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The Supreme Court in Melbourne.

The Supreme Court in Melbourne.Credit:Vince Caligiuri

“This practice is a further measure towards providing a safe workplace for everyone working in, and coming into, Victoria’s courts and tribunal,”the statement said.

“The courts and VCAT continue to operate largely through virtual hearings which do not require people to physically attend court.”

“The health and safety of judicial officers, staff and court users remains of the highest priority as Victoria faces increasing community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).”

It comes as the courts suspended plans to restart jury trials after a surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne prompted the Andrews government to reimpose strict lockdown restrictions.

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On Wednesday, State Coroner John Cain told a directions hearing that there were new policies in place that require everyone in the precinct to wear masks.

He said the only rare exceptions would be those in court rooms where 1.5 metres of separation could easily be achieved.

“It’s our strong preference that wherever possible, parties appearing attend by the remote platform WebEx,” Mr Cain said.

“Where it’s not possible to attend remotely, anybody attending the court in person will be required to wear a mask in the court precinct with some limited exceptions within the court.

“It is going to become, in the next phase, the operating environment in which we work in this court.”

On Wednesday morning, Protective Services Officers could still be seen not wearing masks in the Supreme Court hallway but security staff were requiring people to use them on their way into the building.

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