Montgomery County Administrator Craig Meadows, Town of Blacksburg Manager Marc Verniel and Town of Christiansburg Manager Randy Wingfield have issued a joint statement declaring a state of emergency in the three governmental entities. The local state of emergency was declared effective as of this past Tuesday.
A follow-up statement from the three administrators announced the closing of all county and town government facilities as of 5 p.m. Thursday. That statement declared, “In response to COVID-19 (coronavirus), Montgomery County and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg are closing government facilities to the public, effective at 5 p.m. on Thursday. March 19. The closures will be revisited and any revisions announced during the week of March 30.
“Public safety functions to include law enforcement and emergency services are still operational. However, citizens will be asked additional health screening questions by 911 operators, law enforcement and fire responders.
During this time, the following local government functions will continue: emergency services and public safety; the Blacksburg transit service, operations at the Montgomery County Courthouse but some restrictions do apply, utility operations, and operations at consolidated sites (Montgomery County) and garbage and recycling pickup (Blacksburg and Christiansburg residents)
The following government facilities are closed to the public: Blacksburg Transit, the Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center, Montgomery County human services offices; the Montgomery County Public Safety Building; the Montgomery County Government Center; the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library branches; the Town of Blacksburg Municipal Building, the Town of Blacksburg and Town of Christiansburg recreation and aquatic centers; and the Town of Christiansburg Town Hall
The statement announcing the closings concluded, “We appreciate your patience and understanding as we do our best to continue necessary local government functions while keeping our employees safe during this time.”
Earlier in the week, the state of emergency was declared “as a precautionary measure over the global outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus).”
The state of emergency declaration goes on to say, “While the New River Health District states there are no presumed positive COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in Southwest Virginia at this time, this declaration allows local governments to request and secure local, state and federal resources should they be deemed necessary.
“The local emergency declarations follow the executive order issued by Governor Ralph S. Northam last Thursday (Mar. 12), declaring a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the public health threat posed by COVID-19 (coronavirus).
‘The local state of emergency gives Montgomery County and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg the authority to mobilize resources for citizens in response to the potential COVID-19 outbreak. It also gives the entities authority to request mutual aid from regional, state and other governmental entities. In addition, this declaration allows critical functions to continue and permits action to protect public health and safety.
“As a community, we each have an individual responsibility to practice good hygiene and to isolate ourselves when we are feeling ill. It is incredibly important to adhere to the public health safety measures outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Individuals who appear perfectly healthy may have compromised immune systems, and the elderly are at tremendous risk. We should all keep these individuals in mind when making our own personal decisions.
“We understand that the daily needs such as obtaining food, medicine, and fueling your vehicle cannot be completely avoided. However, we ask that you please do your part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our community by avoiding contact with crowds.”