March 17, 2020 - Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, City Manager Mary Bunting and members of the city’s coronavirus task force went on Facebook Live Tuesday to answer questions about COVID-19 and the city’s continuing response. Tuck introduced Bunting and other task force members, including Police Chief Terry Sult, Fire Chief Jason Monk, Emergency Management Coordinator Hui-Shan Walker, and Communications Strategist Robin McCormick.
Bunting began the event by explaining that the city developed plans years ago for something like the ongoing crisis and, after updating and implementing those plans, is focused on “slowing the spread of this disease.”Monk and Sult both said their departments have equipment and personnel in place to respond to the emergency. Sult said the public may see some changes in how officers respond to police calls – trying to maintain social distancing, for example, to protect both citizens and officers – but they are prepared to answer 911 and fire calls. Monk said they are also “poised and ready” to work with local health care providers.
Some of the questions asked during the Facebook Live program:
Q: Why is the beach still open?
A: Bunting said the health department guidance is that it is not unsafe to be outdoors. And, It’s important … that people be able to get outside, get fresh air, maintain their mental health and maintain their physical health.” She said the city did choose to close the golf courses because the public would come into contact with staff.
Q: What about the homeless or vulnerable people (such as those who might be facing eviction)?
A: Bunting said the city is not in a position to work with landlords or others. She said the city hopes that all businesses, landlords, and others will work with people who have urgent needs. She also said the city’s Department of Human Services continues to operate, and the city has homeless providers who have day services and the city continues to work on a case by case basis to address individual needs.
Walker encouraged residents to follow CDC guidelines on good hygiene, including washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, to avoid touching your face, and social distancing by staying six feet or more from others whenever possible.
Other topics discussed by the panel included regional cooperation by localities, continued service by Hampton Roads Transit, the possibility of converting a closed city school into an emergency hospital, and the possibility of city employees working from home or elsewhere. You can go online to see the complete Facebook presentation.
The Peninsula Health Department has set up a special coronavirus call center from 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. at 757-594-7069. You can also go online for more information on the coronavirus: