Buncombe County Courthouse Covid-19 Mask Requirements

The following administrative order was issued today, August 5, 2021:

This matter comes on before the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge and Chief District Court Judge of the 28th Judicial District, in exercise of their in-chambers jurisdiction, through the “inherent power the court [having] the authority to do all things that are reasonably necessary for the proper administration of justice” (Beard v. North Carolina State Bar, 320 N.C. 126, 129 (1987)) and pursuant to authority delegated by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. (This document is hereinafter referred to as this “Local Order of August 5, 2021”.)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now suggests that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in public spaces. Governor Cooper also urges everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear masks indoors. Buncombe County Public Health Director Stacie Saunders recommends that operators of indoor public spaces require face coverings regardless of vaccine status during this time of high transmission.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina in his May 10, 2021 Order recognized that “local courthouses are in the best position to address health and safety concerns.”

Given recent increases in positive COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-related hospitalizations, the predominance of the highly-transmissible Delta variant and the efficacy of masks in lowering transmission rates of COVID-19, masks will be required for all employees and visitors entering Buncombe County Court facilities.

Pursuant to the inherent authority of this Court and the authority delegated by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:


Each employee and visitor (unless exempt by reason of youth or medical status) entering any Buncombe County Court Facility shall be required to wear a face mask compliant with the specifications of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exceptions to this mandate may be made by any judicial officer acting in her/his discretion presiding over an individual proceeding.


All other mandates of this Court’s May 16, 2021 Order (attached hereto) will remain in effect, including guidelines for court operations and the continuation of certain provisions of the 28th Judicial District Jury Trial Resumption Plan.

This Order becomes effective immediately, this 5th day of August, 2021, and remains in effect until superseded by order of the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court or further order of the Court.

Honorable Alan Z. Thornburg, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge

Honorable J. Calvin Hill, Chief District Court Judge

Honorable Steven D. Cogburn, Clerk of Superior Court