Chesterfield County, Virginia's Weekly E-Newsletter
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
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County Response to COVID-19
Governor Announces
Phase One Guidelines to
Slowly Ease Public Health Restrictions
Governor Ralph Northam signed  Executive Order Sixty-One   and presented a detailed framework for the first phase of the “ Forward Virginia ” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. The  Phase One  guidelines will be implemented when the data meets the public health criteria outlined by the Commonwealth. The new executive order modifies public health guidance in  Executive Order Fifty-Three  and  Executive Order Fifty-Five  and establishes guidelines for Phase One.

The Governor’s phased approach is grounded in science and data and includes mitigation strategies to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus through enhanced safety practices. The plan allows localities to consider delaying implementation of Phase One guidelines based on local conditions.

Under Phase One, the Commonwealth will move to a Safer at Home strategy, which continues the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people and maintains recommendations for social distancing, teleworking and wearing face coverings. All businesses should make modifications to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitization of high contact surfaces and provide enhanced workplace safety measures. 

Many of the restrictions put in place by Executive Order Fifty-Three will remain in place in Phase One. Entertainment and public amusement venues will remain closed and beaches will continue to be open only for exercise and fishing. Childcare centers remain open for children of working families. Overnight summer camps will remain closed in Phase One.


Chesterfield Health Department to Host Free COVID-19 Testing this Week
As part of a statewide push to increase testing across the commonwealth, the  Chesterfield Health Department   is hosting free COVID-19 testing events at  two locations this week :

Wednesday, May 13 at 9 a.m. 
Greenleigh Mobile Home Park
14006 Stevenhurst Drive

Friday, May 15 at 9 a.m.
Bellwood Drive-In/Flea Market
9201 Jefferson Davis Highway

Testing is for individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms and is free for uninsured or underinsured persons.
While some appointments will be reserved for walk-ups that morning,  testing is limited and appointments should be made prior to arriving.

Residents who may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as defined by the  Virginia Department of Health  (VDH) or the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC),  should call the Chesterfield Health Department at 804-318-8207 starting Monday, May 11  to make an appointment for testing at one of the two sites.

Spanish speaking staff also will be present during the testing event.

The  Chesterfield Health District  is a state division of VDH that includes the counties of Chesterfield and Powhatan and the City of Colonial Heights.
Chesterfield Courts:
Phase One Begins May 18
Phase One of the Chesterfield County Courts increasing their docket capacity will begin next week on Monday, May 18, 2020. This video highlights some of the processes that have been put in place to reduce risks associated with COVID-19.
County Planning to Reopen Some Facilities
A tiered approach to reopening county facilities closed by the COVID-19 pandemic could see outdoor park amenities and some libraries reopening very soon.

A multifaceted county task force is developing a plan aimed at the gradual reopening of county facilities while continuing health precautions in accordance with state and  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) guidelines, including ongoing spatial distancing, crowd limits and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

In accordance with some state restrictions being lifted to allow certain nonessential businesses or operations to reopen, Chesterfield plans to reopen pickleball, tennis and basketball courts and playgrounds at county parks as soon as Tuesday, May 12 and reopen select libraries possibly by Monday, June 1. Community recreation centers, as well as the popular Rockwood Nature Center, are also expected to open June 1.

All reopen dates are tentative and subject to change based on data showing how well we are controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

Chesterfield Registrar's Office Encourages County Voters to Request Absentee Ballot
To help limit the spread of COVID-19, the  Chesterfield County General Registrar’s Office  is strongly encouraging its registered voters to seek an absentee by mail ballot for the Tuesday, June 23 Democratic and Republican Primary elections.

Voters may choose  reason code 2A, disability or illness ,  to vote absentee in the elections, per Governor Ralph Northam’s  Executive Order 56  to change the date of the June primary elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While absentee voting begins Friday, May 8, the last day to  request an absentee ballot  through the mail is Tuesday, June 16. All requests for absentee ballots by mail must be received by the Registrar’s Office at 9848 Lori Road by 5 p.m.

For more information regarding requesting absentee ballot applications online, fax and in-person, visit the  Registrar’s Office webpage .

While state and local election officials are encouraging voters to seek an absentee by mail ballot because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, voters planning to vote in person may continue to do so. However, please anticipate longer than normal wait times as there will be a limited number of voting booths at each location.

Furthermore, the Chesterfield Registrar’s Office is requesting all voters who plan to vote in-person, either absentee or on Election Day, wear a face mask for your protection and continue to follow social distancing and health measures as outlined by the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   (CDC).

For more information,  read the full news release
Drive-Thru the Metro Richmond Zoo!
Treasurer's Office: Receipts Reminder
The Office of the Treasurer would like to remind citizens that there are multiple ways to request that a receipt for tax payments be emailed to you:

  • By Phone: Call 804-748-1201.

  • By Dropbox: Using the dropbox outside the Treasurer’s Office to deliver your payment? Simply write a note on the invoice coupon: “please send receipt." Just remember to include your email address!

Also, a payment confirmation number is provided for online and telephone payments.

Personal property taxes and real estate taxes are due Friday, June 5, 2020. Please note that personal property taxes and first-half real estate taxes not paid on or before the upcoming June 5 deadline may be subject to a late payment penalty, interest and an administrative fee .

Those interested in applying for a tax payment plan may do so through the online application accessible via the  Treasurer’s webpage  or by calling the Treasurer’s Office at 804-748-1201.

For more information about tax payment options, please visit the  Office of the Treasurer webpage  and watch the educational video  COVID-19 Tax Payments  on the  Chesterfield County YouTube channel .
May 19 Planning Commission
to be Held Virtually
Due to the COVID-19 health emergency, the Tuesday, May 19 Planning Commission Meeting will be  held remotely via Microsoft Teams  as an effort to decrease the spread of the virus. The changes are designed to accommodate public input while encouraging the public to continue self-quarantining and practicing social distancing, as recommended by health officials. The Public Meeting Room, located at 10001 Ironbridge Road, will be closed.

Citizens are encouraged to use the online comment form at  www.chesterfield.gov/cpccomments  to provide comment on public hearings regarding zoning cases. Those wishing to comment must submit a new online form for each public hearing they want to comment on. Only one comment per person per public hearing will be accepted. The online form can also be used to comment on unscheduled matters. In addition to the form, comments can also be received by email at  planning@chesterfield.gov , or by calling 804-748-1125.

The Planning Commission will accept all public comments (online portal, telephone message and email)  until 5 p.m. on Monday, May 18  to ensure the comments are provided to the Planning Commission for their consideration prior to the Tuesday, May 19 meeting at 6 p.m.

The  agenda, staff reports and PowerPoint presentations   for the Tuesday, May 19 Planning Commission Meeting can be found on  www.chesterfield.gov/plan .

The Chesterfield Planning Commission Meeting will be livestreamed on WCCT Chesterfield Community Television, including Comcast channel 98 and Verizon channel 28, and on  YouTube.com/ChesterfieldCountyVA .
Chesterfield 101 Goes Virtual
With school out for the remainder of the semester, Chesterfield County is  helping students keep up with their government studies  by hosting Chesterfield 101, a virtual program designed to teach high school students how their local government works. 

In the past, Chesterfield 101 was held in-person but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was moved to a virtual format in an effort to decrease the spread of the virus.

Three upcoming interactive sessions will be offered through Microsoft Teams, each lasting about an hour. The dates and times are:

  • Tuesday, May 19 at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 21 at 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m.

While Chesterfield 101 is a free virtual learning source targeted toward all Chesterfield high school students,  registration is required  as online slots are limited to the first 30 students per session.

County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey will provide a virtual welcome at each session.

The county’s  Citizen Information and Resources Department  started the program last year with the goal of educating Chesterfield’s youth on the basics of county government including, but not limited to, the districts, the Board of Supervisors and their positions, the budget, the broad spectrum of departments and positions/careers within the county, how government impacts residents (including teens) and how citizens can be involved with your local government.
Chesterfield Locations Featured in
Richmond Regional Tourism Video
Last week, May 3-9, was National Travel and Tourism Week , and Richmond Regional Tourism celebrated by releasing a video that features several Chesterfield locations. See if you can spot them:
Originally created in 1983, National Travel and Tourism Week highlights the importance and economic impact of travel. This year, organizations across the U.S. are partnered to show the resiliency and spirit within the hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richmond Regional Tourism reminds us, when it is safe to travel again, travel will help us move forward and will be a vital part of our economic recovery.
Adoptable Pet Spotlight: Rosie
Meet Rosie! This adorable girl was found roaming a neighborhood in Chesterfield and never claimed. Rosie is a sweet girl with an overall calm demeanor and does great with people. She can get spunky and has a playful side to her as well; she loves to play ball! She would probably do really well in a home with children. Rosie really enjoys going on walks, but does need a little guidance learning not to pull on the leash. Her preference is to be the only dog; she has shown not to like the few dogs she has met here in the shelter. Rosie is heartworm positive, but is currently being treated. We would send you home with her medication. If you are interested in meeting this brindle cutie, give us a call to schedule an appointment. Rosie is one-year-old Pitbull mix. Animal #567098
Rosie - Animal #567098
If you're  interested in adopting  Rosie, contact the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter . You'll need a current Virginia driver's license or picture identification with current address and adoption fees in check or cash. Keep an eye on the  Chesterfield County Animal Services Facebook page  for more adoptable pet announcements!
Chesterfield - Open for Business:
Chesterfield County Farmers Market;
Circuit Court Clerk - Virtual Probate Appointments
CCPL - Blood Drive
These unprecedented times have forced innovative adaptations in how Chesterfield County continues to keep resources and services available for our citizens, businesses and employees. Those adaptations have taken multiple forms, from teleworking to completely new processes, and many employees are being redeployed in other areas to keep essential functions operating.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be gathering stories to highlight our employees’ innovative contributions and the many services that are still available to our citizens. We are all adjusting to this "new norm" in which we find ourselves, but, rest assured, Chesterfield is still open for business and serving citizens.
Chesterfield County Farmers Market
Many businesses – especially small, local businesses – have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, shoppers have a renewed opportunity to support local vendors by shopping at the Chesterfield County Farmers Market, now adapted to meet the county’s public health needs. 

The farmers market is open Wednesdays through August 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Chesterfield County’s government complex, near 6701 Mimms Loop, Chesterfield, VA 23832. 

This year, the market has implemented stringent social distancing rules to protect shoppers and vendors. 
Following recommendations from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as well as the Virginia Farmers Market Association, the market’s new rules include asking shoppers not to enter the market if they are sick, recommending facemasks be worn at all times and requesting visitors limit themselves to one shopper per household, if possible. A full list of new rules is available on the  Chesterfield County Farmers Market webpage

In addition, shoppers are now able to pre-order and pre-pay for items online. 

According to Lynne Wingfield, employee wellness coordinator with both the county’s government and school divisions, public health remains the number one priority of the market’s management team. 

“Using all of the available resources, we created market rules that have been shared through social media, the farmers market website and by on-site market volunteers,” said Wingfield. “The market management team will make updates to our rules and structure as social distancing guidelines are updated.”  

Wingfield began the farmers market in 2012 as a partnership with Chesterfield Cooperative Extension Director Mike Likins as a mid-week resource for fresh, local produce and other products.  

“Virginia farmers markets are an important resource for communities to provide access to local, fresh produce, food, horticultural goods and hygiene products,” said Wingfield. “Markets also support small local businesses with opportunities to sell their products in community settings. This opportunity allows residents to enjoy our beautiful county complex and purchase high-quality products.”
 
For more information about the Chesterfield County Farmers Market, visit  www.chesterfield.gov/farmersmarket  or visit the market’s  Facebook page .
Leslie Morris, chief deputy clerk, leads a virtual probate appointment while Liz Martus, deputy clerk - Probate Division, observes
Chesterfield County Circuit Court Clerk: Virtual Probate Appointments
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced many government buildings to close their doors to the public and alter the ways they serve customers,  Chesterfield’s courts responded  by innovating to meet the needs of the moment.
 
Chesterfield Circuit Court Clerk  Wendy Hughes implemented a new, virtual probate process that allows citizens to go through probate while observing social distancing guidelines. 

The Circuit Court’s first trial run in April was a success. Said Hughes, “While the preparation process is more cumbersome for staff, the appointment itself went extremely well. The customer was happy that we were able to accommodate his needs without requiring him to leave his home, and we were happy to assist.” 
However, virtual probate may not be appropriate in all situations and customers still have an option to schedule in-person appointments which are now handled at customer windows protected by a glass partition to allow for social distancing. Hughes said customers who opt for virtual appointments must have the ability to print and scan documents at their residence and must be able to send documents to the court immediately after their appointment. 

Despite the limitations of remote probate, the virtual process has been a success. 

“Handling appointments virtually is not ideal, but it’s a great option to have when individuals may not pass COVID-19 screenings or otherwise may be unable to travel to the courthouse,” said Hughes. 

And while the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office will consider continuing the use of virtual appointments in the future, Hughes said she is most impressed by the dedication of the entire courts team. 

“While I have always known we have a strong courts team in Chesterfield, these past weeks have revealed a depth of strength never before needed,” said Hughes. “Leadership, staff members and stakeholders from all three courts have pulled together in a monumental teamwork effort. We appreciate the patience of our county residents as we continue to balance public service and safety along with the safety and well-being of our team members and their families.” 

For more information on the response of Chesterfield’s courts to COVID-19, please visit the county’s  Courts’ Response to COVID-19 Coronavirus  webpage .
Chesterfield County Public Library: Blood Drive
The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage. In March, the organization published a national plea for donations and Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) answered the call by holding a blood drive on Tuesday, April 7 at Central Library. 
With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, however, strict safety protocols were observed.  According to the Red Cross , several measures have been implemented to keep staff and donors safe, including: 

  • Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy 
  • Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process 
  • Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors, and 
  • Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment 
Jesse Dodd, Clover Hill Library’s customer service supervisor, donates blood 
Employees helped prevent the spread of infection,  the Red Cross states , by: 

  • Wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor 
  • Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas 
  • Using sterile collection sets for every donation, and 
  • Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub 

According to Jen Shepley, CCPL community services manager, the Red Cross informed CCPL that their drive registered 53 donors and collected 56 total units of blood, surpassing the drive’s 44 unit goal. In total, the donated blood has the potential to positively impact 168 lives. 

Yet, CCPL isn’t done. Another Red Cross blood donation drive will be held at Central Library on June 4, 2020. To register, visit  the Red Cross website .
Remember to Complete Your U.S. Census!
While April 1 was Census Day, Chesterfield encourages residents who have not yet completed their 2020 U.S. Census to do so as soon as possible.

Completing the Census is easy!
Households should have received official U.S. Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census online, by phone or by mail.

Pay close to attention to the unique number given to your household and be prepared to use it during your response.

The 2020 U.S. Census is mandatory and responses are based upon the members of a household as of April 1 (Census Day).
To learn more about the 2020 U.S. Census, visit the official website at 2020census.gov
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