COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Find COVID-19 announcements, FAQs, and more.

Help Us Keep the Public and Our Staff Safe

Courts are operating with reduced capacity. By order of the Chief Justice, only people with business at the courthouse will be allowed to enter. Masks or face coverings are required. Filings are encouraged to be mailed and will be treated as timely if received by mail within 5 days of the due date. You may be able to handle your ticket or citation through our online services. You can also sign up there for text and email reminders about your court date.

Check your county's information for changes to hours of operations, remote hearings, announcements, and more. If you need additional information, contact the clerk of superior court office before going to the courthouse. Find updates for the Supreme CourtCourt of Appeals, and Business Court. View the Webex - Remote Proceedings for the Public (training resource).

Announcements and Orders

Many court operations have been modified by orders of the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court. While a summary is provided below, you should read the applicable order for details that might affect your case. See the orders below.

The following emergency directives from the April 9, 2021 order will remain in effect and unchanged:

  • Emergency Directive 2 (persons likely exposed to COVID-19 should not enter the courthouse)
  • Emergency Directive 3 (remote proceedings)
  • Emergency Directive 5 (verification of pleadings and other filings)
  • Emergency Directive 14: (submission of filings to the clerk of court)

The following emergency directives from the April 9, 2021 order will remain in effect with modifications:

  • Emergency Directive 11 (COVID-19 coordinator)
    • As amended, this directive expressly allows each senior resident superior court judge, in consultation with local health officials, to ensure that proper safety protocols are being followed. It clarifies that such protocols may include social distancing requirements.
  • Emergency Directive 15 (extension of filing deadlines for mailed filings)
    • Although this directive has not changed substantively, it now includes a statement that it will not be renewed following the expiration of the new order.
  • Emergency Directive 21 (face coverings in court facilities)
    • This directive continues to require persons to wear face coverings in the common areas of court facilities.  It does not address face coverings in other parts of court facilities, leaving that issue to the informed discretion of local court officials.

The following emergency directives from the April 9, 2021 order do not appear in the new order and will expire on May 9, 2021.

  • Emergency Directive 8 (continued performance of marriage ceremonies)
    • The performance of marriage ceremonies will no longer be governed by emergency orders.  
  • Emergency Directive 12 (required COVID-19 prevention measures)
    • The new order will not impose a statewide social distancing mandate for court facilities. Instead, decisions about social distancing measures will be left to the informed discretion of local judicial officials as provided in Emergency Directive 11.

Orders

Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2, 3, 5, 11, 14, 15, 21   May 7, 2021 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21   April 9, 2021 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21   March 12, 2021 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21   February 12, 2021 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extension of Time in Bail Bond Forfeiture Proceedings   January 29, 2021 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 21   January 14, 2021 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extension of Time in Bail Bond Forfeiture Proceedings   December 31, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2–5, 8–15, 18, and 20–22   December 14, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extension of Time in Bail Bond Forfeiture Proceedings   November 30, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2–5, 8–15, 18, and 20–22   November 16, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2–5, 8–15, 18, and 20–22   October 15, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extension of Time in Bail Bond Forfeiture Proceedings   September 30, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2–6, 8–15, 18, and 20–22   September 15, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2-6, 8, 18, and 22   August 24, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 9-15, 20-22   August 15, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2-8   July 29, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directive 18 Regarding Summary Ejectment Cases   July 24, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 9-15, 20   July 20, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Issuing Emergency Directives 21 and 22   July 16, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2 to 8   June 29, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 18   June 29, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 9 to 16   June 20, 2020 Order | Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Issuing Emergency Directive 20   June 20, 2020 Order  | Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 17 to 19 for Staying all Pending Evictions and Establishing New Mediation Program   May 30, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending and Modifying Emergency Directives 2 to 8   May 30, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Time and Periods of Limitation for Filing Notice of Appeal   May 30, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Filing Deadlines   May 21, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 9 to 16   May 21, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Supreme Court Modifying Certain Rules of Practice and Continuing Judicial Education   May 14, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 1 to 8 until May 30   May 1, 2020   |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directive to Resume Marriage Ceremonies   April 16, 2020
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Filing and Court-Related Deadlines   April 13, 2020   |  
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 1 to 7 Postponing Court Proceedings Until June 1   April 2, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Supreme Court Extending Appellate Court Deadlines   March 27, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Court System Deadlines   March 19, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 1 to 2   March 13, 2020 Order  |  Spanish

 
Find and search all local orders, rules, and forms
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Scam Alert

We have received reports of the "jury duty scam" taking place in counties. The caller identifies himself or herself as a member of the sheriff’s office, informs the victim that they have failed to appear for jury duty, explains that the clerk’s office has issued an order for their arrest, and advises the victim they can resolve the situation and avoid arrest by paying a large amount of money using a credit or prepaid debit card.

THIS IS A SCAM! If you receive such a call, simply hang up and do not stay on the phone. Learn more.

COVID-19: County Updates

Find county announcements and administrative orders regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19: FAQs

Find frequently asked questions about court during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: NCAOC Guidance to Court Personnel

Find NCAOC guidance to court officials concerning the court system’s response to COVID-19.

County Updates

Find the latest COVID-19 updates by county, including orders, changes to hours of operations, remote hearings, announcements, and more.

Also, see the closings and advisories page where some changes in local court sessions may be reported. Counties provide information, administrative orders, and more on the county's pages. Be sure to check both during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find and search all local orders, rules, and forms.

General Frequently Asked Questions

Spanish | Preguntas frecuentes

If you have a question about your court case, please first view the county's pages in which the case is filed for any local announcements, as well as the closings and advisories page, then if needed contact the clerk of superior court office. You may find other helpful information about the court system’s response and announcements above.

The Judicial Branch cannot provide legal advice or address actions by individuals or entities that do not involve the courts or the impact of orders issued by the Chief Justice. Individuals who need legal advice about rights and remedies under the law should seek the advice of an attorney.Are the courts ordering evictions? The stay of summary ejectment and eviction actions pending in the trial divisions in Emergency Directive 17 issued by the Chief Justice in a May 30th order has expired. Trials in small claim actions seeking possession of real property were allowed to resume on Monday, June 22nd, subject to other Emergency Directives issued to ensure safety protocols such as social distancing. Review COVID-19 information for landlords and tenants from the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center.

Are the courts open to victims of domestic violence? North Carolina courts remain open, and protective orders are being processed. Victims of domestic violence in Alamance, Brunswick, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Onslow, Orange, Rockingham, Rowan, or Wake counties can file online with the help of a local domestic violence service provider.

What if a parent is out of work due to COVID-19 and child support payments are due? You should seek the advice of an attorney. If the NC IV-D agency (North Carolina Child Support Enforcement Agency) is involved in the case, contact Child Support Services to determine if a review is appropriate.

What happens to upset bids during this time? All sales of real property subject to an upset bid period continue to be subject to upset bids. Please note that some clerk’s offices are operating with limited staff and hours. Please plan accordingly. (Note: Emergency Directive 15 in the Chief Justice’s order entered on June 20, which currently expires on July 20, applies to filings, including upset bids, submitted to the Clerk of Superior Court by U.S. Mail.)

Does the Chief Justice’s Emergency Directive allow court reporters to take oaths remotely in depositions? The Chief Justice’s Emergency Directive temporarily waives the requirement for an oath to be administered in a deposition. The directive states, “When it is required that an oath be taken . . . it shall be sufficient if the subscriber affirms the truth of the matter to be verified. . .” The directive does not waive the in-person requirement for taking of oaths or conducting other notarial acts.

Do I have to have documents notarized? The Chief Justice’s Emergency Directive allows documents to be filed without a notary if the following statement appears on the document instead.

“I (we) affirm, under the penalties for perjury, that the foregoing representation(s) is (are) true. (Signed) ___________________”

Jury Service Frequently Asked Questions

Jury Service During COVID-19 FAQs (PDF)

Why are the courts summoning jurors during a pandemic?

Article I, Section 18 of the North Carolina Constitution provides that “[a]ll courts shall be open” and that “justice shall be administered without favor, denial, or delay.” The Judicial Branch must fulfill this mandate in ways that prioritize and protect the health and safety of judicial officials, employees, and the public.

Effective January 14, 2021, Chief Justice Paul Newby authorized jury trials to resume statewide in district and superior court. Local judicial officials have the authority to determine when and how jury trials may resume while considering the COVID-19 conditions in their respective districts. Local judicial officials have been urged to use caution and consult with their local health directors and COVID-19 protocols that have been adopted by the State, and by the counties and municipalities in which they operate.

What safety precautions are being taken at the courthouse to protect jurors?

As jury trials resume, local judicial officials have been urged to use caution and consult with local health directors and COVID-19 protocols adopted by the State, and by the counties and municipalities in which they operate. The Chief Justice has ordered that each senior resident superior court judge shall serve as or designate a COVID-19 Coordinator for each facility in his or her district. The COVID-19 Coordinator shall ensure that relevant safety protocols and mandates are being followed within the court facility.

The senior resident superior court judge must also ensure that:

  • intervals of at least 6 feet in every direction are marked with tape or other visible markers in all areas where the public is expected to congregate or wait in line;
  • the maximum allowable occupancy of each courtroom or meeting space is established such that all persons who must sit or stand in such space may observe social distancing of at least six feet in every direction;
  • the established maximum occupancy is prominently posted at the entrances to each courtroom or meeting space;
  • hand sanitizer is, at a minimum, available at the entry and exit of the facility and, preferably, at all high touch areas of the facility including doorways, service counters, stairwells, and elevators; and
  • all areas accessed by the public are cleaned daily and that high touch areas are cleaned periodically throughout the day.

All persons who are in a court facility are required to wear a face covering while they are in common areas and when they are or may be within 6 feet of another person. Some counties have installed plexiglass to serve as a barrier and are taking temperatures of anyone who enters the court facility. Notices have been posted at the entrance to each court facility directing that any person who has likely been exposed to COVID-19 should not enter the courthouse. Attorneys and litigants are encouraged to submit filings by mail rather than in person.

Visit your county’s page to view any local orders regarding specific procedures. See the Judicial Branch COVID-19 page for more information and emergency directives.

I am considered a high-risk individual for COVID-19 and I have been summoned for jury service. Do I have to appear?

Contact the clerk of superior court in the county where you have been summoned for juror excuse policy information or refer to your juror summons for information related to requesting an excuse.

I live with a person / I am a caretaker for a person who is a high-risk individual for COVID-19 and I have been summoned for jury service. Do I have to appear?

Contact the clerk of superior court in the county where you have been summoned for juror excuse policy information or refer to your juror summons for information related to requesting an excuse.

Do I have to wear a mask at the courthouse?

Yes. All persons who are in a court facility are required to wear a face covering while they are in common areas and when they are or may be within 6 feet of another person. In this context, a face covering means “a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face.” A face shield may be used in addition to, but not as a substitute for, a face covering. A “face shield” means an item of personal protective equipment that consists of a plastic barrier, usually attached to a helmet or headband, that shields the wearer’s face from splashes, coughs, or sneezes. A notice advising of this requirement will be posted at the entrance to the court facility in each county.

This face covering requirement does not apply to persons who cannot wear a face covering due to health or safety reasons, who are actively eating or drinking, who are communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible, who are temporarily removing their face covering to secure medical services or for identification purposes, who are complying with a directive from law enforcement or court personnel, or who are under the age of 5. It also does not apply to a juror or witness who has been ordered by a presiding judicial official to temporarily remove a mask while answering questions or testifying during a jury trial.

During a jury trial, the presiding judicial official may order a juror answering questions during voir dire or a testifying witness to remove his or her face covering so that facial expressions may be observed. Face coverings removed for this purpose may only be removed while the juror or witness is actively speaking and only if he or she is 6 feet or more away from any other person. The presiding judicial official may, upon a showing of good cause and after consideration of all appropriate health concerns, exempt a criminal defendant from the requirement to wear a face covering during his or her jury trial.

Will a mask be provided if I do not have one?

The availability of masks will vary according to the policies established by local judicial officials in each county / district.

Do I need to bring my own hand sanitizer?

The Chief Justice has ordered the senior resident superior court judge, for each facility in his or her district, to ensure that hand sanitizer be made available, at a minimum, at the entry and exit of the facility and preferably at all high touch areas of each facility, including doorways, service counters, stairwells, and elevators. Please be aware security policies may prevent you from entering the courthouse if you have your own sanitizer. Please contact the local facility before appearing for court.

If I am selected, how will the jury pool be seated to ensure social distancing?

The Chief Justice has ordered the senior resident superior court judge, for each facility in his or her district, to ensure that: intervals of at least six feet in every direction are marked with tape or other visible markers in all areas where the public is expected to congregate or wait in line; the maximum allowable occupancy of each courtroom or meeting space is established such that all persons who must sit or stand in such space may observe social distancing of at least 6 feet in every direction; and the established maximum occupancy is prominently posted at the entrances to each courtroom or meeting space.

If selected for a jury, will jurors be seated in a small room to deliberate?

The Chief Justice has ordered the senior resident superior court judge, for each facility in his or her district, to ensure that intervals of at least six feet in every direction are marked with tape or other visible markers in all areas where the public is expected to congregate or wait in line. Additionally, the senior resident superior court judge must ensure the maximum allowable occupancy of each courtroom or meeting space is established such that all persons who must sit or stand in the space may observe social distancing of at least 6 feet in every direction. If you have additional questions, contact the local facility before appearing for court.

How long will the trial last?

Trial lengths may vary by the policies established by the local judicial officials in each county / district.

How long will I be in court each day?

This may vary by the policies established by the local judicial officials in each county / district.

What should I do if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms prior to my jury service date?

Do not appear at the courthouse to report your symptoms. If you begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms prior to your jury service date, please inform the clerk of superior court in the county where you were summoned by phone.

What should I do if I experience COVID-19 symptoms during my jury service?

If you begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms during your period of jury service while at the court facility, please inform the nearest court official (e.g., clerk, bailiff).

What should I do if I have concerns about the safety measures in the courthouse or if I feel safety precautions are not being followed?

If at any time during your jury service you are concerned about your health or safety due to a lack of safety measures or because guidelines are not being followed (e.g., social distancing is not being practiced, there is no hand sanitizer at the courthouse entrance), please bring your concerns to the attention of the judge, the clerk, or the bailiff to be addressed.

NCAOC Guidance to Court Personnel

Find NCAOC guidance to court officials concerning the court system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  

Judicial Branch COVID-19 Task Force

Find information, meetings, and working groups of the Judicial Branch COVID-19 Task Force tasked with recommending emergency directives and policy changes related to the COVID-19 health emergency.