City halls, government offices close or make changes across the Shenandoah Valley

Credit: WHSV
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(WHSV) — As COVID-19 continues to spread across Virginia and around the world, a number of our local government city halls and county offices have closed their doors

Others are still operating, but with modified procedures to follow social distancing and stick to Gov. Northam's Virginia order limiting gatherings to fewer people than 10.

Below is a breakdown of the current situation for city halls and county offices across our area:

Augusta County

Augusta County is closing its Government Center to the public as of 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, until further notice.

Many of the services that Augusta County citizens are used to receiving in person can be completed online, over the phone, and through email though.

The county has a website – www.AugustaCountyVA.gov/covid19 – listing common services with instructions for citizens on how to accomplish their needs. People can also call 540-245-5600 for more guidance or with questions. The Augusta County department webpages under the government tab also offer detailed information on services and steps to take.

They also encourage people to use the drop-box and drive-through window, which are located under the portico close to the main entrance near the flags on the government center. The drive-through window will be open from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“We have been preparing for the ability to deliver services through alternative means,” said Timothy Fitzgerald, County Administrator. “I feel fortunate that our staff are able to nimbly transition to different processes and workflow while still continuing the work for the County.”

Staff will continue to report to work to handle calls, questions, and emails, and help the public through remote services.

Waynesboro

The city of Waynesboro will be closing its Charles Yancey Municipal Building (City Hall) as of 5 p.m. on March 20 as well.

The city says the treasurer's drive-thru window and drop-box will remain open throughout the closure.

They encourage citizens to conduct business online, by telephone or by email. You can visit www.waynesboro.va.us to explore online services or get contact information for city departments. You can also call 540-245-6600 for more information.

"The City apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause," they said in a statement. "The City staff is committed to working with our citizens through alternatives to face to face contact as efficiently and responsively as possible."

Staunton

The city of Staunton announced on Friday that the Staunton City Hall and the Irene Givens Administration Building in Montgomery Hall Park will be closed to the public as of 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23.

On Monday, the city plans to roll out a new online resource with streamline access to all city needs.

For now, the city encourages everyone who needs to do business with the city to use www.ci.staunton.va.us for online services or to contact them by phone or email. A city directory can be found at https://www.ci.staunton.va.us/government/contact-us.

You can also pay using the city dropbox at the corner of Central Avenue and West Beverley Street next to Clocktower Convenience.

City sanitation crews also issued a reminder on Friday for people to not flush disinfecting wipes down the toilet, because they do not disintegrate like toilet paper and are causing major clogs in pipes.

Rockingham County

As of Thursday, the Rockingham County Administration building was closed to the public, and some meetings have been changed around.

The county is asking, if you have to fill out paperwork, to fill it out online at rockinghamcountyva.gov or drop it off at one of the bins located in the lobby of the building.

Harrisonburg

As of March 26, the city of Harrisonburg will close city hall and all municipal buildings to the public amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city says all essential city services will continue and all city employees will continue to work.

Every department of the city will still be accessible by phone and email, and most services through the city are available either online at www.harrisonburgva.gov or through the city drop boxes at City Hall and the Department of Public Utilities.

According to a statement by the city, the decision to close municipal buildings to the public will not affect police or fire, sanitation, or transportation services.

City offices are continuing on their normal hours.

Harrisonburg says they will continue to hold city council meetings and that members of the public can still attend.

However, they will be limiting members of the public in the chambers to 10 at most in accordance with Gov. Northam's order on gatherings, and will require anyone attending to exercise social distancing.

They're encouraging the public to, instead, take part in meetings remotely. A phone line will be live at 540-437-2687 for city residents to call in and speak with city council during the public comments portions of meetings. People can also provide comments prior to the meeting online at www.harrisonburgva.gov/agenda-comments.

For the meeting itself, it can be watched live on the city website, on Public Education Government Channel 3, or on the city's Facebook page.

“It’s important that we all work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” Harrisonburg City Manager Eric D. Campbell said. “Measures like this are vital to protecting the health and wellness of our residents and visitors. We will continue to provide all City services during this time, and residents should reach out to us if they have any questions or are in need of services.”

The city of Harrisonburg is under a declaration of a local emergency that was made on March 16, allowing the city to more quickly allocate needed resources in response to COVID-19, and to potentially be reimbursed for funds spent in that response.

• You can call 540-432-7701 to schedule appointments with staff members at City Hall or to discuss dropping off plans, applications, or other documents.
• Fire houses are closed to the public, but you can ring the doorbell at a station for assistance. In cases of emergency, still call 911.
• You may see firefighters wearing face masks, gloves, and other protective gear while responding to call – That's a precaution to protect both you and the first responders.
• The city's Recycling Convenience Center and Mobile Recycling Unit have been suspended until further notice.
• Anyone with questions about public access permits, street maintenance, sanitation and other Public Works programs should call 540-434-5928.
• Anyone with questions about planning, zoning, building codes & permits and other Community Development programs should call 540-432-7700. Many permits and applications can be completed online at www.harrisonburgva.gov/community-development.
• The Hardesty-Higgins Visitor Center is closed to the public. Anyone with Tourism questions should call Jennifer Bell at 540-432-8940 or email Jennifer.Bell@HarrisonburgVA.gov.
• All Parks & Rec indoor facilities are currently closed. Anyone with Parks & Rec questions should call 540-433-2474 or email parksandrecreation@harrisonburgva.gov.
• City bus routes and paratransit service is still operating, though JMU routes are currently offline. All fares have been waived. Questions about service should be directed to 540-432-0492.
• The City is not disconnecting water service for delinquent accounts at this time, but billing for usage will continue and payment will be required at a later date. Call 540-434-9959 to speak with someone about your bill if you have questions.

Page County

Page County has closed the County Government Center to the public, effective Monday, March 23, until further notice.

Offices will still be available by phone and email during the closure.

There's a drive-thru at the rear of the building where they say business can be conducted with the Treasurer, Commissioner of the Revenue, and Building & Zoning.

There is also a drop box at the rear of the building that is available to the public 24 hours a day. The phone number for each Page County office is listed below:

Administration: 540-743-4142
Children’s Services: 540-743-1003
Community Development (Building and Zoning): 540-743-6674 or 540-743-1324
Economic Development: 540-743-1216
Finance Department: 540-743-4998
Fire/EMS: 540-743-4142
GIS: 540-743-7316
Recreation: 540-743-1180
Treasurer: 540-743-3975
Voter Registration: 540-743-3986
Personal Property, Business License, Lodging & Meals Tax: 540-743-3840
Real Estate, Tax Relief for the Elderly, State Income Taxes: 540-743-4909
Land Use: 540-743-4802

Town of Shenandoah

The Shenandoah Town Hall and Computer Center closed to the public as of March 17.

While town hall remains closed, the town has the following policies in place:

Town of SHenandoah guidelines