Jul. 1—EBENSBURG — Cambria County employees, attorneys and court personnel will no longer be required to wear masks at court facilities after an order issued Thursday by President Judge Norman Krumenacker III.
Krumenacker said the move will allow the courthouse to resume "normal pre-pandemic operations" — including being fully staffed in person.
The judge's order modified pandemic-related court operations and mitigation procedures, and replaced guidelines that expired Wednesday.
Members of the public entering the Cambria County Courthouse, Central Park Complex in downtown Johnstown, and district magistrate's offices will still be required to wear facemasks or other coverings over their mouths and noses.
Courthouse staff and attorneys who have provided a certification of vaccination or copies of their vaccination cards may choose not to wear masks at their discretion.
Krumenacker said those are the parties he "has control over" and that information can be filed with human resources for employees, or Krumenacker's office for attorneys.
Filings with the prothonotary and clerks of courts offices may no longer be made by email or fax unless permitted by the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal or Civil Procedure.
"I'm trying to create a consistent policy and we can start carving out a path forward from there," he said.
The order added that court hearings will continue to be scheduled in a staggered manner to reduce crowding and avoid overlapping hearings.
Court facilities will also continue to practice social distancing guidelines.
Krumenacker said hearings will start to resume in person except in situations when that is not possible.
Sheriff's deputies can limit the number of individuals entering or remaining in a court facility to ensure public safety, and will enforce compliance with safety provisions set forth by Krumenacker's order.
Earlier in June, the judge said his order would remain in place until about 70% of the county was fully vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, the Department of Health said 54,137 residents are now fully vaccinated in the county, or about 49.5% of the population.
"I am responsible for a lot of people and with that comes their health, and I take that very seriously," Krumenacker said.
The judge's new order will remain in place until Aug. 31. Krumenacker said that he will review the order periodically.
"Like everything else we have to be flexible while keeping in mind the goal of keeping everyone safe," he said, "and I think that everyone here has been working hard to keep each other safe."