Chief Justice Cheri Beasley Extends COVID-19 Modifications to Court Operations

By Adam Banks

As most of you are painfully aware, it doesn’t appear that the coronavirus or the statewide coronavirus restrictions we have been living with since March are going away anytime soon.

Just this week, Gov. Cooper announced a new Executive Order to limit alcohol sales at restaurants after 11 p.m. Although it received much less media attention, this week also included a new Order from Chief Justice Beasley extending Emergency Directives 2-8 until August 28.

The new order simply extends current restrictions, but as a refresher, practitioners may expect the following modifications to court operations:

  • Minimization of crowding in courtrooms and emphasis on remote hearings;
  • No jury trials until October 1;
  • Enhanced social distancing and hygiene measures in courthouses;
  • Documents that ordinarily require a notary may be submitted with a signed statement under penalty of perjury;
  • Some documents may be served on another party by email;
  • Pending bond forfeitures are stayed until September 30; and
  • Filings submitted by mail are timely if received within 5 days of the due date.

Although not included in her order, the Chief Justice’s July 16 order mandated the wearing of face coverings in courthouses when interacting with others. For more information on the Chief Justice’s emergency directives, check the North Carolina Judicial Branch COVID-19 updates page.