BUCKHANNON – Groups of 10 or more people are no longer permitted to congregate within the corporate limits of the City of Buckhannon, and city officials are strongly recommending residents self-quarantine until COVID-19 is contained.
Buckhannon City Council on Thursday approved a handful of emergency measures recommended by Mayor David McCauley, that, among other actions, prohibit groups of 10 or more people from gathering inside city limits. The 10-plus rule aligns with President Donald Trump’s “15 Days to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus” guidelines issued last week.
“Gatherings of 10 or more people should not occur anywhere within our corporate limits and meetings of 10 or more City employees shall not occur,” reads one of the directives.
Other measures approved during the March 19 council meeting include:
- The closing of City Hall, 70 E. Main St., to the general public, who will not be permitted physical access except for general deliveries. Other facilities closed to anyone other than municipal employees including: the Stockert Youth & Community Center, the Public Safety Complex, water and sewer plants, city Streets’ garage, the Colonial Theatre and the Charles W. Gibson Memorial Library.
- The suspension of municipal court until further notice, likely 30 days or more. For assistance with any court-related matters, please call 304-472-1651 for assistance.
- The closing of public park bathrooms. Although city parks and the Riverwalk Trail will remain open to the public, the city has opted to close public park restrooms “due to recurrent theft and vandalism,” McCauley said. Park pavilion rentals have also been suspended until further notice. In addition, people patronizing the park should practice social distancing by maintaining a six-foot buffer between one another, and the Buckhannon Police Department will be monitoring parks to ensure gatherings of 10-plus people do not occur.
- No termination of the city’s essential utility services – water service, sewer service and trash pickup –will occur while the state of emergency is in effect. However, the city will hold all customers “fully accountable” for the cost of utility services following the lifting of the state of emergency.
Other measures include permitting supervisors to authorize some city employees to work from home, although it will be very few, and ordering city departments to engage in regular disinfection of work areas to minimize exposure to the virus. The city is also issuing special 10-minute parking spaces to restaurants and caterers who continue to serve takeout during this time.
During his statement, McCauley said the city is working with county and state officials regarding the threat of COVID-19.
“Everyone in our City organization is here to minimize as much as possible the threat posed to our citizenry by Covid-19,” he said. “We will be having twice per week teleconferences with health department, healthcare providers and county representatives. We will continue to be fully collaborative and interactive as public officials as we collectively address this health crisis.”
“I would be remiss if I failed to observe the stalwart service to this community of not only our excellent City staff, but the hospital and healthcare employees who are on the front line of battling this threat.,” the mayor added. “Also, we appreciate the staffs at our grocery stores who are working overtime to stock shelves so that we may all continue to be fed. At some point in the future, we’ll celebrate Walmart Day, as the efforts of their store’s employees have been monumental during this crisis.
“We are all in this together, and I know as we get through the coming weeks, that we’ll remain strong as a community with minimal impact upon the health of our residents. Anyone having an emergency should contact 911 as you normally would. The best source of information about Covid-19 remains the Centers for Disease Control website.”
Residents may also check the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources’ COVID-19 update page.