(Special to Bay City News/New Africa)

Although San Francisco will lift indoor mask requirements for most settings later this month in line with state guidelines, San Francisco Superior Court officials said Friday masks will still be mandatory inside courts.

Earlier this week, state officials lifted the indoor mask requirements for unvaccinated people and schools, with city officials following suit and announcing indoor masks won’t be required inside city facilities beginning on March 18.

In spite of this, court officials said because the city’s court system is an independent state entity, it’s authorized to establish its own policies, set by the court’s executive committee and Presiding Judge Samuel Feng.

“The health and safety of the public remains our top priority,” Feng said in statement. “We will continue to monitor health and safety guidelines, but at this point we will proceed with caution and continue our policy of requiring masks for everyone who comes to our courts.”

The city two’s courthouses are located at 850 Bryant St. and 400 McAllister St.

According to court officials, those who refuse to wear a mask could be denied entry into a courthouse. Someone requesting an exemption to the rule would be required to make the request to a judge while in court.

City officials have said that although the city will lift mask mandates at city facilities like public libraries, recreation centers, department offices, City Hall, and other city facilities, masks will still be strongly encouraged.

Additionally, masks will still be required public hearings when in session, such as Board of Supervisors meetings. Such public meetings were only accessible virtually to the public since the start of the pandemic, but the public will once again be able to attend in-person meetings starting next week, according to city officials.