Court postpones cases, events canceled
There have been several cancellations around the county due to the spread of the coronavirus in the state and the recent news by Gov. Roy Cooper discouraging gatherings of more than 100 people. As of Friday morning, there have been 17 known cases in the state, including three in the Charlotte area and one in Cabarrus County.
On Friday, North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced that, due to the virus, she is directing local courts to postpone most cases in district and superior court for at least 30 days. The directive goes into effect Monday.
“We will be doing our part to help slow the spread of coronavirus,” Beasley said. “We must be proactive in taking steps to prioritize the health and safety of our fellow North Carolinians while also maintaining the integrity of our judicial system. [Friday’s] order will allow us to drastically reduce the exposure caused by crowded sessions of court, which often bring hundreds of people at a time into our courthouses.”
The temporary cancellations, however, won’t apply to everything. Juvenile cases and emergency proceedings, like those related to domestic violence, will continue as planned, Beasley said, as will other proceedings that are constitutionally guaranteed to criminal defendants. First appearances and hearings for matters like bail, probable cause and probation will also go ahead as planned.
The emergency directive also doesn’t apply to any proceeding in which a jury or grand juries have already been selected, she said.
Also, any person who has been exposed to the virus will not be allowed inside the courthouse.
The virus has also affected worship services around the state.
The bishops of both N.C. conferences of the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina have asked their churches to cancel worship services and other public gatherings for the next two weeks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
In local news, per a Locust press release, the city is suspending all group gatherings and athletic activities as of March 13. The suspension will run through April 6 or until further notice.
All other Locust departments will operate as usual and City Hall will remain open during regular business hours.
The City of Albemarle has also suspended all programs and events of 100 or more people as well as athletic activities and facility rentals at Niven Center and Waddell Center effective March 13 through April 6.
Other local upcoming events that have been canceled include:
- On Point National Dance Competition, which was to take place Saturday and Sunday at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center. According to information from the Agri-Civic Center’s website, “We are working with event organizers to consider the possibility of rescheduling.”
- Vac & Dash’s Lucky Leprechaun 5K run, which was to take place at Locust Town Center on Sunday. Peter Asciutto said a future date will be announced.
- The Celebration of the ARTS, which was to take place at 9 a.m. March 21 at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center. The Stanly County Arts Council wrote in an email that “due to recommendations regarding large gatherings and the possible community spread of Covid 19, we believe it is in everyone’s best interest not to hold Celebration at this time.” The council did write that if possible the event would be rescheduled.
- A performance by The Embers, a popular beach band, which was to take place 7:30 p.m. March 21 at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center. It’s part of the Stanly County Concert Association’s season. Charlotte Maness, president of the SCCA, said there are discussions about the possibility of rescheduling the event. “This is a time in our country to stand together, act wisely, pray for solutions and the health of our world,” Maness said. The North Carolina-based band is known for its beach music, especially the song “I Love Beach Music.”
- Stanly County Chorale’s show for March 22 and March 24. The Chorale is considering its options.
- The 5th Annual BearCreek Bluegrass Festival scheduled for Saturday in Locust.
- Coffee and Conversation, an event through Atrium Health and the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce. “To help minimize the risk to the communities we serve during the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we have instituted new meeting, travel and community event restrictions,” Dan Fogleman, media relations representative for Atrium Health, said. “This new policy is consistent with the decisions being made by many local and national organizations in order to minimize risk and potential for exposure. As part of that, we have been cancelling community events, including Coffee and Conversation on March 21. We appreciate the community’s support and understanding as we work together to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19, and for helping us put our patients first, today and every day.”
Contact reporter Chris Miller at 704-982-2122.