Charlottesville could pay up to a half million dollars to sanitize facilities and schools after the coronavirus pandemic ends.
The city awarded contracts to five companies this week to clean facilities after the COVID-19 outbreak abates — whenever that is — and in the event that someone infected with the virus enters a facility.
City spokesman Brian Wheeler said each contract has a $100,000 cap and the funding source would be determined when the expenses occur.
Each contract is set to expire on July 12, about a month after Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order expires. Researchers have estimated that Virginia’s outbreak will peak in mid-August, if current social distancing rules remain in effect.
The companies awarded contracts are P.W. Washington & Co. of Charlottesville; Paul Davis Restoration of Central Virginia in Ruckersville; Motir Services Inc. of Washington, D.C.; REMAC Environmental of Potomac, Maryland; and Pestmaster Services of Reno, Nevada.
Each company charges per square foot. P.W. Washington’s rate is $1.23, REMAC is $1.68, Paul Davis Restoration is 98 cents, Motir is 50 cents and Pestmaster is 39 cents.
The city will issue task orders to each company to use their services.
According to the request for quotes, the city owns or manages more than 1.7 million square feet of facility space. All schools, City Hall, fire stations, the Central Branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, Virginia Discovery Museum and the Emergency Communications Center are included.
If someone infected enters a city building, the companies will close off areas and air them out before cleaning. After current emergency restrictions end, city documents say all facilities will be assumed to have been exposed to the virus and will get deep-cleaned.
Researchers still are trying to determine all of the aspects of the novel coronavirus, but early studies indicate that the virus can live on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to a few days after exposure.
So far, local health officials haven’t announced any infected city employees. Councilor Sena Magill began exhibiting symptoms last month, but tested negative.
Most of the city’s government is working from home amid the pandemic and City Hall is closed to the public through April 26.