coronavirus vaccine

Judges, Bailiffs, Employees Get Covid Vaccine Shots at Miami Courthouse

Officials say it could be first step toward more in-person proceedings

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Judges, bailiffs and courthouse staff were able to get their COVID-19 vaccines in front of the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building in Miami Wednesday morning.

Miami-Dade County officials have been pushing for workplace vaccines for the courthouse employees, which could mean they're one step closer to returning to in-person hearings and legal proceedings.

"It was very convenient because a lot of us can’t go to the other building, it was very convenient for me here," employee Travis Cecil said.

Cecil was one of nearly 130 who received vaccine shots Wednesday.

Charlie Woodson, a bailiff at the building, said he's been waiting his turn to get the shot, wondering when he wuld be eligible. He said he was told last week that courthouse staff would have the vaccines brought to them.

"I was extremely worried, and then because of my age it would be a while before I was able to receive the vaccine and then to hear that it's only one shot that I could receive, I was very excited," Woodson said.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Kionne McGhee has been pushing for the vaccine rollout for staff to provide safety in the courtroom for judges and bailiffs who have been working day-in and day-out.

Chief Judge-Elect Nousin Sayfie said the building has been open, with people coming in person, despite the request for online hearings.

"Even though the public was told not to come to the courthouse they still show up and we’ve been trying to take care of the needs of the public and our bailiffs have been here selflessly all day every day doing that since the very beginning," Sayfie said.

Sayfie said that with more vaccine rollouts in South Florida, plus the staff receiving vaccines, they could be one step closer to returning to the way things were before Covid, with more in-person hearings.

"We’re following the signs so we’re not going to open up until they tell us it’s ok to open up but certainly think just watching the news and listening to the doctors, vaccines are going to go a long way to getting us there," Sayfie said. "So if we didn’t have this day we wouldn’t have been able to get even close to opening so I think this will put us on the right track."

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