Reopening of Courthouses and Resumption of In-Person Proceedings

Release Date: 
Thu, 07/01/2021

The Bankruptcy Court for the W.D. of Washington has entered General Order 21-03, providing for the resumption of in-person bankruptcy proceedings at the discretion of the assigned judge. The General Order follows U.S.District Court Order 10-21, which provides for the reopening of the courthouses to the public.

Reopening to the Public: Effective July 1, 2021, the Seattle and Tacoma federal courthouses will be open to the public with some restrictions as set forth in the District Court Order. Fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear a face covering or socially distance while in the courthouse. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet of social distance. All persons are asked not to enter the courthouses if they have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or have experienced any Covid-19 symptoms in the past 10 days. Maximum occupancy restrictions and specified traffic patterns are no longer necessary in the courthouses. 

In-Person Proceedings at the Discretion of the Assigned JudgeAs stated in General Order 21-03, effective July 1, 2021, at the discretion of the assigned judge, evidentiary hearings and trials may be conducted in person. Further, effective August 1, 2021, again at the discretion of the assigned judge, regularly scheduled motions calendars may be conducted in person.Telephonic appearances are to be requested in writing. Health and safety restrictions applicable in an individual courtroom are set at the discretion of the assigned judge. Parties are directed to the chambers procedures page of the assigned judge for further information as to each judge's preference in terms of in-person proceedings and telephonic appearance procedures.

Clerks' Office OperationsThe Clerk's offices in Seattle and Tacoma will resume providing in-person services at their intake counters effective August 1, 2021. Clerk's office staff continue to be available during business hours by phone, ECF help email and online chat. Unrepresented parties may file paper pleadings using the drop boxes located in the lobby of each courthouse. Parties are encouraged to make online payments, or send a money order or certified funds to the Clerk's office by mail.