In the immediate aftermath of the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, New Jersey Courts took steps to suspend certain proceedings and extend various deadlines, in an effort to protect both court personnel and the public. With the increased ability to proceed virtually, the Court has issued a second Omnibus Order to handle more and more routine and emergent matters, but continue to provide extensions of time where necessary. Thus, until further notice there will be no new civil or criminal jury trials; grand juries are suspended through May 31, 2020, as are Landlord/Tenant calendars and lockouts. Most discovery deadlines in Civil and Family matters generally are extended through May 10, 2020, with lengthier extensions only in specific areas. Civil arbitrations and matrimonial ESPs will resume on April 27, 2020 by video or telephone conference. Municipal Court proceedings will commence in a virtual (video or phone) format on May 11, 2020. In addition, the Bergen County Surrogate is now able to remotely complete applications for probate and to continue the work of adjudications of incapacity and appointment of permanent guardians. At the physical courthouse itself, Bergen County now has nineteen courtrooms with remote capabilities. The county has purchased thermal scanners that will be installed at each entrance to the building. The thermal scanner identifies people who are running a high temperature. The scanners should be in place within a week. Those persons running a high temperature will not be admitted into the courthouse.
We will continue to keep you apprised of further actions as they are announced. In the interim, please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions and, as always, please continue to stay safe and healthy.