The Supreme Court has authorized the summoning of new jury pools for possible in-person reporting for socially distanced jury trials. The modified summons documents will inform prospective jurors (1) that the jury selection process will begin in a virtual format; and (2) that their service may continue virtually or may involve reporting in person to a courthouse with safety precautions. The new “virtual or in-person” summons option will apply to jury pools scheduled to report on or after May 17, 2021.
The Judiciary is continuing to closely monitor relevant COVID-19 trends, including those in the COVID-19 Activity Level Index (CALI) weekly reports posted by the New Jersey Department of Health. The New York Times reports that as of March 1, 2021, the statewide 14-day average showed a 12% decrease in deaths and a 24% decrease in hospitalizations. Over that same period, new daily cases ticked up by 3%. NJ DOH is continuing to report more than 2500 new COVID-19 cases per day. Even that significant figure, however, is less than one-half of the number of new cases reported at the start of 2021.