Ask Us: When will front entrance to courthouse reopen?
Published 1:54 pm Monday, June 14, 2021
Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SALISBURY — Around the time the COVID-19 pandemic spread to the United States, the Rowan County Courthouse closed its front doors and re-routed people to the side entrance on Liberty Street.
A reader asked if there are plans to open the front entrance in the near future.
The courthouse entrances and security is handled by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. Maj. John Sifford said the entrance will likely be reopened in July, but added that the Sheriff’s Office is still evaluating exactly how to proceed with reopening the doors.
In addition to asking courthouse visitors to enter the building through the Liberty Street access point, the Sheriff’s Office also installed a temperature-monitoring tunnel at the entrance. The temperature-checking tunnel was one of several measures taken by the courthouse to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office is also evaluating the placement of the temperature-checking tunnel.
As the pandemic has eased, courts across the state have rolled back safety procedures in accordance with guidance provided by N.C. Chief Justice Paul Newby. Since Superior Court Judge Anna Mills Wagoner retired last month, Clerk of Court Jeff Barger has overseen the courthouse’s COVID-19 response.
Masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated individuals in the Rowan County courthouse, but other pandemic precautions such as plexiglass barriers in courtrooms and socially-distanced jurors are still in place and will be for the foreseeable future, Barger said. Presiding judges have authority over mask-wearing in their courtrooms.
“Right now we’re still trying to limit the number of people in the courtroom at one time,” Barger said. “Court has resumed back to pretty much normal, but we are still trying to be cognizant of the social distancing too. We’re still trying to be safe.”