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Court officials in Judicial District 6 which is made up of Bertie, Halifax, Hertford, and Northampton counties have announced today that district court is postponed for non-essential, in-person court proceedings for the next 30 days in compliance with Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s latest directive. The closings were effective beginning today.

The judges’ schedule will remain as is and the judges will conduct their court remotely or at their discretion as needed. 

All criminal and civil district court proceedings, unless otherwise addressed, will be rescheduled for a later time.

Any questions can be directed to the clerk of superior court:

Bertie: 252-794-6800

Halifax: 252-593-3000

Hertford: 252-358-7100

Northampton: 252-574-3100  

The courthouses and clerks of superior court’s offices remain open. 

“In light of the recent surge of new COVID-19 cases in North Carolina and in our courts, this pause is necessary to protect the health and safety of our court personnel and the public,” said Beasley in a press release today. “Throughout the pandemic, we have moved an unprecedented amount of court work online, including hearings. Those efforts will allow us to limit in-person proceedings for the next few weeks while making sure our courts stay available to serve the public.”

In recent weeks, the number of North Carolina counties categorized as red or orange by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has more than doubled. 

More than 80 counties are experiencing substantial or critical community spread of COVID-19. This recent surge in COVID-19 cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations has strained court operations. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, judicial branch officials and employees have reported 291 confirmed positive cases, and over half of North Carolina's county courthouses have been partially or completely closed due to COVID-19. 

Eleven of the courthouse closures have occurred in this week alone.

Community spread of COVID-19 is expected to peak through the winter, and it is imperative that court operations remain as limited as possible through the next 30 days. Fortunately, court operations are typically reduced through the end of the calendar year even under normal conditions. With few jury trials scheduled and courts conducting many proceedings remotely, the impact on court dockets should be minimal.

“I am gravely concerned with the recent surge in positive cases, but with this new directive, I am confident that potential exposures will be significantly reduced if we work together to adhere to health and safety guidelines,” said the chief justice. 

The Chief Justice is expected to enter an order in the coming days to renew existing Emergency Directives and implement the Emergency Directive announced today.