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Charlottesville closes City Hall, moves to essential employees only in wake of COVID-19

Charlottesville City Hall (FILE)
Charlottesville City Hall (FILE)(WVIR)
Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The City of Charlottesville’s government is adjusting its operations in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus.

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, the city will close City Hall and move to essential employees only reporting to work. Those employees include emergency responders - such as firefighters and police - as well as department managers. The building, along with the City Hall Annex, Parks & Recreation and Public Works will be closed to the public.

City officials said the plan will be in place for at least two weeks, and will be reevaluated on March 29.

“Myself, as well as my leadership team, and the City Council are all working in collaboration to ensure that we are providing the public with information, as well as trying to communicate the changes that we’re getting,” Charlottesville City Manager Tarron Richardson said.

In the meantime, the city is encouraging people to use online options and phone services for business normally done at City Hall. These resources include the payment drop-off boxes outside City Hall, drive-through boxes between the City Hall Annex and the Key Recreation Center.

Neighborhood Development Services will be open on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with permit intake until 11 a.m.

03/17/2020 Latest Coronavirus Information for the City of Charlottesville:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - In an effort to contain and mitigate the coronavirus, the City of Charlottesville will begin operations on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 with only essential employees reporting to work and, with a few exceptions, City Hall facilities closed to the public. This includes the closure of offices at the City Hall Annex, Parks & Recreation, and Public Works.

This staffing plan will be in effect for at least the next two weeks and will be reevaluated on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Notice will be made to the public if this schedule should change.

The public is encouraged to use all available 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.

Neighborhood Development Services

The Neighborhood Development Services team will be accessible to the public needing to conduct essential business with that department and through the Market Street entrance to City Hall only. The office will be open to the public from 8 a.m. -12 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays (with permit intake until 11 a.m.). Customers can reach NDS at (434) 970-3182. There will be no one-on-one in person consultations at this time.

Visit this web page for a complete list of departments with altered schedules and resources (e.g. Courts, CAT, Parks & Recreation).

Charlottesville Area Transit to go Fare Free

In effort to maximize social distancing and provide an additional layer of protection for drivers, CAT will be eliminating front-door access on all buses. Access will be provided through the rear door of the buses to prevent any close interaction. To facilitate this change, the City Manager has authorized a fare-free period during this time. These changes will remain in effect until the state of emergency ends.

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 homepage features a link to the Virginia Department of Health’s primary information resources on the coronavirus.

The Thomas Jefferson Health District’s primary online information resource is https://www.facebook.com/TJHealth.

Share this shortcut to reach the VDH Coronavirus website: www.charlottesville.org/coronavirus

Mental Health Resources New resources are available from the Community Mental Health & Wellness Coalition: http://helphappenshere.org/coronavirus/

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