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Baltimore County Circuit Court adding sneeze guards, bullet-resistant barriers

Baltimore County Circuit Court has installed plastic barrier shields throughout the building to help keep people protected during the coronavirus pandemic.

The circuit court purchased 50 sneeze guards for installation in courtrooms and other spaces where people will be in contact, according to county documents. The court acted without approval from Baltimore County Council due to the “emergency nature of the situation,” documents show.

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Court Administrator Tim Sheridan told the council the quick purchases were necessary to keep the court running for bail reviews and “various different emergencies.” The Maryland Judiciary awarded more than $5,900 to the court to cover the expenses.

The latest safety measure comes after judges postponed trials in March. Since then, an Essex District Courthouse employee tested positive for coronavirus in July. Additionally, courts statewide resumed non-jury trials and contested hearings in criminal, civil, family, and juvenile matters on Aug. 31. Jury trials and the remaining court operations will resume on Oct. 5.

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The Maryland Judiciary also awarded more than $20,000 to the Circuit Court for ballistic barriers, documents show. The barriers will be used to reinforce the lobby’s front doors and windows from bullets and other projectiles.

The barriers will also feature tinting to eliminate sun glare and improve visibility for security staff, Sheridan said. He asked for the council’s approval before the county could put out a bid for the purchase and installation of the barriers.

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