Courts ordered closed until June 1 due to COVID-19

Gianna Holiday, Associate News Editor

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley postponed all court proceedings until June 1 on Friday.

Beasley’s order stated that all court proceedings will be postponed for a second time to June 1 or later. It directs clerks of court to post notices at court facilities discouraging entry by those who may be infected with COVID-19.

However, it does authorize court proceedings to be conducted remotely through audio and video means of communication.

The order allows the use of a sworn statement in place of notarization for court filings and oaths and allows the service of court documents by email. 

The deadline for payments of most fines and fees will be extended by 90 days and directs clerks not to report failures to pay court debt to the DMV.

“This postponement applies to court in Watauga County and staff are working diligently to postpone current cases,” Deron Geouque, county manager said in a Watauga County press release. “If you have a current case, you will be notified of a new postponed court date.”

Geouque encourages the public to visit NCcourts.gov for additional information or call the Watauga County Clerk’s Office.

Several services can be handled online including citation services, paying tickets, court payments, signing up for court date notifications and reminders, eFiling court documents for certain courts, and case types and more.

Attorneys and others without business before the court should avoid court facilities.

“We are encouraging people to stay home and comply with Governor Cooper’s Executive Order, especially if you are sick or at high risk of severe illness with COVID-19,” Jennifer Greene, health director for AppHealthCare, said in the release.

Those who are at high risk for COVID-19 are instructed to stay home to the greatest extent possible to reduce the chance of infection.