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COVID-19: Government & Community Updates as of May 29 CLICK HERE.

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COVID-19: Government and Community Updates as of May 29, 2020

Post Date:05/29/2020 4:00 PM

BERRYVILLE, VA (May 29, 2020) The most recent local and state updates are posted first, followed by additional local news, and essential information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health, the World Health Organization, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

As of 10 a.m. May 29, Clarke County has 25 confirmed cases of COVID-1 with three hospitalizations and no deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Neighboring counties to the east, west, and south have significantly higher numbers. Your efforts are making a positive difference in Clarke CountyPlease continue to wash your hands often, wear a face mask in public, and stay six feet away from people who are not immediate family members. By remaining cautious, you are protecting the entire community, including the police, firefighters, health professionals, and caregivers who need to be on the front lines to fight this pandemic and keep our community safe.

Executive Order Sixty-One includes a framework for Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. Read “Forward Virginia” details. As of May 29, everyone in Virginia needs to wear face coverings while in all retail stores, personal care and grooming establishments, all places where people congregate, and restaurants (except while eating). Children age 9 and younger do not need to wear masks, although they are recommended for children age 3 and older. There are exceptions. Here are Virginia’s face covering requirements.

Clarke County has placed a drop box for county taxes at the main entrance (east side) of the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center at 101 Chalmers Ct. in Berryville. The drop box is available 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and aims to shorten the wait in the drive-thru on the west side of the building during tax season. Throughout the year, the County drive-thru kiosk on the building’s west side is open weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the drop box on the west side is available 24 hours, seven days a week. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pay online, by mail (Clarke County Treasurer, P.O. Box 537, Berryville, VA 22611), or at the drop boxes and drive-thru kiosk at the government center. Because of COVID-19, taxpayers are discouraged from paying with cash.

Clarke County moved its tax due date from June 5 to June 30, 2020. The first half of 2020 real estate and personal property taxes are now due by Tuesday, June 30. Notices regarding the new deadline are included in County tax bills. Read details here. Contact the Clarke County Treasurer’s Office at 540-955-5160 or treasuer@clarkecounty.gov.

Town of Berryville taxes are due June 5. Residents may pay online, or mail tax payments to Town of Berryville Treasurer, 101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville, VA 22611. Make payments at the Town drive-thru kiosk located on the west side of the government center at 101 Chalmers Ct. Contact Town Treasurer at 540-955-1099 or treasurer@berryvilleva.gov.

Clarke County Humane Foundation will distribute pet food — free of charge — between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, at Clarke County High School. Enter the “bus loop” on West Main Street (Business 7). Volunteers ask all visitors to wear face masks and observe the six-foot social distancing standard. A variety of local sources donated dog and cat food for county residents who need food for their pets during this COVID-19 crisis. Clarke County Animal Shelter always appreciates donations of pet food, cat litter, and cleaning supplies. Drop off donations during the pet food distribution on June 2 at the high school or any time at the shelter (225 Ramsburg Lane, Berryville). Contact shelter manager Jenny Wright at 540-955-5104 or jwright@clarkecounty.gov.

Opening day of the Chet Hobert Park pool is to be determined. Clarke County Parks and Recreation staff is considering all possible scenarios to open the pool this summer. “Ordinarily, the pool would open on Memorial Day, but we want to open when it is safe to do so,” said Director Lisa Cooke, noting everything depends on guidelines from the Governor’s office. “First and foremost, we want to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pool visitors,” Cooke said. Meanwhile, the 25-meter pool and children’s pool are being prepared as usual.

Residents who need access to free, public Wi-Fi may park their cars near the buildings listed below. Please follow social distancing standards, keeping at least six feet from individuals who are not members of your immediate family. These Wi-Fi networks are offered as-is with no guarantee of signal or speed quality.
• Berryville-Clarke County Government Center, 101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville (ccpublic network)
• Clarke County Recreation Center in Chet Hobert Park, 225 Al Smith Circle, Berryville (ccpublic network)
• Johnson-Williams Middle School, 200 Swan Ave., Berryville, rear parking lot and front bus loop (EnGenius 2.4GHZ network)
• Shenandoah University, 1460 University Dr., Winchester, designated parking lots from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (SU-CommunityConnect network)

As of May 29, Town of Berryville and Clarke County government offices remain OPEN with staff responding to phones and email. Contact Town offices at 540-955-1099 or customerservice@berryvilleva.gov. Contact the County at 540-955-5100 or info@clarkecounty.gov.
• County walk-up windows in the government center are CLOSED.
• Town walk-up windows — Business Office, Police Department, and Planning Department — are OPEN 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
• Office of Elections walk-up window on second floor of the government center is OPEN 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Clarke County Library in the government center is CLOSED. 
• Make Town and County payments or drop off papers using drive-thru kiosks located on the west side of the government center.
• NOTE: Clarke County has placed a drop box for county taxes at the main entrance on the east side of the government center on Chalmers Court. The drop box is available 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and is intended to shorten the wait in the drive-thru on the west side of the building during tax season.
• Berryville Planning & Zoning Department and Clarke County Planning & Zoning commonly used forms and information are available in the lobby of government center with bins to receive applications, forms, and plans.

Clarke County Board of Supervisors has posted its April and May meetings on “Clarke County, Virginia” YouTube channel.

Berryville Town Council has posted its April  and May meetings on “Town of Berryville” YouTube channel.

AS OF MAY 29, THESE LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEETINGS ARE CANCELED: 

• CANCELED Berryville Town Council work session at 3 p.m. Monday, June 1
• CANCELED Clarke County Planning Commission work session at 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 2
• CANCELED Berryville Architectural Review Board at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 3
• CANCELED Berryville Tree Board at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 3
• RESCHEDULED Clarke County School Board at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 15 (was previously June 22)

Go to Berryville meeting calendar and Clarke County calendar

ALSO IN CLARKE COUNTY AS OF MAY 29:

Appalachian Trail Conservancy has REVISED its COVID-19 guidelines for day and overnight hikers. Read details here. NOTE: Twenty-two miles of the Appalachian Trail run through Clarke County. 

Barns of Rose Hill (95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville) REOPENS its art exhibits, gift shop, and Visitors’ Center on Tuesday, June 2. Hours are noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Follow Barns of Rose Hill on Facebook, or contact the Barns at 540-955-2004 or info@borh.org.

Blandy Experimental Farm & State Arboretum of Virginia is CLOSED until further notice.

Chet Hobert Park (Al Smith Circle, Berryville) is OPEN; however, all shelters, playgrounds, and pool are CLOSED until further notice. Visitors who use the 102-acre property, its 2-mile walking trail, playing fields, tennis courts, etc., are asked to adhere to social-distancing standards. Dogs must be kept on leashes. Fitness facilities in the Clarke County Recreation Center are CLOSED; public restrooms are available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact Parks & Recreation at 540-955-5140 and ccpr@clarkecounty.gov.

Clarke County Animal Shelter (225 Ramsburg Lane, Berryville) is OPEN for essential business only. Shelter visits are limited to necessary business only: adoptions, reclamations, and surrenders. Drop off donations — pet food, cat litter, etc. — in the bin by the front door. Contact shelter manager Jenny Wright at 540-955-5104 or jwright@clarkecounty.gov. View animals available for adoption at petfinder.com

Clarke County Building Department and Clarke County Department of Planning & Zoning are CLOSED to the public, but continue to operate during regular business hours. Commonly used forms and information are located the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center first-floor lobby (101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville). Bins are in place to receive applications, forms, and plans. Payments are accepted via county drive-thru kiosks located on the west side of the government center building.

Clarke County Courts RESUMED hearings on May 18. Individuals with upcoming court dates should contact the court clerk’s office for information regarding modified procedures and protocols due to COVID-19.
• Circuit Court: 540-955-5117
• General District Court: 540-955-5128
• Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court: 540-955-5136
Find the Circuit Court calendar here.

Clarke County Department of Social Services (311 E. Main St., Berryville) is ONLY accepting walk-in clients on a case-by-case basis. Please call DSS first at 540-955-3700. For immediate help over weekends, call the DSS hotline at 800-552-7096.

Clarke County Economic Development & Tourism Office resource page for owners of small businesses includes links to agencies and organizations offering COVID-19-related assistance. For more information, contact Interim Director of Economic Development & Tourism Felicia Hart at 540-955-5107 or fhart@clarkecounty.gov.

Clarke County Extension & 4-H Offices (524 Westwood Rd., Berryville) are CLOSED until further notice. Contact 540-955-5164 or clefeve@vt.edu.

Clarke County Farmers’ Market is scheduled to OPEN on Saturday, June 13The market is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through October in the municipal parking lot at 100 S. Church St., Berryville. Contact manager@clarkecountyfarmersmarket.com. Go to clarkecountyfarmersmarket.com.

Clarke County Health Department office (100 N. Buckmarsh St., Berryville) is temporarily CLOSED on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. It is OPEN 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, providing full services. Call 540-955-1033. The Clarke County Health Department — part of the Virginia Department of Health — is within the Lord Fairfax Health District that serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Health Department services are available every day at the Frederick-Winchester Health Department (540-722-3470) or Warren County Health Department (540-635-3159). Reach the Frederick-Winchester Environmental Health office at 540-722-3480.

Clarke County Historical Association museum (32 E. Main St., Berryville) is CLOSED until further notice. Contact CCHA staff at 540-955-2600 or director@clarkehistory.org. Visit the new CCHA online activity site.

Clarke County Library in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center is CLOSED until further notice. Patrons are asked to return borrowed items using the book drop outside the government center. Book drops are emptied each day, and returned items are quarantined and sanitized before being placed back on shelves. Late fees will not be charged to accounts while the library is closed. Contact the library at 540-955-5144 or ccl@handleyregional.org. Go to handleyregional.org to explore online resources. 

Clarke County Office of Elections in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center (101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville) remains OPEN from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Contact the Office of Elections at 540-955-5168 or vote@clarkecounty.gov. For information, go to Virginia Department of Elections.

Clarke County Parks & Recreation programs are CANCELED until further notice, and indoor facilities in Clarke County Recreation Center (225 Al Smith Circle, Berryville) are CLOSED until further notice. The spring-summer edition of The Core — the department’s seasonal list of class schedules, programs, and special events — went to press prior to the coronavirus outbreak and Virginia’s stay-at-home order. The online edition of The Core is for information only. Registration for Parks & Recreation summer programs begin on dates to be announced. Parks & Recreation staff continue to monitor phone calls and respond to email. Contact the department at 540-955-5140 and ccpr@clarkecounty.gov.

Clarke County Parks & Recreation Summer Play Camp registration OPENS at 9 a.m. June 1 for county residents. Registration OPENS at 9 a.m. June 3 for non-county residents. Space is limited. Enrollment is first come, first served. A registration packet is REQUIRED. Request a packet via mseals@clarkecounty.gov or 540-955-5145.

Clarke County Public Schools free meal service is OPEN to anyone 18-years old or younger (not necessarily students). Pick up seven breakfasts and seven lunches — free of charge — between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through June 2 at one of two locations: Clarke County High School Entrance U (enter off Mosby Drive) and Boyce Elementary School parking lot. Find more COVID-19-related changes to school operations here.

Clarke County Public Schools has posted a comprehensive outline of food services, instructional services, and technology services available for students. Read the CCPS “COVID-19 Response and Planning” document.

Clarke County Sanitary Authority, which operates the public water and sewer systems in Boyce, Millwood, White Post (water only), and commercial uses at the Waterloo intersection, asks its customers to make payments using the county drive-thru kiosks located on the west side of the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center at 101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. Contact the CCSA at 540-955-5185 or ccsa@clarkecounty.gov.

Clarke County Senior Center in the Clarke County Recreation Center remains CLOSED, but its “Meals on Wheels” delivery continues for its regular clients. Anyone over age 60 who needs meals is encouraged to contact the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, which operates the senior center in Chet Hobert Park. Go to shenandoahaaa.com. Clarke County Senior Center staff is in the office Tuesdays through Fridays, delivering meals and conducting wellness checks. Call the Senior Center at 540-955-3572. 

Clarke County Sheriff’s Office is following, temporary changes in its response to calls for service as well as its office services. Contact Chief Deputy Travis Sumption at 540-955-5182 or tsumption@clarkecounty.gov with questions regarding the following:
• Deputies are using social distancing to avoid unnecessary physical contact with anyone not under arrest. This includes keeping a distance of six feet or more when possible and not shaking hands with members of the public.
• Deputies may wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves when physical contact is necessary.
• Deputies may take offense reports via phone, rather than in person, when possible.
• Deputies may request citizens to step out from their residence or places of employment to conduct business.
• Fingerprinting is suspended.
• Office visits, tours, ride-along programs are suspended.

FISH of Clarke County (36 E. Main St., Berryville) is now accepting donations with no-contact appointments. Donors should call the FISH helpline at 540-955-1823 to schedule a no-contact drop off. The FISH food pantry and thrift store remain CLOSED to the public until further notice. Staff is answering the helpline and getting food to those in need. Find more information at fishofclarke.org.

Free Food Bank managed by the Clarke County Department of Social Services at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church is CURB-SIDE PICK UP ONLY for regular clients. Call Clarke County Social Services at 540-955-3700.

Free Food Pantry in Millwood is operating on an APPOINTMENT-ONLY basis for existing clients who live in southern Clarke County. Contact Christ Church at 540-837-1112 or christchurch@cunninghamchapel.org.

Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging is accepting financial contributions for its Meals on Wheels program via PayPal and check. Find details at shenandoahaaa.com. To donate items such as paper products, sanitizer, shelf-stable foods, etc., contact Director Senior Center Operations Marsha LeBrecht at 540-551-5631 or m.lebrecht@shenandoahaaa.com to arrange receipt of donated items. SAAA operates the Clarke County Senior Center in Chet Hobert Park.

Town of Berryville has made the following changes to its curbside refuse collection service. These measures are necessary to limit employee exposure and to reduce collection time:
• Only toter contents will be collected.
• Bags and other waste left outside of refuse toters will not be collected.
• No additional toters will be issued. 
• Wednesday collection of bulk waste (couches, desks, mattresses, etc.) has been suspended until further notice.
• Monday curbside collection of yard waste continues unchanged until further notice.
• Weekly recycling continues unchanged until further notice.
Questions? Contact the Town at 540-955-1099 or customerservice@berryvilleva.gov. Go to berryvilleva.gov.

Watermelon Park Campground is OPEN ONLY for RV camping with no minimum night stay requirement and a 10-person limit per site. Make reservations online. All other camping, bathhouse, river activities, and playground remain CLOSED until further notice. Contact the park at 540-955-4803 or info@watermelonpark.com.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19:

COVID-19 is spread person to person. An infected person sneezes or coughs, particles are in the air and/or land on surfaces. Other people inhale the particles, or touch the same surface, before touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth. COVID-19 symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. Individuals who are most at risk are those ages 60 and older, those with chronic diseases, and those who have compromised immune systems.

COVID-19 symptoms (updated by CDC on April 27, 2020):
• fever
• cough
• shortness of breath
• chills
• repeated shaking with chills
• muscle pain
• headache
• sore throat
• new loss of taste or smell

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health, and the World Health Organization have identified the most effective ways to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the toilet, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water when hands are visibly dirty.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid crowds. Do not travel to high-risk areas.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick, even if it is not coronavirus.
• Completely cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then put the tissue in the trash.
• Or, cough/sneeze into your elbow/shoulder, placing your mouth on the sleeve.
• Seek medical attention if you are sick, but FIRST call your primary-care doctor, emergency room, or urgent-care center. Explain you may have been exposed, so they can arrange to receive you away from other patients.
• Patients should not use the emergency department unless they are seriously ill, such as having marked difficulty breathing. In the most severe situations, they should call 911 but, again, notify the EMTs of possible COVID-19 exposure so the EMT can prepare appropriately.

MORE CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION:

The Virginia Department of Health has two “COVID-19 information” telephone numbers:
877-ASK-VDH3 is a Richmond number.
540-771-3992 is our local Lord Fairfax Health District.
These numbers are for information only. The Virginia Department of Health and its Lord Fairfax Health District do not have facilities to provide primary care or patient testing. These numbers are not for individuals who need care for COVID-19. The Clarke County branch of the Virginia Department of Health on Buckmarsh Street in Berryville does not have the capability to provide the COVID-19 test.

Valley Health, which operates hospitals and medical facilities throughout West Virginia and the Top of Virginia region, has a designated phone number for questions about respiratory illness. Call the COVID-19 Respiratory Care Phone Line at 540-536-0380 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

COVID-19 Resources for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a web page maintained and regularly updated by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. It includes state and national resources for people who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

Go to Federal Trade Commission coronavirus scams to learn how thieves are taking advantage of the fear surrounding the coronavirus. The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Virginia State Police, and local law enforcement agencies are warning taxpayers to be alert to scams relating to COVID-19 economic impact payments. Read details here. Find more about COVID-19-related frauds at the U.S. Department of Justice.

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