CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There was another sign Friday that things are getting back to normal at the Nueces County Courthouse.
In-person arraignments resumed Friday for the first time since the start of the pandemic last year.
Jury trials had resumed just two days earlier.
Strict safety guidelines are in place for these arraignments, which are all being done in the Central Jury Room.
Prior to the pandemic, arraignments were done by each court individually.
Because of COVID-19, only two people are allowed at a time in elevators.
With hundreds of people being arraigned every week, it would be unsafe and impossible to continue to hold those arraignments in individual courts.
Now judges are following guidelines handed down by the Texas Supreme Court and the Office of Court Administration in Austin.
Those guidelines include the use of face shields, social distancing and hand sanitizer.
Judge Deeanne Galvan with County Court at Law 3 says, "We are also very cognizant of anyone who feels unsure about coming to court due to the COVID-19 situation and we are also making sure if they feel uncomfortable Zoom is always available to them."
If someone shows up for an arraignment and is suspected of having a fever, or shows symptoms of COVID-19, their arraignment will be rescheduled.
Each person is also asked a series of COVID-19 related questions.
Plexiglass screens have also been installed at each of the stations used for the arraignments.