Jefferson Madison Regional Library facilities and several local businesses are closing temporarily, and Albemarle County is delaying its fiscal year 2021 budget process and canceling other meetings, all due to the coronavirus.
As of Sunday evening, there have been 45 confirmed cases of the virus, including one death, in Virginia. There are no known cases in the Charlottesville area.
According to a statement from Albemarle Board of Supervisors Chairman Ned Gallaway, he has asked County Executive Jeff Richardson to present a revised budget schedule that will “delay further activity on the budget process and extend the schedule.”
“The budget process directs our investments in the community’s priorities, and public participation is a critical part of this process,” Gallaway said in the statement. “In the face of COVID-19, inviting the public to attend town halls, budget work sessions and public hearings is not responsible.”
Richardson will bring forward the revised schedule during a budget work session at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Lane Auditorium at the County Office Building-McIntire.
The Board of Supervisors will still hold its regular meeting Wednesday, but it will now start at 5 p.m. and have a modified agenda.
Albemarle is canceling all other budget-related meetings, including a Tuesday evening fire station town hall, and all other public authority, board and committee meetings through the month of March.
All JMRL facilities are now scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Monday and will remain closed to the public until the end of March. The library system is encouraging patrons to use the variety of eResources available at jmrl.org/on-download.htm.
All library materials due in March will have their due dates changed to April after 6 p.m. Monday.
The Brooks Family YMCA will remain open, but on Monday will begin to implement social distancing measures that have been recommended by national, state and local health officials.
In an email to members, staff said they are exploring providing Y services to support doctors, nurses, technicians and medical staff with caring for their children during this time, and will provide updates.
Many programs at the facility, such as youth sports, group exercise classes, the Diabetes Prevention Program and swim lessons, are now canceled.
The closures and program suspensions come as all public schools begin a two-week closure ordered by Gov. Ralph Northam. Many private schools have temporarily closed, as well.
City schools update
Monday’s workday for staff at Charlottesville City Schools is canceled, according to an email that was sent to staff. Twelve-month employees and personnel who are preparing for food deliveries on Tuesday are still asked to come in at 9 a.m.
Parents can pick up medicine and personal things at the schools from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. If possible, parents are asked to call the school ahead of time, so the items will be ready for pickup.
Band and orchestra students at Walker Upper Elementary, Buford Middle and Charlottesville High schools can pick up instruments outside the schools from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.
A number of local restaurants and retail businesses have announced that they have closed due to coronavirus concerns.
Ivan Rekosh, owner of Zocalo on the Downtown Mall, announced in a Facebook post that he’s closing the restaurant for at least a week.
“Like you, I currently have a lot of questions and am grasping for answers,” he said in the post, directed toward the area’s restaurant community. “At the moment, I don’t have answers for my staff and their livelihood. At the moment, I don’t have answers for my children and my livelihood. I don’t know how I’ll pay salaries, health insurance or rent. I do know that the most humane thing we can do is to look out for one another, and social distancing is the best way to do that right now.”
A Facebook post on local restaurant Rapture’s page said it will be “closing its doors indefinitely.”
“My hope [is] that if a restaurant of Rapture’s stature — over 21 years on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall — does it, with catastrophic person/financial consequences — then others won’t be afraid of the appearances, and will choose to close too,” the post said.
Retail stores — including Blue Whale Books, O’Suzannah, Rock Paper Scissors and J. Fenton TOO — had signs on their doors Sunday that said they were closing temporarily.
Ragged Mountain Running Shop announced in an email to customers that it was temporarily closing its doors for the foreseeable future, but would still be open online and by phone.
“Due to the close proximity of customers in our store on a normal day, not to mention when the store is busy, in addition to the high percentage of our customers that are over the age of 60 (who are at a much, much higher risk of having severe complications from this virus), we don’t feel we can continue to keep our doors open,” the Lorenzoni family, which owns the iconic Charlottesville shop, said in the email.