EDMONTON -- Alberta courts will close to the general public to protect those in the justice system from COVID-19.

Beginning Monday, courts will close to everyone except for:

  • parties involved in litigation or appeals
  • lawyers
  • witnesses
  • interpreters
  • support staff and workers
  • media
  • those paying a fine or bail
  • people filing documents
  • those whose attendance has otherwise been approved by a judge.

Access to courthouses will be restricted "until further notice," Court of Queen's Bench said in a news release.

Lawyers are being asked to use expanded access to email and fax filing to reduce in-person traffic.

Dropboxes have also been set up for lawyers, court runners and litigants who need to file documents.

Courts will refuse anyone who has been advised to self-isolate or is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms.

It comes after the courts decided to only hear "emergency and urgent matters" in the system.

They've also started looking at remote technology for media trying to report on court cases while trying to practice proper physical distancing.