The federal courthouse in McAllen will be closed to the public, according to an order signed Friday by U.S. District Judges Ricardo H. Hinojosa, Randy Crane and Micaela Alvarez.
Beginning April 6, “The United States Courthouse in McAllen, Texas (Bentsen Tower) will be closed to the public,” the order states.
“In an effort to protect the health and safety of the public, staff, and judicial officers from exposure to or spread” of the COVID-19 virus, the order states the courthouse will be closed to the public until further notice.
The order states that the U.S. District Courthouse will remain open for official business; with filings to continue to be processed in bankruptcy, civil, and criminal cases, both through the electronic case filing system, or via mail.
In addition, a lockbox will be established outside the front doors of the federal building where physical documents or payments can be deposited.
Though the courthouse will be closed to the public, the court remains open to federal officers, federal employees, attorneys scheduled to appear in court, defendants who have court appearances, litigants and contractors who work in the building will not be restricted from entry.
“Others may be permitted to enter on specific order of a presiding judge,” the document states. “… victims, family members, the public and the press who desire to attend a court hearing will be permitted to do so telephonically by contacting the chambers of the presiding judge and obtaining call-in instructions on the morning of any such hearing.”