The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan announced on March 11, 2020, visitor restrictions for entering its five courthouses to prevent the spread of the virus.

The full restrictions are available here. These restrictions were issued in response to Governor Whitmer’s State of Emergency, which we discussed here.

In sum, the current restrictions require visitors to tell Security Officers if they meet certain criteria, including whether they:

  • Have traveled to China, South Korea, Italy, or Iran within the last 14 days;
  • Come into contact with someone who has been to these countries;
  • Traveled domestically within the U.S. where COVID-19 has sustained widespread community transmission;
  • Come into contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Have been asked to self-quarantine by any medical professionals; and
  • Have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

There are various numbers in the bulletin to call if you were supposed to appear for jury duty or otherwise required to appear at one of the courthouses in the Eastern District but cannot because of the restrictions.

Also, it will be important to review this notice as domestic community transmission continues to increase or countries are added to the list.

Thoughts on the Restrictions

These restrictions make sense but are undermined by the lack of testing available for the virus.  Specifically, three of the six criteria depend upon or relate to having the virus, having symptoms of the virus, or being exposed to someone with the virus. Medical tests would provide much-needed fact-based assessment rather than the guess-work or assumptions visitors and court staff must use to assess entry into the courthouse.

Our goal in the coming days and weeks is to provide continued updates and recommendations for maintaining a safe workplace and meeting employment law obligations in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus. For continued updates on this and other employment law matters, please subscribe to this publication. For specific questions, use this link to contact Michigan attorney Jason Shinn.