COVID-19: Government and Community Updates as of April 9, 2020
BERRYVILLE, VA (April 9, 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, and the World Health Organization.
The Board of Supervisors has two committee meetings on Tuesday, April 14, in the second-floor main meeting room of the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center. Finance Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. and Finance Committee meeting begins at 10 a.m. These meetings are open to the public, but do not include “Citizens Comment” periods. The committees make recommendations that will go to the full Board on April 21. Note: No more than 10 people are allowed in the meeting room at any time, including Supervisors and staff. A TV monitor will be in the second-floor lobby, where no more than 10 individuals may watch the meetings. Residents are encouraged to watch the meetings live on the “Clarke County, Virginia” YouTube channel.
The Federal Trade Commission wants you to be aware of all the ways scammers are taking advantage of the fear surrounding the coronavirus. Go to FTC coronavirus scams.
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 on the U.S. Department of Justice website.
The National Park Service (NPS) has announced the full closure of Shenandoah National Park effective April 8 and until further notice. Virginia State Highways 211 and 33 remain accessible to pass-through. “The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority,” said Sally Hurlbert, management specialist for Shenandoah National Park. “The NPS is working service-wide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. The park will provide updates on the park website and social media channels.”
Unusually large crowds continue to go to public places, filling parking lots beyond capacity and, in some places, illegally parking along roads. Therefore, the following properties are CLOSED to the public in accordance with Virginia’s request that all residents stay at home until June 10.
• Appalachian Trail access parking lots are CLOSED. Find more AT alerts here.
• Blandy Experimental Farm & State Arboretum of Virginia is CLOSED.
• Long Branch Historic House & Farm is CLOSED.
• Shelters and playgrounds in Chet Hobert Park (225 Al Smith Circle, Berryville) are CLOSED until further notice. Chet Hobert Park remains OPEN.
Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield is OPEN dawn to dusk; however its covered pavilion is CLOSED, and it has no public restrooms. Parking is prohibited along the private road leading into the Cool Spring property (Parker Lane). Vehicles must be parked only in the Cool Spring parking lot. Visitors are asked to adhere to social-distancing standards, and to take trash with them when they leave. Dogs must be kept on leashes.
Twenty-one representatives of local governments, health-care facilities, and institutions of higher education signed a letter published in The Winchester Star, asking all residents of the Northern Shenandoah Valley to stay home. “By not leaving the region at all, and by not inviting those from outside the area who might already be infected, you will protect the community we all so dearly love.”
Clarke County Board of Supervisors chair David Weiss, Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper, Clarke County Director of Fire, EMS & Emergency Management Brian Lichty, and Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Bishop were among the leaders who signed the letter.
The letter concludes, “By maintaining a distance from others, we are protecting the entire community including those – from police and firefighters to health professionals and caregivers – who need to be on the front lines to fight this pandemic and keep our community safe.”
In March, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order Fifty-Five, which says all residents shall stay at home until June 10. Limited exceptions are traveling to and from work, seeking medical attention, obtaining goods and services such as groceries and prescriptions, care for family or household members, and engaging in outdoor activity. In all cases, individuals should distance themselves from others by at least 6 feet, and limit public gatherings to less than 10 people. EO55 is an amendment to Executive Order Fifty-Three issued to protect the health of all Virginians and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Residents who have concerns about enforcement of state-mandated restrictions should contact the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office or the Berryville Police Department at 540-955-1234. (Please do not use 911 for non-emergencies.)
As of April 9, Town of Berryville and Clarke County government offices remain OPEN with staff responding to phones and email. Residents who need to make payments or drop off papers should use Town and County drive-thru kiosks located on the west side of the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center at 101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. County and Town walk-up windows in the government center and the Clarke County Library are CLOSED. Contact Town offices at 540-955-1099 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact the County at 540-955-5100 or email@example.com.
Clarke County Public Schools (CCPS) Superintendent Chuck Bishop has prepared a comprehensive outline of food services, instructional services, and technology services available for students now that schools are closed for the remainder of the academic year. Read the CCPS “COVID-19 Response and Planning” document.
David Weiss addresses the Clarke County community regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in this March 24 video.
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.
As of April 9, these government meetings have been canceled:
• CANCELED Clarke Fire & EMS Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9
• CANCELED Clarke County School Board Policy Committee Meeting at 8:30 a.m. Friday, April 10
• CANCELED Clarke County School Board Work Session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 13
• CANCELED Clarke County Board of Supervisors Work Session at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 14
• CANCELED Clarke Conservation Easement Authority meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 16
Also in the Clarke County community as of April 9:
• CLOSED Appalachian Trail access parking lots
• CLOSED Blandy Experimental Farm & State Arboretum of Virginia
• CLOSED Long Branch Historic House & Farm
• CLOSED Shelters and playgrounds in Chet Hobert Park; the park remains OPEN
• CANCELED Berryville Main Street Yard Sale on Saturday, April 11. Contact 540-313-7467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• CANCELED Spring Outdoor Craft Show on Saturday, April 18, in Chet Hobert Park may be rescheduled. Contact Administrative Services Coordinator Tanya Myers at 540-955-5147 or email@example.com.
• RESCHEDULED Blue Ridge Point-to-Point Races on Sunday, April 19, at Woodley Farm are tentatively set on Saturday, Sept. 19. Go to blueridgehunt.org.
• CANCELED Art at the Mill spring show April 25 to May 10 at the Burwell Morgan Mill. Contact the Clarke County Historical Association at 540-955-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• POSTPONED Clarke County Farmers’ Market has postponed its May 2 opening until at least Saturday, June 13.
• RESCHEDULED Lucketts Spring Market originally May 15, 16, and 17 at the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds is now Sept. 18, 19 and 20 at the fairgrounds.
Appalachian Trail Conservancy asks all day hikers to stay off the trail in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. The ATC posted this message. Twenty-two miles of the Appalachian Trail run through Clarke County. Read more AT updates.
Barns of Rose Hill (95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville) is CLOSED through June 10. All tickets have been automatically refunded. Follow Barns of Rose Hill on Facebook, or go to barnsofrosehill.org for information about rescheduled performances. The annual gala, originally scheduled on June 6, has been moved to Saturday, Sept. 5. Contact the Barns at 540-955-2004 or email@example.com.
Blandy Experimental Farm is CLOSED. Go to blandy.virginia.edu/home
Chet Hobert Park (225 Al Smith Circle) remains OPEN; however, all shelters and playgrounds are CLOSED. Visitors who use the 102-acre, county-owned 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. Public 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Contact shelter manager Jenny Wright at 540-955-5104 or email@example.com. View animals available for adoption at petfinder.com.
Clarke County Building Department, Clarke County Department of Planning & Zoning, and Town of Berryville Planning & Zoning Department 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), where a telephone is available to contact staff should you have questions. Bins are in place to receive applications, forms, and plans. Payments are accepted via County and Town drive-thru kiosks located on the west side of the government center building.
Clarke County Courts: All non-emergency and non-essential court hearings across the Commonwealth of Virginia are suspended through April 26, at the directive of the Supreme Court of Virginia in Richmond. Clerks’ offices remain open. Individuals who have cases before April 26 that are non-emergency and non-essential will receive notices by mail with new court dates. The Virginia Supreme Court has identified the following as emergency and/or essential cases:
- quarantine or isolation matters
- bail review hearings
- protective order hearings
- emergency child protective or custody hearings
- civil commitment hearings
If you are unsure your case will be continued, or you wish to request a continuance, contact Circuit Court at 540-955-5117; General District Court at 540-955-5128; and Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court at 540-955-5136.
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 Extension & 4-H Offices (524 Westwood Road, Berryville) are CLOSED through April 26. Contact 540-955-5164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clarke County Farmers’ Market has postponed its May 2 opening until at least Saturday, June 13. The market, located in the municipal parking lot at 100 S. Church St., Berryville, is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through October. Contact email@example.com. Go to clarkecountyfarmersmarket.com.
Clarke County Historical Association museum (32 E. Main St., Berryville) is CLOSED until further notice. All CCHA events in April are CANCELED, including Art at the Mill spring show at the Burwell-Morgan Mill. CCHA staff monitor email and phone messages at 540-955-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the new CCHA online activity site.
Clarke County Library in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center is CLOSED until further notice, and all its programs are CANCELED. Contact the library at 540-955-5144 or email@example.com. Go to handleyregional.org to explore the library’s online resources.
Clarke County Office of Elections in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center (101 Chalmers Ct., Berryville) remains OPEN for absentee voting and to register voters. Virginia Department of Elections is encouraging “Absentee by Mail” voting for the Town of Berryville General Election on May 5. All register voters within town limits can vote for Mayor and Ward 1 and Ward 3 council members. Contact the Clarke County Office of Elections at 540-955-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about Absentee Voting, go to Virginia Department of Elections.
Clarke County Parks & Recreation programs are canceled through April 26, and all indoor facilities in Clarke County Recreation Center are closed for public use through April 23. Registration for all Parks & Recreation summer programs begins Monday, April 27, for county residents and on Wednesday, April 29, for non-Clarke residents. The spring edition of The Core — the department’s seasonal list of class schedules, programs, and special events — will soon be distributed in print and electronic form. Parks & Recreation staff continue to monitor phone calls and respond to email. Contact the department at 540-955-5140 and email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clarke County Senior Center in the Clarke County Recreation Center is CLOSED, but staff is in the office Tuesdays through Fridays. Call the Senior Center at 540-955-3572. Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging (SAAA) is accepting financial contributions for its Meals on Wheels program via PayPal and check. Find details at shenandoahaaa.com. Individuals who want to donate items such as paper products, sanitizer, shelf-stable foods, etc., should ontact Director Senior Center Operations Marsha LeBrecht at 540-551-5631 or email@example.com to make arrangements to receive donated items. SAAA operates the Clarke County Senior Center in Chet Hobert Park. Its staff continues to deliver meals and conduct wellness checks for its regular Clarke County clients.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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) food pantry and thrift store are CLOSED to the public until further notice. Staff is answering the helpline — 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday — and getting food to those in need. Call FISH at 540-955-1823. Go to fishofclarke.org.
Long Branch Historic House & Farm (830 Long Branch Lane, Boyce) has CANCELED events through June 10 and has CLOSED its grounds. Contact Long Branch at 540-837-1856 or email@example.com. Go to visitlongbranch.org.
Monthly 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.
Monthly Free Food Pantry in Millwood is operating on an APPOINTMENT-ONLY basis for the foreseeable future for existing clients who live in southern Clarke County. Contact Christ Church at 540-837-1112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. Go to berryvilleva.gov.
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 – fever, cough, shortness of breath – 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.
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 make arrangements 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.
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.
MORE CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION: