Santa Clara County Courthouse in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 6, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

Presiding Judge Theodore C. Zayner ordered public counters closed Wednesday at Santa Clara County Superior Court and limited public access inside the courthouse through the end of January.

Effective immediately, the order cited the sharp rise of COVID-19 cases within the county and its impact on staffing levels at the court.

“Our Court is experiencing a significant number of employee absences, creating staffing shortages across all departments of the Court,” Zayner said. “I want to strongly emphasize that these measures have become necessary due to diminished staffing levels, and not for lack of safety, healthy or sanitary conditions within the courthouses themselves. We appreciate your patience through this challenging time during what we anticipate will include temporary limitations upon in-person courthouse access.”

According to a news release issued Wednesday afternoon by the court, courthouse access is limited to the following:

– Persons appearing in person for a court hearing. This will generally include and be limited to parties, their attorneys, witnesses subpoenaed to testify, jurors and other persons who may be present in the courtroom.

– Persons appearing to submit a pleading in person for filing with the court may enter only to place the pleading in the drop box and must leave afterward.

– Persons seeking assistance with the following will be permitted to enter the Family Justice Center Courthouse and will be permitted access to the Self-Help Center/Restraining Order Help Center: pleadings related to the prevention of domestic violence, gun violence, civil harassment, elder or dependent abuse, workplace violence, school violence, and juvenile dependency restraining orders; pleadings requesting emergency child custody and visitation orders or child safety issues; pleadings requesting emergency guardianships; and pleadings related to evictions, restricted to emergencies.

No other persons are permitted entry without good cause, including access to the Clerk’s Offices and public restrooms. The Court will continue to process e-filing documents.