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How Charlottesville and Albemarle governments are updating operations during Phase One

Charlottesville and Albemarle County have issued updated guidance about the area’s operations under Phase One of Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan for reopening the state.

During Phase One, which began Friday and is expected to last two to four weeks or longer, state officials are encouraging most areas of Virginia to reopen — while still encouraging residents to remain at home if they are able, to maintain physical distance recommendations, to wear masks in public and to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Several area organizations, including the Charlottesville Clergy Collective and the Legal Aid Justice Center, have opposed reopening, saying it is too early to ask more people to report to work without more robust testing, contact tracing and supplies.

Many government office and public space closures in the city and county will continue.

Doug Walker, the deputy county executive, told staff that Phase One “will look a lot like the response phase, from the vantage of staff and the community.”

In Albemarle:

» County Office Buildings will remain closed to the general public, with limited exceptions.

» Community Development will continue to receive intake of applications and payment on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Many applications are also accepted online.

» The police department will continue to receive limited customers through managed access of the Fifth Street County Office Building.

» The voter registration office will continue to offer curbside in-person absentee voting for Tuesday’s Scottsville Town Council election and the June 23 primaries. Voters are encouraged, however, to vote by-mail absentee.

» Parks remain open, while certain amenities continue to be restricted or closed.

» Open spaces, trails and boat launches remain accessible.

» Playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball courts are closed.

» Public gathering areas — including grills, picnic tables, pavilions and shelters — are closed.

» Parks programming remains suspended.

» Summer swim at beaches, summer camp, classes and recreation programs are canceled.

» Public meetings will remain virtual.

» First responders will continue with revised response protocols to ensure the safety of everyone; 911 call takers will continue to ask screening questions; and police and fire personnel will continue to take steps to reduce exposure while out on calls.

» 911 call takers will continue to ask screening questions.

County staff will wear face masks, according to the release, and residents are encouraged to wear masks, as well.

For more information about county operations, visit albemarle.org.

In Charlottesville, officials said the city will continue to encourage curbside pickup for area businesses and restaurants in on-street parking spaces.

Questions about specific business practices may be directed to the Thomas Jefferson Health District’s hotline at (434) 972-6261. Should someone have any other concerns regarding potential violations, they may call the Regional Emergency Communications Center’s non-emergency line at (434) 977-9041.

In Charlottesville:

» City Hall will remain closed with only essential employees at the office. The city’s staffing plan and decision to reopen will be reevaluated on or before May 24, according to a news release.

» The public is encouraged to use online and telephonic options for conducting business at City Hall, as well as payment drop boxes.

» The Department of Parks and Recreation has closed public swimming pools, spraygrounds and summer camps.

» Closures of indoor recreation centers, playgrounds on park and city school property, basketball and tennis courts, picnic shelters, park restrooms, parking lots and the Sugar Hollow Reservoir will continue.

» Registered programs at closed facilities are canceled until further notice. Some programs and/or virtual programs may be able to be added on a limited basis at a later date. All special events for the summer season are canceled.

» City Market To-Go will continue to operate in the pre-order and drive-thru model Saturdays at Pen Park.

» Dog parks are open, but are limited to 10 people at a time in the fenced-in area until further notice.

The city’s decision to close outdoor pools and spraygrounds was made locally, according to the release.

“It was determined that the safest and fiscally responsible action given these uncertain times was to close the pools and spraygrounds for the 2020 operational season,” the release stated.

“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.”

For more information about city operations, go to charlottesville.gov/ civicalerts.aspx?AID=149.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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