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The Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19 has released this document to provide guidance on protecting court personnel and court users and general practices for cleaning and disinfecting.
In the exercise of due diligence and responsible stewardship, control measures are likely to evolve with knowledge related to the risks posed by COVID-19 and the usefulness of such measures to mitigate those risks.
Guidance on Protecting Court Personnel and Court Users
- Follow guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the local public health authority.
- Adopt a multi-layered approach that integrates different levels of control measures to create the safest court environment possible. Monitor the implementation of measures and continually assess risks and effectiveness to make adjustments as needed. Consider the following types of controls: elimination and substitution (e.g. remote or technological alternatives), physical distancing, engineering controls (e.g. ventilation and physical barriers), administrative controls (e.g. procedures, policies and work practices), and masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), as appropriate. For further guidance on this topic, see the Action Committee’s Orienting Principles on Safe and Accessible Courts and Message: Keeping our Court Environments Safe in the Midst of a Pandemic.
- Develop written procedures outlining all of the preventative measures that are being taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and make sure court personnel and court users know what they are.
- Require that court users and personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19, or are otherwise obligated to isolate or quarantine, not enter or be obliged to leave the court setting for the period prescribed by local public health authorities.
- Ensure that all court personnel and court users wash or sanitize their hands when entering the court facility. Recommend that everyone frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, especially between activities that involve physical contact with common or high-touch surfaces.
- Provide hand sanitizer at all entrances and exits, on desks and tables and at occupied workstations. Ensure that hand hygiene stations are easy to access by everyone, including persons with physical disabilities.
- Promote proper respiratory etiquette, such as covering the mouth and nose with flexed elbow or sleeve when coughing and sneezing. If tissues are used, dispose immediately and wash or sanitize hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment frequently, using an approved hard surface disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions, or with a diluted bleach solution.
- Develop a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting all high touch surfaces, equipment, and shared spaces.