SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The chief judge of the federal trial courts in the Northern District of California ordered Monday evening that federal courthouses will be closed to the public until May 1 and most court functions will be postponed or conducted telephone or video.

Chief U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said that because of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, federal court facilities in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and McKinleyville will be open only to people with official court business beginning on Tuesday.

No federal civil or criminal jury trials will be scheduled until May 1.

In criminal cases, initial appearances, bail hearings and arraignments and other proceedings before federal magistrates will continue, but will all be heard in San Francisco and will be conducted by telephone or videoconference when possible.

In civil cases, motions before the district judge assigned to a case will either be decided by the judge on the basis of the papers, without a hearing, or, if the judge thinks a hearing is necessary, a hearing will be conducted by telephone or videoconference.

Grand jury proceedings used to prepare indictments will be suspended until May 1.

The court district of Northern California includes the greater Bay Area and northern California coast from Monterey County on the south to Del Norte County on the north.

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