North Carolina courts are bracing for continued Covid-19 spikes through the winter by delaying all non-essential and in-person proceedings for 30 days, starting Monday.
“This pause is necessary to protect the health and safety of our court personnel and the public,” Chief Justice Cheri Beasley said in a press release. “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.”
Court operations are strained by the recent rise in cases, percent positivity and hospitalizations, according to the release.
Eleven courthouses in the state have closed this week.
Across North Carolina, the number of counties classified as “red” or “orange,” indicating they’re experiencing substantial or critical levels of Covid-19 spread, has more than doubled in recent weeks.
New Hanover County is still in the “yellow” category as of Dec. 8, meaning it has a significant community spread with a 7.6% positivity rate (although, that has now jumped to 10.2%). Brunswick and Pender counties are in worse conditions, according to the alert system — both are in an “orange” state.
The chief justice is expected to enter an order in the coming days to implement the postponement and renew emergency directives.
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