Burlington theatre to be used for jury pools

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — Envision the Paramount Theatre as a court.

“We have the space to be able to do the social distancing, and we have the equipment to disinfect the building twice a day,” said David Wright, the managing director of Paramount Theatre.

The space on the stage will have tables for judges and attorneys, and the seats where the audience sits will be filled with jurors spaced out at least 6 feet apart.

“It is a case of the greater good and what is more important,” Wright said.

A week ago, jury trials started up in Alamance County at the Historical Courthouse in Graham.

Seating is limited and cases are a bit back-logged because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We really feel it’s been a good partnership to make sure we’ve been able to get these court proceedings here, get them done safely and get our community’s wheels turning again,” said Morgan Lasater, the Burlington community engagement manager.

Alamance County and City of Burlington leaders have been talking for months about transforming the theatre into a courtroom, and it is a cost-effective way to speed things up.

“This won’t cost the city any additional dollars to operate other than staff time,” Lasater said.

It’s also a way to ensure everyone is safe.

“This will be new for our city and a good first step to thinking about how we can start using our spaces safely,” Lasater said.

The city council meets at 7 p.m. Click here for a link to view the meeting.

You can be phoned in by dialing (312) 626-6799. The Meeting ID is 896 8872 4096.

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