Kentucky Politics

Kentucky courthouses have been closed to in-person traffic for much of the pandemic, but the state Supreme Court has issued an order slowly easing coronavirus restrictions and allowing more face-to-face hearings.

Most court proceedings will continue to take place remotely until May 1, though grand juries will be allowed to meet starting April 1.

The reopening plan requires everyone entering the courthouse to wear masks.

In a statement, the Administrative Office of the Courts said the judicial branch was implementing the changes “as Kentucky begins to see its COVID-19 cases decline and its rate of vaccinations increase.”

Judges will be able to schedule cases for in-person hearings starting May 1, when courts end their reduced staffing and special leave policies for courthouse employees.

Jury trials will also begin meeting in person on May 1.

The order removes the requirement that eviction filings be accompanied with an AOC-1027 form, which landlords have been required to fill out to verify evictions aren’t prohibited under the CARES Act.

But the order still requires any evictions to be compliant with the CDC’s ban on evicting people who can’t pay rent, which is set to expire March 31.

The court also extended the window to renew driver’s licenses by mail until June 30.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.