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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!