FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2020
City of Charlottesville, along with most of the Commonwealth, enters into the first phase of Governor Ralph Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - As of 12 a.m. Friday, May 15, 2020, the City of Charlottesville, along with most of the Commonwealth, entered into the first phase of Governor Ralph Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
GOVERNOR NORTHAM’S EXECUTIVE ORDER 61
Under the Governor’s Phase One: Safer-at-Home strategy, the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people and recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and wearing face coverings will continue. In addition:
- All businesses should make modifications to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitization of high-contact surfaces, and provide enhanced workplace safety measures.
- Retail establishments are allowed to operate at 50 percent occupancy; restaurant and beverage establishments may offer outdoor dining at 50 percent occupancy; personal grooming services may begin operating with one patron per service provider; fitness centers may offer outdoor exercise services; and campgrounds may begin taking reservations for short-term stays.
- Places of worship may hold indoor services at 50 percent capacity and continue drive-in services.
- Entertainment and public amusement venues will remain closed, and beaches will continue to be open only for exercise and fishing. Childcare centers remain open for children of working families. Overnight summer camps will remain closed in Phase One.
- Phase One Specific Guidelines for All Business Sectors (PDF) and Religious Services (PDF).
CITY’S RESPONSE TO PHASE ONE
The City recognizes the considerable impact the COVID-19 crisis continues to have on businesses activity. During the reopening process the City will continue to permit the dedicated “curbside pickup” on-street parking spaces that are signed and scattered throughout the city. These spaces allow 15-minute convenient access for retail and restaurant pickups. The City will assist with signage to encourage social distancing for customers choosing to dine outdoors. In addition, the City will continue a relaxed approach to the enforcement of temporary business signs unless there is a concern for public health or safety. The City’s Office of Economic Development encourages local business owners to visit their website for more information and links to helpful resources.
While the Governor’s Safer-at-Home order provides for city businesses and organizations to ease restrictions gradually, the Charlottesville Police Department encourages business owners and patrons to comply with the Governor’s guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our community.
“The Charlottesville Police Department will continue to focus on educating the public and businesses about potential violations of the Governor’s latest executive order,” said Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney. “We strongly encourage the public to use facial coverings while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. By doing so, our communities will be able to socially and safely reconnect, as we balance public safety with public health.”
Questions about specific business practices may be directed to the Thomas Jefferson Health District’s hotline at (434) 972-6261. Should the public have any other concerns regarding potential violations, they may call the Regional Emergency Communications Center’s non-emergency line at (434) 977-9041.
CITY OPERATIONS UPDATE
The City is committed to serving our residents and customers during Phase One of the Governor’s order and will continue to follow the social distancing recommendations of the Virginia Department of Health to protect our staff and our clients. City Hall will remain closed with only essential employees at the office. Key staff remain available via telephone and email to ensure business continues to the greatest degree possible. The City’s staffing plan and decision to reopen will be reevaluated on or before Sunday, May 24, 2020. Notice will be made to the public if this schedule should change.
The public is encouraged to use online and telephonic options for conducting business at City Hall. This includes using our payment drop boxes on both sides of City Hall and the drive through drop box located between the City Hall Annex and the Key Recreation Center.
The Charlottesville Fire Department developed a three-phased flowchart to assist in understanding the transition and planning.
City’s Parks & Recreation has updated its list of closures and cancellations. The decision to close the outdoor pools and spray grounds for the summer was not based on the state’s executive order and was made through the collaboration between Parks & Recreation, City Management and City Council by evaluating factors such as public safety and health, operational expenses and staffing. It was determined that the safest and fiscally responsible action given these uncertain times was to close the pools and spray grounds for the 2020 operational season. Given the short duration of the outdoor pool season, it is difficult to start operations at a random date in the summer as there are many factors that go into opening and operating a pool. We understand that this is disappointing for many residents and for City staff by not being able to provide this service. We are hopeful that the City will be able to re-open some or all of our recreational facilities at a later date if public health risks subside and/or the City’s financial picture stabilizes.
OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY
The City is committed to the health, safety and welfare of our staff and the community they serve. While it is safer to stay at home during Phase One, we urge everyone who will be out in public to be diligent and mindful for the safety and well- being of yourself and others by continuing to:
- Wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth
- Be mindful of the surfaces you touch and keep them to a minimum
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet
For more information on the City’s response to COVID-19 and links to resources, visit www.charlottesville.gov/coronavirus.
Resources for the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Our Coronavirus resource page includes links to community resources, business resources, and volunteer/donation opportunities.
Local COVID-19 Resources
The Virginia Department of Health’s Thomas Jefferson Health District has opened a hotline at (434) 972-6261 which is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to answer questions regarding the Coronavirus. The public can leave messages that will be returned as soon as possible. If someone is experiencing a medical emergency, they should call 911.
The City’s website features links to the Virginia Department of Health’s primary information resources on the Coronavirus.
Mental Health Resources
New resources are available from the Community Mental Health & Wellness Coalition.
Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville