FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2020
The City of Charlottesville has supported the community’s right to peaceably assemble, however obstructing city streets and using parks without the proper permits will no longer be allowed
STATEMENT FROM CITY MANAGER TARRON RICHARDSON
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- As the potential spread of COVID-19 continues to threaten the health and safety of Charlottesville, the City’s March 12, 2020 decision to cease issuing special event permits remains in effect.
Further, the Charlottesville City Council enacted an ordinance on July 27, 2020 which prohibits gatherings of 50 or more individuals within the City of Charlottesville with limited exceptions. A violation of the ordinance is punishable as a Class 3 Misdemeanor or Class 4 Misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $500. Any gathering of 50 or more individuals within the City of Charlottesville is subject to the ordinance’s provisions including potential criminal charges. Additionally, Governor Ralph S. Northam’s Executive Order 67 remains in effect which prohibits gatherings of 250 or more individuals.
Violations of the COVID-19 ordinance and any events that block City streets have a direct impact on service delivery and can endanger the health and safety of the community. Unauthorized closures of City streets can delay responses for emergency vehicles and require rerouting to an emergency incident, the hospital, or other critical infrastructure when seconds matter. Additionally positioning one’s self in a lane of travel/traffic without proper protection is putting oneself potentially in grave danger.
Over the last three months, large crowds gathered in both Washington Park and Market Street Park. These gatherings have obstructed nearby public streets and intersections. While the City of Charlottesville has supported the community’s right to peaceably assemble, obstructing city streets and using parks without the proper permits will no longer be allowed. These non-permitted events come at considerable cost to the City of Charlottesville, particularly during the COVID crisis when resources are already strained. Citations will be issued by the City Manager to the event organizers who used the parks and organized these events without a special event permit. Moving forward, those who commit violations of state law and/or City ordinance, such as obstructing or blocking traffic, COVID restrictions, or any other violation will be charged accordingly.
A gathering advertised to occur on August 28, 2020 is not sanctioned by the City of Charlottesville and no special event permits have been approved for the use of City parks or other public property on this date. As noted above, most gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited under the City Council’s COVID-19 ordinance.
The well-being of our City relies on the commitment of every community member to the safety of our fellow residents.
Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville