Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County District Attorney

Dane County Circuit Court COVID-19 Operating Plan for In-Person Proceedings


On September 3, 2020, the Dane County Circuit Court published their Dane County Reopening Plan: COVID-19 Circuit Court Operating Plan for In-Person Proceedings. Below are highlights from the plan that are most relevant to victims and witnesses who may be attending proceedings in the courtroom. Click here to read the complete plan... 

Social Distancing Policies

  • All individuals entering the building will be required to wear a mask.

  • Adequate markings on the floor will instruct people where to stand while waiting to enter the building through weapons screening.

  • All persons not from the same household will be required to maintain adequate social distancing of at least 6 feet in the courthouse.

  • No more than two individuals not from the same household will be permitted in an elevator. If more than one individual from the same household is in an elevator, no other individuals will be permitted in the elevator. Masks will be required in all elevators.

  • The number of persons able to be present in the well of the courtroom is based upon the 6 foot distancing parameters established for each courtroom.

  • The committee may consider having all in-person hearings held in courtrooms on 1 or 2 floors of the courthouse to help with cleaning efforts if necessary.

Courtroom Gallery

  • The maximum number of persons permitted in the gallery of each courtroom has been determined by the presiding judge of that branch. The maximum capacity of the courtroom will be monitored and enforced by court staff.

  • The gallery of the courtrooms have been marked to identify appropriate social distancing in the seating as designated by the presiding judge. Seating is limited to every other row and must comply with social distance of 6 feet.

Courtroom Well

  • In each courtroom, the counsel tables, witness stand, judge’s bench, and clerk, court reporter, and bailiff seating will be arranged in such a way so that there is social distancing of at least 6 feet between each station; otherwise, Plexiglas barriers will be used.

Hygiene Policies

  • For appropriate sanitation/hygiene of frequently touched surfaces and hands of court participants, hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed at the entrances to the building, outside of elevators on each floor, and in each bathrooms. Hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 70% isopropanol or 60% ethanol, has been placed in the courtroom for use by attorneys, parties, and court personnel.

  • Disinfectant wipes or spray with towels have been placed in the courtrooms.

  • Flyers outlining appropriate hygiene, social distancing, or public safety have been posted in multiple locations on each floor of the court building.

Screening Policies

Posters will be placed in key locations before individuals enter the building instructing them not to enter the building if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. If they are required to appear in court, the appropriate court office will be immediately notified.

  • Individuals who are obviously sick will be refused admittance to the court building.
  • Inmates being transported from the jail to the court building will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Staff who are screening individuals entering the court building will be provided personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves and appropriate materials to clean their stations frequently.
  • Staff who are doing the screening will have a listing of court official phone numbers (including bench numbers) in order to notify the courts of individuals who may have been denied entrance.

Face Coverings Policies

  • All persons who are present in courtrooms and other court-related confined spaces shall wear face coverings (masks, not shields), unless a judge specifically determines on the record that is it necessary for a witness not to wear a face covering during the witness’s testimony in order for the judge to weigh the witness’s credibility. See Supreme Court Order dated May 22, 2020. Learn more about Dane County’s policy here

  • All individuals entering the courthouse are required to wear face coverings (surgical or cloth masks) at all times.

  • Individuals are encouraged to bring cloth face coverings with them, but if the individual does not have a cloth face covering, a disposable face mask will be provided.

Cleaning Policies

  • Court building cleaning staff will clean the common areas of the court building.

  • Court staff will clean the courtrooms between hearings. Attorneys may also be asked to assist after their hearing.

  • Court building cleaning staff and court staff have been provided cleaning supplies shown to be effective with this coronavirus.

  • Court building cleaning staff have been trained on proper cleaning techniques and provided appropriate personal protective equipment.

  • Employees should clean and disinfect their workstation, frequently touched surfaces (counter, fridges, copier, printer) several times a day.