Updates on City Response to COVID-19 Virus Week of March 23, 2020

MARCH 27, 2020: The following information is provided on behalf of the City of Staunton. 

 City Council Adopts Emergency Ordinance for Temporary Relief

On Thursday evening, March 26, City Council adopted an emergency ordinance to provide immediate temporary relief to residents and business owners in Staunton. A full copy of the ordinance can be viewed here; the following are highlights of the ordinance (please note that several of these provisions are effective retroactively):

  • Businesses which would normally remit meals taxes and transient occupancy taxes due on March 20, April 20, May 20, and June 20, 2020, will not be assessed a penalty or interest charge for late payments, provided payment is made in full on or before June 30, 2020.
  • Additional flexibility will be provided concerning the affidavit to be filed by individuals claiming a real estate exemption for elderly and disabled persons.
  • Water utility customers will not be assessed a penalty or interest charge for delinquent payments of water service bills issued March 10, 2020 through June 10, 2020, provided payment is made in full on or before July 10, 2020.
  • Disconnections for failure to pay water service bills are suspended for the period of March 18, 2020 through July 10, 2020.
  • Parking fees are suspended from March 18, 2020 through April 23, 2020 at the New Street parking garage, Johnson Street parking garage, Wharf parking lot and Augusta Street parking lot.

If you have questions or need more information about how this ordinance might impact you, your family, or your business, please contact:

Contact the Commissioner of Revenue Maggie Ragon at 540.332.3829 for information on meals and lodging taxes or real estate exemptions for the elderly and disabled. 

For questions or information regarding waters bills and disconnections as well as parking fees, contact the Finance Department’s Assistant Director Jessie Moyers at 540.332.3948.

For up to date information on the number of cases of COVID-19 that have been recorded in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Health maintains a webpage of cases that is updated daily. As of 9 a.m. on March 27, 2020 there were no cases in the City of Staunton, City of Waynesboro, nor Augusta County.

Stay up-to-date with the city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by signing up for our e-notification list. City Announcements will get you all information regarding COVID-19 as it is released.

 


MARCH 26, 2020: The following information is provided on behalf of the City of Staunton. 

  • Tonight, City Council will consider a proposed emergency ordinance to provide temporary relief to local businesses and citizens.  Citizens are strongly encouraged to listen to the livestream of tonight’s City Council meeting beginning at 6 p.m. online at https://www.ci.staunton.va.us/government/city-council due to limited public seating.
  • With the situation evolving rapidly, the City of Staunton encourages the traveling public to seek and heed the latest expert guidance, and to make fact-based travel decisions. The Tourism Department has put together a travel advisory.

Request for Donations from the Augusta Health Foundation
Augusta Health is need of supplies for patients, employees and visitors during this unprecedented time.  In preparing for the coming weeks, Augusta Health would appreciate donations of the following items: 

  • Masks (N95, dust masks, medical face masks and surgical masks, as well as those handmade by our community). Face mask pattern may be found here: https://patchworkplus-quilting.com/facemasks
  • Hand sanitizer, preferably Ecolab Nourishing Foam, but other brands/types will be accepted
  • Hand soap, preferably Scott Antimicrobial Foam Skin Cleanser, but other brands/types will be accepted
  • Disposable gloves – non-latex

If you or your business have these supplies on hand and are willing to donate them to support Augusta Health, please deliver them to the Augusta Health Loading Dock (to the right of the Emergency Department, in between the Heart and Vascular Center and the Emergency Department).  Call or email the Augusta Health Foundation BEFORE traveling to Augusta Health. The Foundation can be reached at 540.332.5174 or ahfoundation@augustahealth.com.   

Stay up-to-date with the city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by signing up for our e-notification list. City Announcements will get you all information regarding COVID-19 as it is released.

 


MARCH 25, 2020: The following information is provided on behalf of the City of Staunton.  

Governor’s March 24 Executive Order Impacts Local Businesses and Residents 
Governor Northam announced an executive order placing temporary restrictions on a variety of businesses on March 23, 2020 that significantly impact the Staunton business community in the face of continued concern about community spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

These restrictions are consistent with the expertise of public health officials and the focus on limiting face-to-face interactions to those necessary to access food and essential materials.

Complete details on the new restrictions, which are ordered during the period beginning at 11:59 pm, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and ending at 11:59 pm, Tuesday, April 23, 2020, can be found online.

Major provisions include impacts on:

  • restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms and farmers markets
  • recreational and entertainment businesses
  • bricks and mortar retail businesses
  • business operations offering professional services

It is important to note that retail establishments defined as essential in the order may remain open during regular business hours.

The state has published an FAQ on these restrictions to provide further guidance to business owners and the public.

The City of Staunton strongly encourages the business community and the general public to inform themselves about these new wide-ranging restrictions so they may act in accordance with the Governor’s executive order. 

 

City Council Update. The public hearings on water fees and refuse and recycling rates, scheduled for City Council’s’ March 26 meeting, will be postponed until April 9, the same date as the scheduled public hearing on the FY2021 budget.

Meeting Recording. If you were unable to tune in to yesterday’s emergency City Council meeting or unable to hear the entire meeting, email communications@ci.staunton.va.us to request a downloadable mp3 file.

Parks and Recreation. Starting tomorrow, March 26, the basketball courts at Gypsy Hall Park, Montgomery Hall Park, Booker T. Washington Community Center and the Library will be closed to the public. As the Gypsy Hill Golf Course reopens tomorrow, a one person per cart rule will be in place. Patrons are encouraged to walk the course.

Feedback. With the posting of the new COVID-19 informational page on the city’s website, residents are encouraged to use the feedback link on the right-hand side of the page under the large image to offer suggestions as to what else could be included on this page.

Available Resources. The city has a link on the COVID-19 landing page that provides website links and phone numbers for a variety of community resources such as Social Services, Middle River Regional Jail, Social Security and more.

Stay up-to-date with the city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by signing up for our e-notification list. City Announcements will get you all information regarding COVID-19 as it is released.

 


MARCH 24, 2020: The following information is provided on behalf of the City of Staunton. 

Staunton Fire & Rescue and Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad continue to modify response guidelines based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Virginia Department of Health.  Personnel have the proper protective equipment (PPE) for responses and continue to work on distributing PPE as it is received.  Personnel are diligent while continuing to safely respond to all incidents on the front lines of this pandemic.  Across the country, many public safety agencies have lost large numbers of personnel to quarantine during the event.  The agencies have several guidelines in place to minimize this risk.

Voter Registration – Voting for the May 5 Election.  Registered voters are strongly encouraged to vote by mail in the upcoming local election. To vote by mail, an application to request an absentee ballot must be completed and submitted to the voter registration office.  Use reason code 2A “My disability or illness” on the application.  A ballot will be mailed to you.  Applications for absentee ballots may be requested/submitted:

Applications and ballots can be mailed to Voter Registration, P.O. Box 1092, Staunton, VA 24402, or deposited in the dark green city drop box on the corner of W. Beverley St. and Central Ave.

As an alternative to mailing an absentee ballot, in-person absentee voting is available in the Johnson Street parking garage from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, by emailing goldsmithmg@ci.staunton.va.us.  

Instructions for in-person absentee voting:

  • Park on the 2nd floor of the Johnson Street parking garage near the elevator.
  • A representative of the voter registration office will meet you in the garage, check your ID card, and provide a ballot for you to complete
  • Complete your ballot and place it in a privacy envelope provided by the representative, who will insert the ballot into the voting machine on return to the office

If you have any questions, email City Registrar Molly Goldsmith at goldsmithmg@ci.staunton.va.us.

Available Resources

  • The City Attorney’s website has been updated to include copies of local, state, and federal actions that have been taken related to COVID-19. If you’re interested, you can find that information at https://www.ci.staunton.va.us/departments/city-attorney.
  • Augusta Health’s COVID Care Call Center is available to the community at 540.332.5122, Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  The call center is staffed by nurses who can answer questions and provide advice in a personal way to members of the community who are seeking guidance.  

Tips

Stay up-to-date with the city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by signing up for our e-notification list at https://www.ci.staunton.va.us/residents/enotification-sign-up. City Announcements will get you all information regarding COVID-19 as it is released.

 


MARCH 23, 2020: The following information is provided on behalf of the City of Staunton.  

As of 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020 City Hall will be closed to the public. Citizens will have uninterrupted access to the public for critical services to the greatest extent possible.

In preparation for this closure, the city has developed a COVID-19 landing page with enhanced resources for citizens to complete their day-to-day business with the city. The page will continue to evolve as the events continue and gives residents access to the city as well to local resources.

Updates to City Processes

Staunton Police Department. Citizens will not be able to access the lobby of the police department starting at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020, and should contact 911 in the event of an emergency.  Citizens should call the department’s non-emergency number, 540.332.3842, for assistance with all non-emergency matters.

  • The department’s Ride-Along Program and collection of DNA buccal swabs have been temporarily suspended.
  • Fingerprinting of citizens will be considered on a case by case basis for emergency employment situations only.Individuals will need to contact the dispatch center using the non-emergency phone number to make a request for fingerprinting services.
  • Employees will be maintaining a distance of approximately six feet, when practical, in the event face to face contact is necessary.Citizens may be asked to meet officers outside of their home, business, etc.
  • When contacting the 911 center for services, callers will be asked screening questions by a dispatcher in order to determine if someone is ill, has a fever, or is experiencing respiratory problems.

The department will continue to respond to all emergency calls for service.  Non-emergency calls may be handled by telephone.  Your information will be forwarded to an officer who will return your call, provide information/advice, and take a report if needed.  Please understand that our response to non-emergency incidents might be delayed. 

Staunton Public Library. The Library will be ending its curbside service as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.  At close of day on Tuesday, book returns will be locked and hold requests suspended. You may keep any materials you have borrowed until the Library reopens. No overdue fines will be charged during this time. Staff members are still available to help you access and navigate the many digital library resources. You can call them at 540.332.3902 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or email library@ci.staunton.va.us. As always, there are many online resources available at www.stauntonlibrary.org.

Playgrounds. Effectively immediately and through April 15, playgrounds at Montgomery Hall Park, Gypsy Hill Park and Booker T. Washington Community Center are closed due to the public health emergency.  The parks and recreation department will implement closures.

Animal Shelter. Providing care to the animals in our area is essential and will be maintained. However, there will be some changes in process and customers are encouraged to conduct business by email or telephone.

  • Adoptions and fosters by appointment only. Appointments can be made by emailing staff.svasc@gmail.com or by calling the shelter at 540.943.5142.
  • Owners who are surrendering pets are encouraged to call the Shelter at 540.943.5142 and schedule an appointment.
  • When it is necessary to conduct business in person, Shelter staff asks that you call them from the Shelter parking lot and let them know you need service.

Available Resources

For Small Businesses

  • Utilizing the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the state is providing low-interest, long-term disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace uninsured/underinsured disaster damaged property. SBA disaster loans offer an affordable way for individuals and businesses to recover from declared disasters.  Application is online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index
  • The Staunton Creative Community Fund is offering loans up to $5,000, at a rate of 2% to 3%.Term length varies between 12 to 36 months.Interest only payments are available. For more information, email hello@stauntonfund.org.

Stay up-to-date with the city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by signing up for our e-notification list at https://www.ci.staunton.va.us/residents/enotification-sign-up. City Announcements will get you all information regarding COVID-19 as it is released.