Williamsburg announces phased plan to reopen city services

Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Williamsburg officials have released a phased plan to reopen the city after shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The phased approach is meant to keep city workers and residents safe. City employees will be required to wear face masks and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms during much of the reopening, and social distancing will be required in public spaces and buildings.

“The COVID-19 public health emergency has strained every industry’s capacity to keep workers on the job as those who are infected require at least two weeks to recover and as much as four weeks to return to work,” Williamsburg City Manager Andrew Trivette wrote in a memo to city staff. “We must take every precaution while recognizing that some risk of infection is unavoidable and that the city must continue to provide the service that our community needs at the level they expect. It is this commitment that has long made Williamsburg unique.”

This is what the phases of reopening will mean to the public:

PHASE 1

  • Public buildings and facilities will remain closed
  • Services will be offered online or through other means
  • Special events requiring a permit will remain canceled
  • City meetings will be held virtually

PHASE 2

  • Public buildings will remain closed
  • Parks and playgrounds will reopen with limited services
  • Park entry fees will be waived
  • Services will be offered online or through other means
  • City meetings will be held virtually
  • Special events requiring a permit may be held if approved by the city manager

PHASE 3

  • Public buildings will reopen
  • Parks and playgrounds will open with full service
  • Public facilities will be open on a limited basis
  • Residents will be required to wear face masks in city-owned facilities and buildings where more than one person is present
  • Service counters will have barriers and the floors will be marked to encourage social distancing
  • Services will remain available online or through other means
  • Special events requiring a permit may be held if approved by the city manager

PHASE 4

  • Public buildings will be open
  • Services will remain available online or through other means

The announcement comes as Gov. Ralph Northam moves Virginia into Phase 1 of reopening after schools, businesses, and governments were shut down across the Commonwealth for about two months due to COVID-19.

Northam’s phase 1 allows for restaurants and other businesses to reopen their on-site services to customers — but only in outdoor settings. Businesses who choose to reopen will have to adhere to strict social distancing regulations and cannot operate at more than 50 percent of their lowest occupancy load, according to a news release.

To allow its businesses to reopen under the new regulations, Williamsburg officials have issued temporary zoning guidelines. These outline how businesses should operate under phase 1 of reopening Virginia.


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