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Eastern District requires masks for entry to Milwaukee courthouse

The U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin is requiring everyone who enters the federal courthouse in Milwaukee to wear a mask in public areas of the building.

Chief U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper issued an order about masking on Monday, and it went into effect immediately as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order defined public areas as the atrium and lobby, elevators, stairwells, restrooms, public corridors, clerk’s office counters and courtrooms, unless excused by the presiding judge.

People who have documents proving they can’t wear a mask for medical reasons will be excepted from the requirement.

The order said each individual agency or court will develop and enforce its own policy for masks within its internal space.

The court is encouraging people to bring their own masks. The screening security station will also have disposable masks available while supplies last. People who decline or refuse to wear a mask will be denied entry to the building. They may reach out to the agency or office they intended to visit for alternatives to entering the courthouse.

The federal courthouse in Milwaukee is temporarily closed to the public until July 1, with some exceptions detailed in the court’s May 28 order. All civil and criminal trials are continued and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge to a date after July 1.

Jury trials in the Western District are suspended through June 30. An order from Chief District Judge James Peterson said most operations were continuing remotely, and in-person proceedings are limited.

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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