continues Move to Full Re-opening of State Courts

Remote or virtual hearings will continue as Judiciary emphasizes the need to increase access to the courts for more Vermonters

Statement of the Vermont State Court Administrator, Patricia Gabel, regarding Vermont becoming the first state to achieve 80 percent vaccination rate among eligible Vermonters and the court’s efforts to continue re-opening:

"The Vermont Judiciary is thrilled that Vermonters have stepped up and worked together to reach an important milestone in our COVID-19 recovery efforts. As the first state in the nation to reach 80 percent of eligible residents vaccinated against the virus, we can continue to re-open our court buildings for in-person trials, hearings and filings in earnest.

"As we advance this important work, we will continue to make public health and safety our top priority. That means not all courts will be open and available for all court proceedings in the near-term. Our expert buildings team is thoroughly assessing and carefully implementing safety measures needed to protect those who are vulnerable and not able to be vaccinated. This work includes the installation of advanced HEPA air filtration systems, CO2 monitoring, and continuing to limit the number of people who can be in our buildings and the duration of court activities—all to ensure the public and staff are safe.

"Additionally, we have learned that technology has been our ally, as remote hearings have allowed us to continue to process cases, and our modernized case management system has enabled remote access to court documents and processes. We will continue these practices even as some of our courthouses re-open fully.

"I want to extend a sincere thanks on behalf of the Judiciary to all who continue to respond to this unprecedented public health crisis and to those who have remained patient as the Judiciary has navigated the pandemic’s many challenges. I am very proud of the Judiciary’s response and know that we are poised to emerge in a strong position to continue delivering vital services to the people of Vermont.

"If you have questions about your hearing or whether a particular courthouse is open to the public, please check with your attorney or call the Judiciary’s Information Center at 802-652-1900. Information is also available on our website at www.vermontjudiciary.org/covid19."