Chief Justice mandates face coverings in N.C. courthouses, delays jury trials

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley briefs reporters. Photo via Chief Justice Cheri Beasley

RALEIGH – Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued new emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. The new directives require the wearing of face coverings inside county courthouses and continue to delay jury trials, now through the end of September.  

“I have issued several emergency directives calculated to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina’s communities,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “Consistent with the governor’s recommendations and the clear guidance of public health experts, requiring face coverings in courthouses is necessary to keep our courts open while protecting court personnel and the public.”

Included in the new directives are requirements for each senior resident superior court judge to develop comprehensive plans for the eventual safe resumption of jury trials in their districts. The plans must include lining up alternate facilities, a plan for summoning and excusing jurors, social distancing in the courtroom for all court participants, and daily screening of jurors, court personnel, attorneys, witnesses, and parties for potential exposure or infection.