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Pandemics & Legal Considerations

Pandemics & Legal Considerations

We are living in an unprecedented time, facing a virus that we cannot see whose impact is being felt across the globe. We are hearing advice from all corners (some good, some bad). Most of us are coping with daily life while trying to work from home, educate our children until online learning options are available or they return to their classrooms, and maintain physical distance from friends and loved ones. As we watch the news, it seems like the situation changes hourly. Knowing this is temporary and things will improve helps.

County, state and federal officials are working to manage and direct responses to the pandemic, and we see true heroes daily as most everyone pitches in to help. We thank the first responders, healthcare workers, truck drivers, delivery teams, and employees of essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies. There are other heroes behind the scenes taking small steps to help – from people donating blood to help address the blood shortage, to teachers checking in on their kids, to those checking daily on an elderly neighbor with no local family. There are too many to list here, but know we appreciate all of you.

We wanted to share some thoughts around the pandemic and these challenging times:

  1. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. The global scale of the pandemic should make us all recognize health or a long life are never guaranteed. If you do not have a will, advance directives, or other estate plans in place, now is an excellent time to take care of this vital task. Much of this work can be done virtually for everyone’s safety and protection.
  2. The North Carolina courts have postponed hearings and trials (with some exceptions). If you have a case pending, watch closely for a new date to be issued. If you are represented, your attorney will contact you. If not, follow-up with the clerk’s office so you do not miss a crucial hearing.
  3. While most people are truly trying to help, there are scammers out there attempting to take advantage of the public. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No one will knock or your door or email you a link to a free test kit. Doublecheck before you donate money to ensure the charity or cause is legitimate. Read 10 tips for avoiding fraud and scammers on the NCDOJ site. Report price gouging or scams to the NC Department of Justice (NDDOJ).
  4. With “shelter in place” orders in various NC counties, unnecessary travel is not recommended. Law enforcement officials have the authority to enforce these regulations, though it is not very likely they will do so unless the behavior is dangerous (i.e., don’t join a group of 100 friends at a closed public playground!).
  5. Take time to evaluate your goals. If you have been laid off (or even if you haven’t), consider signing up for online classes to learn new skills. Identify organizations where you can volunteer as we get back to a new normal. If a prior conviction has prevented you from getting the job you want, see if you qualify for an expungement under North Carolina law.

We hope everyone is staying safe and doing what they can to help their neighbors. As an essential business, our office will remain open for the time being. Check in on our COVID-19 update page or on our Facebook page for updates.

The attorneys at Brinkley Walser Stoner are here to meet your legal needs. Please give us a call at 336-249-2101 or email us to schedule an (virtual) appointment.