COVID-19-City services update

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:00

Below is an update regarding the City’s response during the Coronavirus pandemic. Previous news releases are also included below for your convenience.

Meter Parking Enforcement

The Winchester Parking Authority has suspended enforcement of the on-street and parking lot metered parking spaces until April 3, 2020. Hourly and monthly parking charges in the four downtown parking garages will remain the same. Metered parking is always free on weekends and 6 pm-9 am Monday-Friday. Whether or not to extend the enforcement suspension will be evaluated at a later date. www.winchesterva.gov/parking

Public Transit

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, all Winchester Transit and paratransit routes will operate from 8:50 am-4:55 pm.
  • Beginning Saturday, March 20, 2020, there will be no trolley service until further notice.
  • Effective immediately, there is no service to Jim Barnett Park, WMC Wellness Center (except for scheduled Physical Therapy patients), Shenandoah University, and Apple Blossom Mall due to closures.
  • Effective immediately, Winchester Transit will follow the limits set by Governor Northam and will not allow more than 10 passengers on a bus at any given time.

Online Resources

The City’s Coronavirus web page is updated daily with updates and additional information: www.winchesterva.gov/coronavirus.

The Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau has created an online Travel Advisory web page to help locals, visitors and businesses during the pandemic. The new page provides a central location for up-to-date information about special offerings from local businesses, attraction closings, postponed or canceled major events, travel guidance, and more. Link: https://visitwinchesterva.com/winchester-travel-advisory-updates/

For Businesses

On March 17, 2020, City Council approved a resolution (R-2020-13) to direct the City Treasurer and Commissioner of the Revenue to not impose penalties and interest upon certain local taxes (meals, transient occupancy and admission taxes) during the pandemic. This will allow businesses additional time to pay certain taxes without penalty interest and collection activities. Council also strongly recommended that the City Treasurer not undertake collection actions upon any business that fails to pay any of the taxes subject to this relief.

The City’s Development Services Department has offered to provide assistance to any City business to help them get though these difficult times. Call Shawn Hershberger, Director, at 540-722-7577 or Shirley Dodson, Business and Community Development Manager, at 540-667-1815, ext. 1663. Development Services staff working with Frederick and Clarke Counties, the regional chamber, and SBDC to create a central business resource page. Link will be provided at the Development Services website: www.developwinchesterva.com.

Development Services is also working with the Virginia Department of Small Business, regional economic development agencies, and the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center (LFSBDC) to promote their business assistance programs and loans. The LFSBDC has Small Business Administration Disaster Relief Loans now available on their website: https://lfsbdc.org/has-your-business-been-impacted-by-covid-19/.

Upcoming Council Meetings

The City Council meetings regularly scheduled on March 24, 2020 has been canceled. The alternate date is March 31 at 6 pm.

“The March 31 Council meeting is open to the public; however, we request that community members refrain from attending in person to protect yourselves and others,” stated Mayor John David Smith, Jr. “I urge you to follow the recommendations by the CDC and State officials concerning group gatherings and consider participating in the meeting remotely. We will get through this and be stronger and more prepared in the future, but we must do it together.”

The City requests that community members who are interested in watching the meeting, do so remotely using one of the below options:

Watch live or any time after the meeting via the City’s online agenda portal: https://winchesterva.civicweb.net/Portal/.

Watch live or watch the replay the following Wednesday at noon or on Thursday at 6 pm on Comcast cable channel 6. The extra replay date on the following Wednesday was added due to the pandemic to give the public more opportunities to watch the meetings.

For those who’d like to address Council on any topic or provide comment for a public hearing item on the agenda, please do so using the online public comment form at https://www.opentownhall.com/portals/311/forum_home?phase=open (coming soon). All comments submitted will be provided to Council. To ensure Council receives your comments before the March 31 meeting, please submit by 8 am on Monday, March 30.

Public Meetings

At this time, all public meetings of the City of Winchester’s boards, authorities and commissions have been canceled through March 27.

Circuit Court Clerk

On March 19, the Winchester Circuit Court ordered the Clerk’s office to no longer issue marriage licenses or process passport applications to non-residents of Virginia until further notice of the Court.

Previous News Releases