ST. PAUL — Anyone entering a Minnesota court facility will be required to wear a mask or face covering to limit the spread of the coronavirus beginning next week.

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea on Tuesday, July 7, ordered that the new mandate would take effect beginning Monday, July 13. The news comes as the court begins resuming in-person court appearances following a temporary pause spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The only exemptions to the rule apply when social distancing can occur in public areas of the court facilities or when plexiglass partitions are present. A judge can also authorize the removal of a mask or face covering if they feel it is appropriate.

"Requiring face coverings to be worn in court facilities when physical distance requirements cannot be maintained will contribute to the administration of justice by allowing the Judicial Branch to continue to safely and methodically expand court services and in-person court proceedings while implementing uniform safety measures," Gildea wrote in the order.

Some local and county governments have required the use of masks in government buildings and other indoor areas where social distancing is difficult. And Minnesota health officials have said they are mulling a similar mandate for the whole state as reported cases of COVID-19 continue to tick up in Minnesota.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Other states have imposed similar requirements in recent days as they track heightened reports of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.