Updated: March 27
City Council’s new community campaign is called “Step Outside, Say Hello!” and it launched this morning. We ask every household in the City to step outside and say ’hello’ to your neighbors. Practice social distancing but check on folks in your neighborhood from your front porch. This is an important campaign that everyone can participate in. Imagine thousands of households checking in our community… that’s what we are all about! It’s especially important to check on our elderly and disabled populations. It’s simple! Tonight and every night at 6:00pm “Step Outside, Say Hello!” – you can do your part to ensure our neighbors are doing okay during this challenging time.
Jamie Jackson, new Director of Public Transit, states that Fredericksburg Regional Transit has been working diligently these past few weeks to ensure the safety of our employees and the public who use our system. Fred Bus is now offering the same services at a modified and reduced level, to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our customers. The department is doing daily / hourly cleaning of service vehicles to ensure safety. Modified schedules are available in print and online at RideFred.com. The goal is to provide safe service and to transport people in our community to essential locations like grocery stores, takeout restaurants and critical medical care.
Jane Shelhorse, Director of Parks, Recreation and Events, encourages everyone to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather! The City’s parks, trails and public restrooms are still open. Public restrooms are being cleaned three times a day at an enhanced schedule. However, we have had to close some of our outdoor park amenities: playgrounds, pickleball, tennis and basketball courts, and the hockey rink - because these are facilities that encourage people to congregate at close distances. Please enjoy our parks but follow the CDC guidelines, no more than 10 people, and less than 6 foot distance. Finally, all spring sports and all programs through May have been cancelled. Parents will be contacted regarding refunds/credits.
Mike Jones, Fredericksburg Fire Chief, brings us the latest statistics on COVID-19. As of noon today, we’re up to 85,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and over 1,200 deaths. In Virginia statistics are also increasing. We’ve now tested over 7,300 people and have 604 positive cases. 83 are hospitalized and 14 deaths in Virginia. In our immediate area we have 16 cases: 11 in Stafford, 2 in Spotsylvania, 1 in the City of Fredericksburg and 2 in King George.
City services are still operating at full capacity with a reduced footprint. All essential services are continuing for Police, Fire, EMS, trash pickup, water and wastewater. If you need assistance there are many options. For stress and coping, please contact the Rappahannock Community Services Board hotline at 540-373-6876. If you have minor health issues, please consider the Mary Washington Healthcare Nurse Link hotline at 540-741-1000. If you have questions about the Coronavirus, you can reach out to the Virginia Department of Health at 1-877-ASK-VDH3. You can always reach the City Government during normal business hours at 540-372-1010 or online at www.fredericksburgva.gov.
Chief Jones sends a special thank you to the business community and the anonymous donors who have provided or paid for meals for the City’s first responders. Police Chief Layton and Fire Chief Jones express their appreciation to the public. The men and women of our organizations are working very hard and appreciate the community support. It’s nice to see everyone in Fredericksburg coming together to help during this crisis!
Updated: March 26
Fire Chief Mike Jones provides the latest information about situations related to the novel coronavirus in Fredericksburg. As of today, 69,219 cases in the United States. The death toll is 1,054. Here in Virginia 6,189 people been tested with 460 confirmed cases, 65 hospitalizations and 13 deaths.
In our immediate area, positive cases remain the same as yesterday and here in the City we have just one confirmed case at this time. As testing becomes available we expect to see an increase in these numbers. We have not reached the top of the curve. City services are still in full operation with a limited footprint. And all essential services continue with Police, Fire, EMS, Trash Pickup, Water and Wastewater Treatment. If you are having problems dealing with the stress we ask you to contact the Rappahannock Community Services Board hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 540-373-6876. If you have minor medical emergencies please contact the Mary Washington Healthcare Heath Link Nurse hotline at 540-741-1000.
Many of you have pets and concerns about the COVID-19 virus and it’s spread. “What happens if I’m diagnosed with COVID-19, what happens to my pet?” Identify another person in the household that may be able to care for the pet. Have a kit ready with at least two weeks worth of food and any medications that your pet might need. “If I’m ill with COVID-19 what precautions should I take for caring for my pet?” Out of an abundance of caution, practice social distancing and consider isolating from your pet if at all possible. While there are no reports of pets becoming sick from COVID-19, limiting contact is the best choice at this point. “Can COVID-19 infect my pets?” Currently there is no evidence that pets become sick or that dogs and cats transmit to people. “Can pets transmit the COVID-19 virus the way other contaminated objects the way contaminated objects or surfaces might?” Most pet hair is porous and fibrous, which is very unlikely that you will get COVID-19 from petting or playing with your pet. However, pets can spread other diseases, so it is always a good idea to practice good handwashing techniques with your pet, as well as making sure they are groomed properly, and keep their food and water areas cleaned.
Aaron, a local student, provides a kid’s view on how students can help during this time of crisis. “Are you sick of your parents reminding you to wash your hands yet? I am too but you could actually get sick if you don’t wash your hands,” says Aaron.
Coronavirus is a new germ that makes people sick and the best thing we can do help not get sick is wash our hands! Also, we want to cover our coughs and sneezes with our elbow and try not to touch our faces because our faces are like the one weak point on the death star.
Staying home helps everyone stay healthy. Being out of school right now is weird though.
Try making a weekday routine. Mom and I made a schedule to help plan my day. When I’m done with my teacher’s assignments, I have a list of things I can do… I can read one of my books, exercise, or play music. Try to help around your house with chores, like helping with cleaning, cooking, or taking care of pets. And don’t forget we need to call our older relatives to check on them. Maybe we could color some pages to mail to them, they are probably just as bored being home as we are!
And remember, it’s not our job to worry about this, just to help where we can and be the awesome kids we are!
If you need any further assistance you can always contact us at www.fredericksburgva.gov.
Updated: March 25
Fredericksburg City Manager Tim Baroody is joined on our video today by Chuck Johnston, Director of Planning and Building Services, and Fire Chief Mike Jones for our daily update on COVID-19 in Fredericksburg.
The Fredericksburg Planning Department is open for business with half staff while providing full service. Applications can be made online and over the telephone. Email: email@example.com or call 540-372-1179 for planning or 540-372-1080 for building services. The City is doing inspections, and will ask you in advance if anyone in your household is exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19 or is isolation for coronavirus, prior to arriving for your inspection. As a reminder, if you need an inspection, you have six months by state code. If you wish to schedule an inspection at a later date, please consider doing so.
April 1st is Census Day. This is the most important thing we can do as citizens is to complete the 2020 Census. Where we live is what determines elections, federal money allocations and more. Please look for the census mailer that you should have received in the mail and be sure to respond to it.
Mike Jones, Fire Chief, provides a few statistics. As of noon today, there were 60,653 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with 827 deaths resulting from those cases. In Virginia there have been 5,370 persons tested for the disease with 391 presumptive positive cases with 59 of those hospitalized and 9 deaths, around the state.
In our immediate area positive cases have increased to 13 total as of early today Stafford has 9, Spotsylvania 3 and we have had our first positive case in the City of Fredericksburg. Expect that number to increase as more testing is done. These numbers are increasing each and every day and probably will for the foreseeable future.
The City continues to provide full services to the public with a reduced footprint since City facilities are still closed to the public. We stand ready to assist you as much as we can through electronic means. For most of us, our way of life has changed dramatically in the last week and it appears that will remain the case for weeks if not months to come. Many are anxious, nervous and very concerned about the uncertainty with their health, health of their family, income and everyday things we use to take for granted.
Many will be stressed and need some assistance. If you are having difficulties check with your employer to see if you have an Employee Assistance Program available that may be able to help. If you have recently become unemployed or have issues, the Rappahannock Community Services Board maintains emergency therapists available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for Fredericksburg residents at (540) 373-6876.
As a reminder, remember to practice good personal hygiene like washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your cough or sneeze and staying home and away from others when you are sick. These go a long way to protect yourself and others. If you have symptoms consistent with flu or COVID-19 and they are getting worse call 9-1-1.
You can always reach us at www.fredericksburgva.gov.
Updated: March 24
Tim Baroody, Fredericksburg City Manager, provides an update regarding Governor Northam’s Executive Order #53. New restrictions are imposed on businesses, ordering some to close entirely. Prohibiting dine-in operations at food service establishments, breweries and wineries. And limiting all public and private gatherings to ten people or less. With this action, the City Manager’s Emergency Order #1 as amended is being withdrawn effective 11:59pm Tuesday, March 24th when the Governor’s more restrictive state order goes into effect. Find the Governor’s Executive Order 53 here.
Diane Beyer, Director of Public Works shares that the City is continuing to provide services, but with a much reduced team Citywide. Although there is no change to trash and recycling pick-ups at this time, please be patient with the crews if they do not reach your location at the time you usually see them. They will get there. Please abide by the trash requirements and do not place additional bags next to your trash toters. They will not be picked up. Also, please make sure to have ALL TRASH bagged in the toter. Be considerate of our hardworking crews. By bagging trash, there is less likelihood of items splashing or otherwise contacting our crew members.
Belman Roadd and the RBoard landfill convenience centers will now be closed on Sundays and Monday. These changes are being made to be able to maintain operations with less labor.
Please do NOT flush anything other than toilet paper. No Wipes in the Pipes! We are checking trouble spots daily throughout the City, but we are hoping everyone will remain vigilant and monitor disposal of items that are not to be flushed. “Flushable” on a product does not mean it disintegrates, nor that it’s OK to put into the system. Remember that the sewer pipe from your sinks and toilets all the way to the City’s main line, is the responsibility of the home or business owner. So, the clog you prevent may be your own. Grease is another item not to put into the system.
If you see City crews out and about please respect their space and remember to “social distance”. They have families and co-workers they need to consider as well, and if they know you will respect them in this way, it will lessen the stress levels they are working under right now. Thanks for respecting our crews!
Replacement trees will be planted throughout the City in the next few weeks by Tree Fredericksburg personnel, who are contractors to the City. Planting trees is still a fairly healthy activity to be involved in, and there should be no more than 2 or 3 staff involved in each planting. Please, again, respect the space of these folks, and if you must engage them, speak from a distance of at least 6 feet away. The City’s Arbor Day ceremony has been cancelled. Please look for further updates on the City’s Public Works pages. They are updated as necessary. For answers to other questions, please call the Public Works City Hall office at 372-1023. We are still here, ready to assist as we can.
Mike Jones, Deputy Fire Chief for the Fredericksburg Fire Department provides the City’s update on COVID-19 local preparations. As of noon today, there were 46,455 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with 593 deaths resulting from those cases. In Virginia there have been 4,470 persons tested for the disease with 290 presumptive positive cases with 45 of those hospitalized and unfortunately 7 deaths around the state. In our immediate area there are still eight positive cases between Spotsylvania and Stafford. There have been no positive cases in Fredericksburg, I expect that number to increase as more testing is done. These numbers are increasing each and every day and probably will for the foreseeable future.
The City continues to provide full services to the public with a reduced footprint since City facilities are still closed to the public. We stand ready to assist you as much as we can through electronic means. We know you are anxious and nervous about the virus and its’ effects on your everyday life. Know that the City is here to provide services even during this difficult times. Our first responders are still answering calls for service and other essential functions like trash pick-up and water and wastewater treatment continue to move forward as normal.
For those that have questions about their health and should they seek medical care, we are working in association with Mary Washington HealthCare to provide you access to the Health Link Nurse Line. It is available from 6:00am to Midnight 7 days a week at (540) 741-1000. This is especially important to not over tax the EMS system with conditions that can be handle by other methods.
We have been receiving lots of inquiries on how to assist others in need. Rappahannock United Way has a feature on their website to assist community organizations by matching area needs with willing volunteers. If you can assist please reach out to these organizations: Thurman Brisben Center, Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, and Mary Washington Healthcare through this link http://www.ruwvolunteer.org/need/?q=&cat_id=52506 There are certainly new challenges that we are all encountering with each passing day and volunteering is one way to assist and make a difference in our community now more than ever.
Updated: March 23
Today’s COVID-19 update includes a message from Dr. Marci Catlett, Superintendent, Fredericksburg City Public Schools; Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones; and Bill Freehling, Director of Fredericksburg Economic Development and Tourism.
Dr. Marci Catlett, Superintendent of Fredericksburg City Schools states that as a result of Governor Northam’s press conference today, all Virginia schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic school year. While City Schools will not be able to answer any questions right now, that by the end of the week they expect guidance from the Department of Education on graduation, standard and verified credits, continuity of learning and grades. They will be continuing the Mobile Feeding Programs.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones provides an update on Fredericksburg area statistics and action on COVID-19 here in Fredericksburg. As of noon today, there were 35,418 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with 473 deaths resulting from those cases. In Virginia there have been 3,697 persons tested for the disease with 254 presumptive positive cases with 38 of those hospitalized and unfortunately 6 deaths, around the state.
In our immediate area there have been eight positive cases between Spotsylvania and Stafford. There have been no positive cases in Fredericksburg, and we expect that number to increase as more testing is done. These numbers are increasing each and every day and probably will for the foreseeable future.
City facilities are currently closed to the public to help limit the exposure and slow the spread of the virus. The public can still conduct business via electronic means.
Essential city services will continue to be provide through the duration of this event.
For those that have questions about their health and should they seek medical care, we are working in association with Mary Washington HealthCare to provide access to the Health Link Nurse Line. It is available from 6:00am to Midnight 7 days a week at (540) 741-1000.
Bill Freehling, Director of EDT, shares the news about local business assistance programs. Fredericksburg’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) on Monday established a $50,000 grant fund to help City of Fredericksburg (22401) small businesses weather the storm of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Criteria for eligibility, allowed uses of the grant funds, the review process and more will be developed this week. The EDA anticipates publishing the criteria by early next week at Fredericksburgva.com and starting to take applications April 1.
The City of Fredericksburg will likely be matching the $50,000 by appropriating that amount from the Economic Development Opportunity Fund in the current fiscal budget. That would create a $100,000 fund to assist Fredericksburg small businesses in their great time of need. City Council will be asked to formally appropriate the funds at its next meeting, which is currently scheduled for April 14.
The EDA also has a separate loan program for small businesses in place. Many additional resources are available for small businesses, including an emergency loan program from the U.S. Small Business Administration that allows loans of up to $2 million.
Updated: March 22
Current cases of COVID-19 in the United States are 27,207 confirmed (which is an increase of 5,347). There have been 349 deaths as a result of COVID-19 (70 more than yesterday). And 176 are considered recovered from the virus (an increase of 29 since yesterday).
- 3,337 persons have been tested
- 219 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that is 67 more than yesterday
- 32 are hospitalized
- 3 deaths
In the Rappahannock Health District, which includes Fredericksburg: 7 confirmed cases (5 in Stafford and 2 in Spotsylvania)
The City has issued Order #1 (as amended) which limits the number of “patrons” for service at restaurants and fitness centers – consistent with the Governor’s order. And further directs that gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. Read it here.
The MWHC Health Link Nurse Line offers free health advice. Their FREE nurse advice line is here for you 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call between 6:00 a.m. and midnight, and their nurses will help you decide if a trip to the ER or urgent care is needed. Call 540-741-1000.
In the event that you call 9-1-1 to request emergency services please let the dispatcher know If you have flu-like symptoms, are quarantined, or under self-quarantine and need emergency services. This will help our first responders take the necessary precautions to avoid spread of the coronavirus.
Remember if you are sick with mild symptoms:
- Stay at home – people who are mildly ill are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
- Stay in touch with your doctor – call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
- Avoid public transportation – do not use buses, ride-sharing or taxis.
- Stay away from other people as much as possible - self isolate in your home.
Older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 which may result in increased stress during a crisis. Fear and anxiety about the pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Things you can do to support yourself:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)
Updated: March 20, 2020
The number of cases in the U.S. is 22,746 which is 6,679 more cases than yesterday. There have been 279 deaths (this is 60 more than yesterday) and 147 have recovered (this is 22 more than yesterday)
Here In Virginia:
2,790 people have been tested
152 positive cases (this is 38 more cases than yesterday)
Cases in our region remain the same, with two in Stafford and one in Spotsylvania, and no positive cases at this time in the City of Fredericksburg.
A message from Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, "On behalf of the City Council, we support the efforts of the EDA to assist our local businesses and ask the City Manager to attend the special meeting of the EDA on Monday where he can offer the full assistance of the City." The Mayor wishes to remind all of our residents, "that it is absolutely essential to stay in place as much as possible and observe the rule of 10. Thank you Fredericksburg for doing all that you are to keep our city safe."
A Reminder about Social Distancing. Everyone can do our part to help prevent coronavirus by social distancing. This is very important to try and limit the spread of the virus among people. Staying at home is the best option, while getting outside around the yard with proper distancing takes advantage of the good weather and sunshine. The 6 ft. distance allows necessary spacing in case of coughs or sneezes to limit droplet contact. Also washing your hands often and not touching your face are two important habits to stay healthy.
Fredericksburg City Schools’ Mobile Feeding Program will begin this Monday, March 23rd. Please see the schedule online.
A Reminder About Flushing Only Toilet Paper. Just because you CAN flush it doesn’t mean you SHOULD flush it. Do not flush disinfecting wipes – or wipes of any kind. Dispose of all wipes in the trash, so as not to cause plumbing issues for your home or for city septic systems. Wipes don’t belong in the toilet at all, no matter what the label says. Even some wipes marketed as biodegradable can still cause issues because they don’t disintegrate quickly enough, or break down all the way. Read more...
We must all work together as a community to make sure we are doing the most we can to limit the spread of the virus and help protect our friends, neighbors, families, loved ones and ourselves from exposure to COVID-19.
Updated: March 20, 2020
Fredericksburg City Manager Timothy J. Baroody provides an update on City staffing plans, creating alternating teams of City Employees to help implement social distancing among staff. This rolling staffing will slow city business but we are still committed to a fully functioning government. This is being done to address valid employee angst about working in regular groups in close proximity to other employees AND to create ready reserves to fall-in if team members become compromised.
The City Manager has asked Fire Chief Eddie Allen to delay his retirement, and he has agreed. Mike Jones will still become Fire Chief as earlier announced, and Eddie will support him and City/PD on emergency operations until further notice.
The Economic Development professionals in the Fredericksburg region are closely collaborating to assist area businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Economic Development professionals from the City as well as Caroline, King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania, the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, our partners at REDCO and the Small Business Development Center have been discussing ways to team up on assistance programs and are collaborating to develop business support initiatives. A special meeting of the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority will be held on Monday, March 24 to work on development of business support initiatives.
Maria (Mili) Reagan speaks to our Spanish speaking residents about CDC recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. CDC recommendations in Spanish are online here.
Interim Chief of Police Brian Layton provides an update on the Fredericksburg Police Department. Police, Fire & EMS have implemented progressive staffing plans in an effort to minimize illness and/or potential quarantine. Our 911 center is staffed 24/7 and is prepared to answer emergency calls. We’ve implemented procedures to ensure our staff are safe, equipped, and prepared to continue the high-quality public safety services our community deserves. Our public safety professionals remain positive, courageous, and ready to respond to our community’s needs.
The Fredericksburg Police Department is on patrol in our community and we have chosen not to reduce any services at this time. If FPD officers observe a violation of the law, they will take action. That said, we have changed some of the ways we are conducting business. Some of these changes include:
- If you call our 911 center, you can expect to be asked questions related to symptoms of COVID-19. The responses received will assist our first responders with choosing their level of Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE) during their response.
- All police officers will be utilizing latex gloves on all calls for service.
- We are encouraging phone reporting when possible for crimes where an offender is not present. Examples of this could include past occurred vandalism, larceny, or fraud. The bottom line is that the on-duty watch commander will decide which events require an officer response and which ones can be handled via a phone report.
- Police officers are disinfecting their police vehicles after every prisoner transport.
- Depending on the circumstances, our police officers may ask you to speak with you outside of your home or business instead of inside.
- Although the police station is currently closed to the public, we have administrative staff on-site and off-site that can assist with your needs.
- Your public safety professionals are working, we are here for you, please call if we can be of service. Call 911 in an emergency or 540-373-3122 for non-emergency issues.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones provide updates on Fredericksburg’s status of COVID-19 statistics. As of noon today, there were no new positive cases in our immediate area, just two in Stafford and one in Spotsylvania. And the City of Fredericksburg still has no confirmed positive case. City facilities are closed to the public, but staff is available to provide assistance by phones and email. Fire staff are being pre-screened at the beginning of their shifts to look for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 illness. We plan to start screening Police officers well. This is to ensure our public that it is safe for our staff to work around you as we provide public services.
Updated: March 19, 2020
Today’s update from the City of Fredericksburg includes a message from Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw. Additional information is provided by Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones on the City’s coronavirus planning efforts and Jane Shelhorse, Director and Parks, Recreation and Events, on the current status of Fredericksburg’s parks and programming.
City government buildings are closed to public access. This includes our downtown Visitor’s Center, City Hall, the Executive Plaza (partial building), and Dorothy Hart Community Center. We encourage all citizens to take advantage of pay online opportunities. For now, staff will be available by phone at the regular numbers you normally use. We have eliminated all late fees through the month of April in an attempt to get ahead of issues that most certainly will arise in this shift.
Department of Parks, Recreation and Events’ Update:
Parks, Recreation and Events’ programs are canceled through March 29, coinciding with the school cancellations.
Sports programs are on hold until schools update their action plans for the period following March 29, 2020. Should schools remain closed, PR&E will cancel field hockey and soccer seasons completely and issue a credit to individuals for use in the fall. PR&E will continue with its youth baseball league registration.
All Special Events -- including those pre-approved by the Special Events Committee -- are cancelled through April 30, 2020.
All park rentals are canceled from now through April 30, 2020.
The parks will remain open, as will all public restrooms *with additional/enhanced cleaning*
The Dorothy Hart Community Center is closed to the public, but staff is on hand to assist by phone from 9 AM – 4:30 PM. Registrations can be done online.
Summer Camp registrations will be provided online. City residents will be able to start registering online as of 6 PM on Monday, March 23, and Non-City residents will be able to begin registering as of 9 AM, March 24. Staff will be at the DHCC to assist residents by phone on the 23rd until 9 PM and again from 9AM on Tuesday, March 24th.
Posted on: March 18, 2020
Posted on: March 17, 2020
Community Update from City Manager Timothy J. Baroody
Status of COVID-19 Emergency Planning in the City of Fredericksburg
I would like to update you on matters related to the City of Fredericksburg’s local government and our continued emergency planning for the COVID-19 virus outbreak. First, I wish to inform you that this morning I issued a formal Declaration of Local Emergency. It takes effect today Monday, March 16, 2020, and will need to be affirmed by City Council. This Declaration allows the City to take emergency actions to protect the public health. We have also partially activated our Emergency Operations Center with partial staffing, and are ready to go to full staffing as the need may arise.
Dr. McDermott, President and CEO of Mary Washington Hospital stated today that, “The key to preventing the rapid spread of this disease is the phenomenon of “flattening the curve”. If we can slow the spread of COVID-19 to months rather than weeks, we can lessen the impact on the healthcare system and give precious time to treat those with moderate and severe symptoms from the virus…” Read Dr. McDermott’s full statement.
You have heard it said that extraordinary times take extraordinary measures. The City of Fredericksburg is indeed taking extraordinary measures.
We have been acting for weeks on preparing for this virus, and since January 23rd have been asking for increased information from callers seeking emergency assistance from our 911 center. We have refreshed our continuity of operations plans, enhanced janitorial services and stepped up disinfecting efforts significantly in our public buildings. We have posted information to our workforce and asked them to be diligent in keeping their spaces clean and in using good hygiene practices.
Last Tuesday, after a brief to Council and our community by Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones, City Council authorized the City Manager to implement a more liberal sick leave policy. This action allows for a city employee who is experiencing signs of COVID-19 (or it has been confirmed that they have been exposed and need to be quarantined) to not worry about leave balances and instead focus on seeking medical assistance – and NOT coming to work.
To prepare for many to call out sick, we have created a City Emergency Team. This team consists of roughly 25 professionals who have been authorized and approved to telework away from their offices to accomplish critical IT, communications, financial, and public health and safety functions. Beyond this team, we have approximately two hundred additional City employees who handle “essential functions” and they will be focused on maintaining order, public health, tax assessment and collection, water and sewer infrastructure and trash pickup, among other critical responsibilities. Many other functions of government will soon be deemed less essential for the foreseeable future – and will be handled as our resources permit.
We will be asking Council to reserve $2 million from the City’s Fund Balance in this current year to handle potential virus related matters. We will also likely be forced to reconsider our FY 2021 budget recommendations released last week.
Yesterday Governor Northam banned all gatherings of 50 or more, and we believe that he will take bolder actions soon. Guidance from Mary Washington Healthcare leadership and Virginia’s Department of Health, implores the City and other regional localities to lead by example by taking aggressive actions now. This starts with encouraging all to stay home – and the City of Fredericksburg is doing just that with this notice. I am also formally announcing that as of close of business today City government buildings will be closed to the public. This includes our downtown Visitor’s Center, City Hall, the Executive Plaza (partial building), and Dorothy Hart Community Center. We encourage all citizens to take advantage of pay online opportunities. For now, staff will be available by phone at the regular numbers you normally use. We have eliminated all late fees through the month of April in an attempt to get ahead of issues that most certainly will arise in this shift.
We ask residents, and businesses, to be patient with us as we work to continue our services. We also strongly encourage that you walk our trails, enjoy the spring blossoms and buy gift cards and order takeout meals from our great restaurants and local businesses! They need your support now more than ever.
Moving forward you can expect daily updates to be posted on the City website at www.fredericksburgva.gov. Please also sign up for Fredericksburg alerts also located on our website.
I realize that this is an unprecedented action and we are in unprecedented times. We will be outlining and publishing essential functions and non-essential functions that are affected in this plan of action as soon as possible. This leads to many questions, and we’re working to address them all as quickly as possible.
We appreciate our community’s understanding that our actions are in the best interest of our public health. More community government actions are forthcoming.
Thank you all.
Para más información en Español 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. de lunes a viernes: (540) 395-4906
Please follow the Virginia Department of Health Situation Summary for updates.
FredericksburgAlert.com for closing announcements for City Government, City Schools and also any changes in trash pickups, traffic, events and more. It’s a great resource for our residents who wish to stay updated. Visit FredericksburgAlert.com to subscribe.
Local Media - City communications staff will be sending critical information through local government access channels Cox Channel 84 and Verizon Channel 42, to our local radio stations and newspapers, and on our FxbgGov social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.