After a slightly optimistic Spring and early Summer, where courthouse operations started to loosen and some normalcy teased on the horizon, COVID's Delta Variant and a scary increase in case numbers has shot us back into uncertainty and restriction. In fact, I was just sitting down to write a summary of a new Maricopa County order loosening social distancing and other restrictions in the courthouse when a new Administrative Order (2021-112), less than 48 hours later, crossed my desk. In the new order, issued today, the Court notes an unsettling upward trend in case numbers and returns to a 6' social distancing requirement inside Phoenix area courthouses. This is a county level directive, and I have not yet seen anything from Pima County or any of the others. But as I do, I will update.
In June, case numbers were the lowest they had been in over a year. Mid-month, the seven-day new case average hovered just under 400. But as July ends, the number approaches 1,400 new daily cases and is trending higher. The court's return to social distance restriction reflects this new reality.