WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Williamsburg announced on Thursday that its partnership with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and William & Mary will continue as they work together coordinating a path on moving the city forward as a result of the pandemic.
The foundation and college are two of the largest employers in the city and they are planning to continue collaborating for residents, visitors, students, and staff as the state begins easing restrictions as part of Governor Ralph Northam Phase 1.
“The City of Williamsburg is very fortunate to have true partners in the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and William & Mary,” City Manager Andrew Trivette said. “Both institutions, and their leaders, have been welcome collaborators as we all strive to address social, physical, and financial challenges unprecedented in our lifetimes. I greatly value their counsel and know that our City is better positioned for reopening because of what they have done and continue to do to meet the needs of our community and not just their organizations.”
Colonial Williamsburg is keeping public sites closed through May 31 with plans to reopen on a limited scale after Virginia reaches Phase 2 of Forward Virginia.
Initially, reopening to the public will apply to limited locations and under strict safety protocols that will include social distancing, operating at reduced capacity inside buildings, face coverings where appropriate, and enhanced cleaning.
“The safety of our employees, our guests and community are our highest priority. Colonial
Williamsburg’s phased reopening plan requires thoughtful and deliberate coordination with the
City and university to keep everyone safe during these uncertain times. Working together, our
community will come out of this crisis stronger than ever,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of
the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
William & Mary announced it will reopen fall 2020 as long as it is safe to do so.
“William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe shared last week that a small, multidisciplinary planning team has been charged with exploring scenarios related to the pandemic’s impacts over the next 18 months,” said city officials. “The university will make more details available on its fall planning in June. As this effort is underway, the university is coordinating closely with state university peers, and state and local leaders, including the Department of Education, the City, and Colonial Williamsburg.”
“Bringing our campus back together safely is an enormous task and also a hopeful one
because it is a key step in the path forward to a post-COVID-19 William & Mary,” Rowe said. “It
is also vital in the success of our Williamsburg broader community moving forward.”
She continued, “I am confident that each of us — the university, City and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation — is equally committed to taking those steps with the health, safety and viability of our shared community in mind. Our collaboration and coordination is a great strength in this effort.”
The City of Williamsburg has been working to have a plan that follows a safe approach to opening the city.
“We aim to protect the employees, the residents, and the services with every procedure
we put in place,” said Trivette. “That is where our focus remains as we turn to reopening public
The City announced it has published an outline of its five-phase plan for reopening, Forward Williamsburg, that follows along with Forward Virginia. It begins with current operational conditions and carries through to a return to “preCOVID-19 conditions.”
The plan has limited services at outdoor park and recreation facilities available in Phase 2 and opening the community back up to public facilities during Phase 3.
“Over the coming days, weeks and months all three organizations will continue to work together, hand-in-hand as the nation’s fight against the coronavirus continues,” said officials.
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