On Jan. 14, N.C. Chief Justice Paul Newby issued emergency directives on COVID-19 which are effective immediately. The new order replaces the order issued on Dec. 14, 2020.
The new directives allow several previous emergency directives to expire including rescheduling in-person proceedings, discouraging court visits and in-person filings, prohibition of jury trials and jury trial resumption plan.
The following directives remain in effect without modifications:
- Persons likely exposed to COVID-19 should not enter the courthouse
- Verification of pleadings and other filings
- Continued performance of marriage ceremonies
- COVID-19 prevention measures
- Submission of filings to Clerk of Court
The following directives remain in effect with the following modifications:
- Remote proceedings: A party must have good cause when objecting to the use of remote audio and video transmissions in judicial proceedings.
- COVID-19 Coordinator: A COVID-19 Coordinator is tasked with ensuring that safety protocols and mandates are followed in court facilities.
- Extension of filing deadlines for mailed filings: Excludes pleadings and other documents filed in proceedings for forfeiture of bail bonds under Part 2 of Article 26 of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes.
- Face coverings in court facilities: Clarifies that face coverings may be removed to comply with direct requests from courthouse personnel. Judges may require jurors or witnesses to remove face coverings so that facial expressions can be observed. Any presiding judicial official in a trial or proceeding may order the removal of facial coverings.