Floyd family attorneys Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci said the family was disappointed by the ruling.
“This has been a deeply painful and emotional year for every member of the Floyd family, many of whom intended to be in the courtroom to witness this trial,” they said in a statement. “While they understand the judge’s reasons to limit attendance in the courtroom, the family is understandably disappointed by this ruling.
“The family is looking forward to the start of the trial as a critical milestone on the path to justice and a step toward closure in this dark chapter of their lives.”
The ruling comes in the lead-up to one of the most anticipated criminal trials in years, set to begin March 8 with jury selection. The trial will be broadcast live for those not able to attend.
An earlier charge of third-degree murder against Chauvin was dropped by Judge Cahill, who ruled it did not apply to this situation. Prosecutors asked an appeals court on Monday to reinstate the charge, and a ruling is expected soon before the trial begins.
Monday’s ruling on courtroom attendance is just one of many ways that the pandemic has changed the court dynamics.
Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting 2nd-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They are expected to stand trial this summer.
In addition, everyone who attends the Chauvin trial will be required to distance from others and wear a mask, although witnesses and attorneys may remove their masks during testimony and other court statements, the ruling states.
CNN’s Deanna Hackney and Omar Jimenez contributed to this report.