Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Alma L. Hinton and Chief District Court Judge Brenda G. Branch have signed an order which calls for the reopening of courts on June 1.
In the document the judges acknowledge that social distancing and safety measures will likely remain in effect after the court operations begin expanding.
The judges said the reopening guidelines are in accordance with orders from Governor Roy Cooper as well as directives from the chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court regarding superior and district courts in the 6A and 6th Judicial Districts.
“The goal of these guidelines is to conduct effective and efficient court sessions and to dispose of as many cases as possible while maintaining the highest state of safety as possible,” the judges said.
The guidelines are as follows:
At all times, social distancing shall be observed while in the courthouse and attendees should remain 6 feet apart from others.
All persons are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth while inside the courthouse and courtrooms. No face coverings that depict or promote profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, violence or the use of illegal drugs will be allowed.
All persons are strongly encouraged to allow temperature checks by healthcare personnel upon request. Any person seeking entry to the courthouse who presents with a fever or any other symptom associated with COVID-19 may be asked to immediately wait until limited people are on the courthouse premises.
All persons are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the hand sanitizing stations upon entering the courthouse and courtrooms.
Upon entering the courtrooms, sit only in the places that are marked or at the direction of the bailiff or any other authorized court personnel.
Those who are not a victim, witness, or defendant, are strongly encouraged to wait outside until you are notified that the case in which you have an interest is being called. Then you may enter the courtroom. Immediately after the case has been heard, promptly leave the courtroom and exit the courthouse.
All judges, district attorneys, defense attorneys, clerks, security, law enforcement, courthouse maintenance staff and others involved in any court session operating under these guidelines should communicate freely and regularly, both prior to and during sessions, to help the court process move smoothly, efficiently, and safely.