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Coronavirus: Provincial court of Saskatchewan updates policies to prevent spread of COVID-19

The Provincial Court of Saskatchewan has updated policies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Provincial Court of Saskatchewan has updated policies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. File / Global News

The provincial court of Saskatchewan has made updates on policies around scheduling and court appearances, replacing updates from earlier this week.

All 13 permanent provincial court locations will remain open, but operations are being reduced in an effort to protect court users and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Saskatoon police adjusting services over COVID-19 concerns

Access to provincial courthouses is restricted to only those necessary to proceedings, including counsel, litigants, accused, witnesses, support workers, treatment court workers and members of the media. Crown and defence counsel have blanket permission to appear over the phone on all matters except trials and preliminary hearing until further notice.

Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19
Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19

As mentioned earlier this week, circuit court locations remain closed until May 31. Docket court appearances at circuit court, trials and preliminary hearings will be adjourned until after May 31.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Saskatoon police adjusting services over COVID-19 concerns

Bail hearings and sentencing matters for in-custody accused will be able to proceed over the phone and by video conference at the local permanent court point.

Tickets and trials requiring court appearances between March 23 and May 31 will be adjourned, but people are asked to choose one of the following three options:

  • Make a voluntary payment online, by mail or over the phone.
  • Contact the local court office by phone to request pay extensions, time to pay requests or to enter not guilty pleas.
  • Tickets will be adjourned to at least ten weeks from the original court date and you will appear at that time.

READ MORE: Coronavirus quarantine at Saskatoon Correctional Centre reaches one week

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms or being told to self-isolate should not attend court and is being asked to call the appropriate court office for further instruction.

The number of people permitted in a courtroom or area of the court will be in accordance with current public health orders, which is 25 as of Sunday. The court said it will post more information as it becomes available.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.