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Rowan Court officials plan phased approach to court operations

SALISBURY — Rowan County court officials say they have a plan to begin a phased approach to expanding operations as part of the state judicial branch’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as keep the public and court employees safe.

Part of the plan, said Senior Superior Court Judge Anna Mills Wagoner, is to have hand sanitizer at every entrance of the courthouse and courtrooms as well as masks for those who request them.

The courtrooms and public areas of the courthouse will be cleaned throughout the day as part of the standard operating procedures. In addition, social distancing of at least 6 feet has been implemented and will continue to be enforced.

“We want the public to know that we have taken a number of safety precautions, implemented a number of safety measures, worked with local public health officials to make sure we are as safe as possible to conduct court business in Rowan County,” Wagoner said.

N.C. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley recently issued several orders designed to safely bring courts back to full operation.

“The North Carolina Judicial Branch continues to monitor the coronavirus situation throughout the state,” Beasley said. “We will continue to collaborate with state public health partners as well as North Carolina Emergency Management to closely monitor the situation to ensure the health and safety of our courts, judicial community and the public.”

Courts are operating with reduced capacity and many cases and filing deadlines have been put off or delayed. Wagoner said for the health and safety of the public, only those who have business with the court will be allowed inside the courthouse.

She said court will look different for a while and will include smaller court dockets. Courtrooms will be marked so that everyone can sit 6 feet apart.

Many hearings will be conducted without the parties or the attorneys ever coming into the courtrooms. The public is encouraged to wear a face cloth covering and wait outside until their case is called.

The Rowan County Courthouse hours of operation remain from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For the latest information regarding the status of the courts, visit nccourts.gov/covid-19.

Anyone with additional questions regarding court appearances are asked to call 704-797-3001 for district civil court, 704-797-3015 for district criminal, 704-797-3016 for superior civil court and 704-797-3053 for superior civil court or contact the attorney who represents you.

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