By Nathan Ham
North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced on Monday that all non-essential North Carolina Court proceedings will be postponed for 30 days due to the rising cases of COVID-19.
“In light of the recent surge of new COVID-19 cases in North Carolina and in our courts, this pause is necessary to protect the health and safety of our court personnel and the public,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “Throughout the pandemic, we have moved an unprecedented amount of court work online, including hearings. Those efforts will allow us to limit in-person proceedings for the next few weeks while making sure our courts stay available to serve the public.”
More than 80 counties are experiencing substantial or critical community spread of COVID-19. This recent surge in COVID-19 cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations have strained court operations. Since the onset of the pandemic, Judicial Branch officials and employees have reported 291 confirmed positive cases, and over half of North Carolina’s county courthouses have been partially or completely closed due to COVID-19.
“I am gravely concerned with the recent surge in positive cases, but with this new directive, I am confident that potential exposures will be significantly reduced if we work together to adhere to health and safety guidelines,” said Beasley.
For anyone with questions about their upcoming cases, Watauga County Clerk of Court Diane Cornett Deal says the best thing to do is to contact your attorney first or go to www.nccourts.gov/services to see their new court date.
“People are also welcome to give my office a call to request information about new court dates, but if they are represented by an attorney, that should be their first call,” said Deal.
Folks with traffic tickets can also visit www.nccourts.gov/services to find out the easiest way to handle those matters. For other issues, Deal says calling ahead to the Watauga County Courthouse is the best way to handle things.
“We are requesting that for Estate or Special Proceeding matters, you call ahead and speak to a staff member about making an appointment. We are all working hard to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and appreciate everyone working with us to limit in-person contact as much as possible,” said Deal.