COVID-19 and the Kentucky Courts

The Supreme Court of Kentucky has ended most COVID-19 related restrictions on the state court system. The changes followed the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance for fully vaccinated individuals and took effect May 18, 2021.

“After the most challenging year in the history of the modern court system, I am pleased to announce that the Supreme Court has lifted most of the COVID-19 restrictions for employees, elected officials and those entering court facilities across the commonwealth,” Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said. “I am grateful to all of you (court employees and elected officials) for the perseverance and commitment to safety that has allowed us to begin transitioning back to normal operations for the Kentucky Court of Justice.”

The Supreme Court entered two administrative orders that eliminated most of the health and safety requirements related to COVID-19 and further expanded in-person court operations. A summary of the orders is here:

Administrative Order 2021-16, Response to COVID-19 Emergency: Health and Safety Requirements

  • Allows in-person access to court facilities for any individual with business before the courts, except those who have symptoms of, have tested positive for, or have been exposed to COVID-19.
  •  Eliminates the mask requirement for fully vaccinated members of the public entering court facilities and fully vaccinated KCOJ elected officials and employees.
  • Strongly encourages continued use of masks by members of the public and KCOJ elected officials and employees who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Permits judges to require individuals in their courtrooms to wear masks and gives appointing authorities the ability to require the employees they supervise to wear masks in a specific office, courtroom or department.
  • Encourages the continued use of remote technology for court proceedings and allows any individual with a scheduled remote hearing to appear remotely.
  • Allows judges to conduct in-person court proceedings.
  • Allows filings and payments to be made in-person at the local Office of Circuit Court Clerk.

Administrative Order 2021-17, Response to COVID-19 Emergency: Court Proceedings

  • Lifts most restrictions on jury trials but requires continuances, postponements and recusals for attorneys, parties and jurors who are ill or at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Allows master commissioners to conduct judicial sales remotely or in person with no limitations.
  • Retains the July 1, 2021, start date for show cause dockets for payments of fines and court costs.
  • Suspends night traffic courts in Jefferson County until further notice.
You can email questions or concerns to COVIDCourtConcerns@kycourts.net.

    Court System Preparedness & Response

    Administrative Order 2021-25, Rescinding Section1(c) of Administrative Order 2020-77

    Administrative Order 2021-21, June 10, 2021 (Replaces Administrative Order 2020-03) COVID-19 Vaccine Leave for Kentucky Court of Justice Employees

    Administrative Order 2021-17, May 18, 2021 (Replaces Administrative Order 2020-07) Kentucky Court of Justice Response to COVID-19 Emergency: Court Proceedings

    Administrative Order 2021-16, May 18, 2021 (Replaces Administrative Order 2020-06) Kentucky Court of Justice Response to COVID-19 Emergency: Health and Safety Requirements

    Administrative Order 2021-03, Jan. 12, 2021 (Replaces Administrative Order 2020-66) Work Alternatives for High-Risk Employees and Asymptomatic COVID Testing Leave for Kentucky Court of Justice Employees in a Pandemic or Public Health Emergency

    Administrative Order 2020-77, Dec. 17, 2020 (Amends Administrative Order 2020-67, dated Sept. 25, 2020) Amended Emergency Release Schedule and Pretrial Drug Testing Standards

    Administrative Order 2020-66, Sept. 25, 2020 (Amends Administrative Order 2020-58, Aug. 7, 2020) Amended Emergency Release Schedule and Pretrial Drug Testing Standards

    Administrative Order 2020-65, Sept. 15, 2020 (Amends Administrative Order 2020-46, dated May 29, 2020) Custody and Parenting Time Orders

    Administrative Order 2020-64, Aug. 28, 2020: Kentucky Court of Justice Response to COVID-19 Emergency: Expansion of Court Proceedings (Amends Supreme Court Order 2020-56, dated July 27, 2020)

    Administrative Order 2020-63, Aug. 28, 2020: Kentucky Court of Justice Response to COVID-19 Emergency: Health and Safety Requirements (Amends Supreme Court Order 2020-55, dated July 27, 2020)

    Administrative Order 2020-62, Aug. 21, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-62 was entered Aug. 21, 2020, to amend Order 2020-59.) Jefferson County Eviction Diversion Pilot Project

    Administrative Order 2020-61, Aug. 17, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-61 was entered Aug. 17, 2020, to amend Order 2020-50.) Administration of 2020 Bar Examination

    Administrative Order 2020-60, Aug. 17, 2020: Amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court

    Administrative Order 2020-47, May 29, 2020 (Replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-23, dated April 14, 2020) Flexible Staffing Guidelines for Court Clerks in a Pandemic or Public Health Emergency

    Administrative Order, May 20, 2020: Extension of Continuing Judicial Education Reporting Deadline and Waiver of Limitation on Recorded Activities

    Administrative Order, May 19, 2020: Kentucky Court of Justice Response to COVID-19 Emergency: Expansion of Court Proceedings

    Administrative Order May 15, 2020: Kentucky Court of Justice Response to COVID-19 Emergency - Health and Safety Requirements for the Expansion of Court Operations

    Administrative Order May 5, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-32, dated May 5, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-14, dated March 27, 2020.) Custody and Parenting Time Orders

    Administrative Order April 30, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-31, dated April 30, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-15, dated March 31, 2020.) Deadline for Reporting Continuing Legal Education Activities

    Administrative Order April 28, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-29, dated April 28, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-17, dated April 1, 2020.) Extension of Filing Deadlines for Supreme Court of Kentucky and Kentucky Court of Appeals

    Administrative Order April 24, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-28, dated April 24, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-22, dated April 14, 2020.) Kentucky Court of Justice Response to COVID-19 Emergency

    Administrative Order April 23, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-27, dated April 23, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-25, dated April 14, 2020.) Kentucky Court of Justice Emergency Release Schedule for Pretrial Defendants and Emergency Pretrial Drug Testing Standards in Response to COVID-19 Emergency

    Administrative Order April 14, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-23, dated April 14, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-18, dated April 3, 2020.) Flexible Staffing Guidelines for Court Clerks in a Pandemic or Public Health Emergency

    Administrative Order April 14, 2020 (Administrative Order 2020-24, dated April 14, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-20, dated April 7, 2020.) Special Emergency Directed Leave for Kentucky Court of Justice Employees in a Pandemic or Public Health Emergency

    Administrative Order April 3, 2020: Amendment to the By-Laws of the Kentucky Bar Association

    Administrative Order March 31, 2020: Deadline for Reporting Continuing Legal Education Activities

    July 28, 2021: CDC changes mask recommendations in wake of COVID escalation

    July 21, 2021: COVID cases driven by Delta variant call for renewed precautions

    June 16, 2021: Public entrance sign lifting most COVID-19 restrictions now available in 12 languages

    May 19, 2021: New public entrance sign reflects Supreme Court lifting most COVID restrictions

    May 18, 2021: Supreme Court lifts most COVID-19 restrictions, changes effective immediately

    May 14, 2021: Under New Guidance From CDC, Fully Vaccinated KCOJ Employees & Elected Officials No Longer Required to Wear Masks in KCOJ Facilities

    March 30, 2021: Announcing latest changes to COVID-19 Health and Safety Requirements

    March 9, 2021: COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures Still in Place as Vaccine Distribution Continues

    March 5, 2021: Update Regarding Vaccination Registration

    March 4, 2021: Announcing COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for Kentucky Court of Justice Personnel

    February 26, 2021: Orders Corrected, Supreme Court allows courts to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions

    February 25, 2021: Supreme Court issues orders allowing courts to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions

    February 4, 2021: How to Determine Your Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccinations

    January 13, 2021: COVID-19 Vaccinations for Kentucky Court of Justice Personnel

    January 6, 2021: Supreme Court extends restrictions on jury trials, grand juries until April 1

    December 22, 2020: COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule in Kentucky

    November 20, 2020: Supreme Court amends court operations statewide to address escalating COVID cases

    October 29, 2020: Guidelines for COVID precautions in red zones as cases surge this fall and winter

    September 25, 2020: Supreme Court amends orders related to high-risk employees emergency release schedule

    September 15, 2020: Supreme Court amends Custody and Parenting Time order

    September 3, 2020: Latest public entrance signs now available in 12 commonly used languages

    August 28, 2020: Supreme Court enters amended orders related to in-person testimony and evictions

    August 17, 2020: Supreme Court announces 2 orders related to administration of Kentucky bar exam

    August 10, 2020: Supreme Court announces pilot project to reduce eviction cases in Jefferson County

    August 7, 2020: Asymptomatic court employees now eligible for paid leave to obtain COVID-19 testing

    July 31, 2020: Announcing changes to COVID-19 Health and Safety Requirements for court personnel

    July 29, 2020: Public entrance signs updated to reflect Supreme Court orders issued July 27

    July 27, 2020: Supreme Court provides new guidance on staffing access to court facilities jury trials evictions

    July 21, 2020: What to do if a court employee tests positive for or is exposed

    June 12, 2020: 60 day deadline for travel vouchers temporarily waived due to COVID-19 disruptions

    June 9, 2020: New public entrance signs about reopening procedures now available in 12 languages

    June 5, 2020: Addressing bumps in the road as we plan for Reopening Week 2

    May 30, 2020: Court facilities must post new public entrance signs about reopening procedures

    May 29, 2020: Supreme Court provides updates on how courts will expand services starting June 1

    May 29, 2020: Circuit Court Clerks to resume limited driver's license services statewide June 1

    May 19, 2020: Guidance on jury trials as courts plan to gradually expand operations June 1

    May 15, 2020: Judicial Branch announces plan to resume limited in-person court services starting June 1

    May 14, 2020: Announcing cost-cutting measures for Judicial Branch effective May 15 2020

    May 8, 2020: Updated Facilities Closed sign announces in-person services suspended until May 31

    May 6, 2020: Supreme Court extends guidance on custody and parenting time orders to May 31 2020

    May 1, 2020: Reopening Task Forces will prepare courts to resume limited in-person services

    April 24, 2020: Your civility and cooperation are helping us get through these trying times

    April 24, 2020: Supreme Court issues additional guidance on handling court matters during pandemic

    April 23, 2020: Supreme Court amends emergency release schedule clarifies that order applies only to new arrests

    April 17, 2020: Taking additional steps to flatten the curve protect defendants and court partners

    April 14, 2020: Supreme Court issues emergency release schedule, pretrial drug testing standards

    April 14, 2020: Supreme Court extends 3 orders governing courts during pandemic to May 31

    April 10, 2020: Signage Notice for Posting at Public Entrances

    April 10, 2020: Message from Chief Justice In uncertain times spring is still a season of new beginnings

    April 8, 2020: Social distancing more important than ever as COVID-19 cases expected to peak

    April 3, 2020: Judicial Branch gets a budget courts enact more stringent social distancing measures

    April 3, 2020: 50/50 staffing schedule for offices of circuit and appellate clerks

    April 2, 2020: Court facilities must post 2 new public entrance signs restricting access

    April 1, 2020: Supreme Court suspends in-person services at court facilities, requires court proceedings

    March 31, 2020: Supreme Court order gives attorneys more time to complete continuing legal education

    March 27, 2020: Thanks for another week of working together during state of emergency

    March 27, 2020: Supreme Court provides guidance for custody and parenting time orders

    March 26, 2020: Supreme Court issues new amendments to order limiting in-person court proceedings

    March 25, 2020: Public entrance sign for court facilities now available in 9 languages

    March 24, 2020: Judicial Branch is providing essential services during pandemic

    March 20, 2020: Time to focus on looming COVID-19 crisis in Kentucky's overcrowded jails

    March 20, 2020: Further Guidance and Sample Orders for Issuing Quarantine Orders

    March 20, 2020: Chief Justice Minton sends thanks to Judicial Branch family for amazing work

    March 19, 2020: Introducing 50/50 staffing schedule for offices of circuit and appellate clerks

    March 17, 2020: Supreme Court issues new amendments to order restricting court proceedings during pandemic

    March 17, 2020: Judicial Branch announces guide to govern personnel actions during COVID-19 outbreak

    March 17, 2020: Guidance for Issuing Quarantine Orders

    March 17, 2020: Driver's license offices to close by 5 p.m. March 17 for social distancing

    March 17, 2020: Court personnel urged to remain calm as Judicial Branch prepares to take additional measures

    March 13, 2020: Notice to post attached sign at all public entrances to your court facility

    March 13, 2020: AMENDED ORDER Supreme Court places restrictions on court proceedings

    March 12, 2020: Supreme Court restricts court proceedings to observe social distancing

    March 11, 2020: Legal guidance on handling isolation and quarantine orders

    March 11, 2020: KCOJ suspends out-of-state travel, discourages large-group meetings

    March 10, 2020: Kentucky Personnel Cabinet provides protocols for state employees

    March 9, 2020: Judicial Branch's response to COVID-19

    February 26, 2020: Judicial Branch Preparing in event of coronavirus outbreak in Kentucky

    The Supreme Court addressed the latest surge in COVID-19 cases statewide by amending two orders to limit in-person court proceedings and restrict access to judicial facilities. Administrative Order 2020-71 replaces order 2020-63 in its entirety and Administrative Order 2020-72 replaces order 2020-64 in its entirety. Both orders were effective Nov. 30, 2020, and pertain to all 120 counties.

    Circuit Court

    2nd Judicial Circuit: McCracken Circuit Court

    4th Judicial Circuit: Hopkins Circuit, Family & District Courts

    7th Judicial Circuit: Logan & Todd Circuit Courts

    8th Judicial Circuit: Warren Circuit Court

    9th Judicial Circuit:
    Hardin Circuit Court, Red Zone Protocol
    Hardin Cover Order

    Hardin General Protocol

    Hardin Circuit Court Schedule 2021

    10th Judicial Circuit: Hart, LaRue & Nelson Circuit Courts

    11th Judicial Circuit: Green, Marion, Taylor & Washington Circuit Courts

    12th Judicial Circuit: Henry, Oldham & Trimble Circuit Courts

    13th Judicial Circuit: Garrard & Jessamine Circuit Courts

    15th Judicial Circuit: Carroll, Grant and Owen Circuit Courts

    18th Judicial Circuit: Harrison, Nicholas, Pendleton & Robertson Circuit Courts

    22nd Judicial Circuit: Fayette Circuit Court

    26th Judicial Circuit: Harlan Circuit Court

    28th Judicial Circuit: Lincoln, Pulaski & Rockcastle Circuit Courts

    30th Judicial Circuit: Jefferson Circuit Court

    33rd Judicial Circuit: Perry Circuit Court

    35th Judicial Circuit: Pike Circuit Court

    36th Judicial Circuit: Knott & Magoffin Circuit Courts

    38th Judicial Circuit: Butler, Edmonson, Hancock & Ohio Circuit Courts

    43rd Judicial Circuit:
    Mask Usage Order, Effective July 29, 2021
    Barren & Metcalfe Circuit and District Courts

    44th Judicial Circuit: Bell Circuit Court

    45th Judicial Circuit: McLean & Muhlenberg Circuit Courts

    47th Judicial Circuit: Letcher Circuit Court

    49th Judicial Circuit: Allen & Simpson Circuit, Family and District Courts

    50th Judicial Circuit: Boyle & Mercer Circuit Courts

    52nd Judicial Circuit: Graves Circuit Court

    53rd Judicial Circuit: Anderson, Shelby & Spencer Circuit Courts

    54th Judicial Circuit: Boone & Gallatin Circuit Courts

    55th Judicial Circuit: Bullitt Circuit, Family & District Courts


    Family Court

    4th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Hopkins Circuit, Family & District Courts

    9th Judicial Circuit, Family Division
    Hardin Family Court, Red Zone Protocol
    Hardin Cover Order
    Hardin General Protocol
    Hardin Family Court

    12th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Henry, Oldham & Trimble

    16th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Kenton Family Court

    22nd Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Fayette Family Court

    28th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Lincoln, Pulaski & Rockcastle Family Courts

    30th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Jefferson Family Court

    48th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Franklin Family Court

    49th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Allen & Simpson Circuit, Family and District Courts

    50th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Boyle & Mercer Family Courts

    55th Judicial Circuit, Family Division: Bullitt Circuit, Family & District Courts


    District Court

    3rd Judicial District: Christian District Court

    4th Judicial District: Hopkins Circuit, Family & District Courts

    8th Judicial District: Warren District Court

    9th Judicial District
    Hardin District Court, Red Zone Protocol
    Hardin Cover Order
    Hardin General Protocol
    Hardin District Court
    Hardin District Court Local Rules

    11th Judicial District: Green, Marion, Taylor & Washington District Courts

    12th Judicial District: Henry, Oldham & Trimble Circuit Courts

    14th Judicial District: Bourbon, Scott & Woodford District Courts

    15th Judicial District: Carroll, Grant & Owen District Courts

    17th Judicial District: Campbell District Court

    18th Judicial District: Harrison, Nicholas, Pendleton & Robertson District Courts

    22nd Judicial District: Fayette District Court

    28th Judicial District: Pulaski & Rockcastle District Courts

    30th Judicial District: Jefferson District Court

    33rd Judicial District: Perry District Court

    43rd Judicial District:
    Mask Usage Order, Effective July 29, 2021
    Barren & Metcalfe Circuit and District Courts

    44th Judicial District: Bell District Court

    49th Judicial District: Allen & Simpson Circuit, Family and District Courts

    53rd Judicial District: Anderson, Shelby & Spencer District Courts

    54th Judicial District: Boone & Gallatin District Courts

    55th Judicial District: Bullitt Circuit, Family & District Courts

    60th Judicial District: Cumberland & Monroe counties


    Oct. 29, 2020: Supreme Court issues guidelines for COVID precautions in ‘red zones’ as cases surge this fall and winter

    Aug. 28, 2020: Supreme Court announces amended orders related to in-person testimony and evictions

    Aug. 11, 2020: Supreme Court announces pilot project to reduce eviction cases in Jefferson County

    July 27, 2020: Supreme Court provides new guidance on staffing, access to court facilities, jury trials, evictions

    July 9, 2020: Supreme Court cancels in-person bar exams in 2020 as precaution during pandemic, announces remote bar exam Oct. 5-6

    July 2, 2020: Gov. Beshear issues orders allowing driver’s licenses to be renewed remotely through Sept. 30 and ending 90-day extension to renew licenses

    May 19, 2020: Supreme Court provides guidance on jury trials as courts plan to gradually expand operations starting June 1

    May 14, 2020: Chief Justice Minton announces cost-cutting measures for Judicial Branch

    May 1, 2020: Chief Justice Minton forms Reopening Task Forces to prepare courts to resume limited in-person services

    April 24, 2020: Supreme Court issues additional guidance on handling court matters during pandemic

    April 20, 2020: Supreme Court to hear arguments by videoconference April 22 due to COVID-19

    April 14, 2020: Supreme Court extends suspension of in-person court services through May 31, 2020

    April 1, 2020: Supreme Court suspends in-person services at court facilities, requires court proceedings to be conducted remotely through May 1

    March 31, 2020: Supreme Court order gives attorneys more time to complete continuing legal education for 2019-2020 educational year

    March 27, 2020: Supreme Court provides guidance for custody and parenting time orders during the pandemic

    March 26, 2020: Supreme Court issues new amendments to order limiting in-person court proceedings, extends restrictions to April 24

    March 17, 2020: Supreme Court issues new amendments March 17 to order restricting court proceedings during pandemic

    March 17, 2020: Driver’s license offices statewide closing for social distancing