Downtown Waynesboro

The City of Waynesboro declared a local emergency, effective 6 p.m. on Monday, in response to COVID-19.

City Manager Mike Hamp sent a statement declaring a local emergency in Waynesboro in response to the impact of COVID-19, known as coronavirus, in the region and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Gary Critzer, director of emergency management in the city of Waynesboro, said that the last time Waynesboro was in a state of local emergency was in 2018 due to high water in the area.

Waynesboro Public Library will be closed to patrons through at least April 15, according to the statement, “depending on health conditions in the community and region” by that date.

All city-sponsored events, meetings, gatherings or other scheduled events, groups meant to be held in a city building or on city property meant to host 50 individuals or more are cancelled, with the exception of City Council meetings and the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, according to the city’s declaration.

“Information regarding remote participation in the Planning Commission meeting will be posted on the city’s City Hall Facebook page,” the statement said.

No new reservations will be taken for the next eight weeks regarding meetings held by outside groups in city buildings, according to the statement.

The city referred everyone to the Virginia Department of Health’s guidance for “cancelling or modifying an event not associated with the city.”

Local emergency does not mean that “core and essential services” in Waynesboro will be disrupted. The core and essential services provided by public safety agencies and the department of public works will continue.

“Public safety, fire, EMS, 9-1-1... waste water treatment and water treatment facilities will be operating as normal,” Critzer said.

Waynesboro reminded its citizens to practice recommended hygiene and social distancing, remain home if not feeling well, and encouraged citizens to “conduct business online or by phone” in an effort to “preserve public health.”

Critzer said the city’s decisions are being made based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health.

“We will get through it,” Critzer said. “We ask people not to panic, but to look at the facts.”

Updates may be found on the city’s website at www.waynesboro.va.us.

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