Court Operations during the COVID-19 Outbreak: Information about Hearings and Filings

Release Date: 
Fri, 03/04/2022

Updated March 4, 2022

In-Person Hearings Resume March 12, 2022, Face Mask Requirements are Lifted, and Clerk’s Office Public Lobbies and Intake Counters are Open.

  • In-Person Proceedings. Effective March 12, 2022, citing improving health and safety conditions related to COVID-19, the District Court for the W.D. Washington will lift restriction on in-person proceedings.  General Order 04-22. Trials, evidentiary hearings, and motions may proceed in-person at the discretion of the assigned judge. Visit the chambers web page for your assigned judge for additional information.
  • Face Coverings. Effective March 12, 2022, face masks will no longer be required for any person entering the courthouse. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. Courthouses are again open to the public for scheduled public events and tours.
  • Clerk’s Office Open to the Public. The bankruptcy clerk's offices in Seattle and Tacoma reopened their public lobbies and intake counters on March 1, 2022. In addition to providing in-person services, Clerk's office staff continue to be available during business hours by phone, ECF help email and online chat (link is external). Unrepresented parties may  submit documents using the Court’s electronic filing portal or  the drop boxes located in the lobby of each courthouse. Note that the Clerk’s office is no longer accepting cash. Parties can make online payments, or send a money order or certified funds to the Clerk's office by mail.

U.S. Trustee Program Extends Telephonic or Video Section 341 Meetings

The U.S. Trustee Program has extended the requirement that section 341 meetings be conducted by telephone or video appearance to all cases filed during the period of the President's "Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak" issued March 13, 2020, and ending on the date that is 60 days after such declaration terminates. However, the U.S. Trustee may approve a request by a trustee in a particular case to continue the section 341 meeting to an in-person meeting in a manner that complies with local public health guidance, if the U.S. Trustee determines that an in-person examination of the debtor is required to ensure the completeness of the meeting or the protection of estate property. This policy may be revised at the discretion of the Director of the United States Trustee Program.  

Signature Requirements

The Court’s general order adopting interim procedures to clarify the need for a physical signature under Local Bankruptcy Rule 5005-1(d)(2) remains in effect until further order. General Order 2020-3 allows ECF filers to use digital software and other alternatives to demonstrate a signor's consent to a document prior to its electronic filing.