March 24, 2020 – The closure of Hampton city buildings to the public will continue until further notice, announced City Manager Mary Bunting today.
The announcement was in the wake of Gov. Ralph Northam’s declaration that his order banning gatherings of more than 10 people would extend through Thursday, April 23, and that schools would be closed for the rest of the school year.
“The extended closure is in keeping with the absolute need to ensure as much social distancing as possible to help flatten the curve of this disease so that our medical systems can appropriately handle COVID-19 and other sick patients,” Bunting said.
Bunting noted that she will review the status of the buildings as new information from the Governor and Health Department officials becomes available.
She also noted that essential services would continue to be available, and that “essential” may have an expanded definition in this longer-term closure than it does in a weather-related closure that lasts a day or two.
Of course, emergency services, such as police, fire, EMS, and 911 will be operating, she said, but so will trash and recycling pickup, stormwater work, payroll and most other functions.
“The City of Hampton has made some investments in technology that allow us to serve citizens through internet and telephone options,” she said. Also, she said, some employees will be deployed in different ways. Staff at city parks may not be running programs, but they will continue maintenance and also remind people enjoying nature that they should not be gathering in groups of 10 or more.
“It is imperative that we all follow social-distancing,” Bunting said. “If we can slow the spread of this disease, more people will be able to survive it.”
Bunting, along with Police Chief Terry Sult, Fire Chief Jason Monk and Hampton City Schools Superintendent Jeffery Smith, will answer questions from the public on Facebook Live at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, at the city’s page, @HamptonVA, and it will also be shared on the schools page @HamptonCSchools.