Coronavirus - What to Know
Information, Resources Available on
The Town continues to gather information on available resources of the business community on our website. Click the image above for the latest information.
Town of Woodstock 2020 Municipal Elections Information:
In order to continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Governor Northam has delayed local elections by two weeks from the original May 5 election date. The new date is Tuesday, May 19, 2020. We encourage you to vote absentee to reduce the numbers at the polling location which will be hosted at the Central High School Gymnasium.
On Monday, May 4, Shenandoah County Director of Elections & General Registrar has issued the following clarifying information about the municipal election:
- Town elections will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2020
- All voters are encouraged to vote absentee by mail
- On the absentee ballot use reason code 2A COVID-19
- Last day to submit an absentee application to request a ballot is Tuesday, May 12, 2020
- Last day to vote absentee in person is Saturday, May 16, 2020 at Voter Registration (regular hours 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
- All town precincts will be open (regular hours 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)
- Voters vote at their usual precincts
Questions about the election process, timelines and more can be directed to the Shenandoah County General Registrar’s office:
May 14, 2020 Update:
Governor Northam issued Executive Order Sixty-One including an announcement that Virginia is transitioning to a gradual easing of restrictions starting with Phase 1, including a “safer at home” order. Many categories of businesses previously affected by the Governor’s social distancing limitations, such as restaurants, personal service establishments (barbers, salons, etc.), and non-essential retail establishments, are permitted to expand their operations with mandatory operational requirements. A website, Forward Virginia, has been developed as a consolidated resource location for all of the Governor’s requirements and best practices as businesses enter Phase 1 of the reopening.
Please remember that the Virginia Department of Health strongly encourages everyone to wear a mask while around people other than household members in order to help minimize a transmission from asymptomatic individuals.
May 4, 2020 Update:
Governor Northam extended his limitations on certain non-essential businesses contained in Executive Order Fifty-Three through Thursday, May 14, 2020 at midnight. The Governor expects to initiate Phase I opening on May 15, 2020, contingent on health data aligning with key metrics. Phase I of easing restrictions would continue social distancing, teleworking, recommendations that people wear face coverings in public, and the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people. It would ease some limits on business and faith communities, and would transition the stay at home directive to a “safer at home” guideline, especially for those in vulnerable populations.
Phase I (of III Phases) is anticipated to last two to four weeks, as would the subsequent phases, depending on health metrics. Slides from the Governor’s briefing are available here.
March 31, 2020 Update:
Governor Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order on March 30th to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The executive order takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.
The order directs all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.
The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Five can be viewed here.
March 26, 2020 Update:
Valley Health is closely monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19) and has a website dedicated to providing the latest information on this issue. The site has information on visiting hours, cancellations and closings, telehealth virtual visits, frequently asked questions and additional resources. Please be sure to visit their site for the most up to date information about our regional hospital network.
March 23, 2020 Update:
Virginia Governor Orders Statewide Closure of Certain Non-Essential Businesses and K-12 Schools:
This afternoon, Governor Northam issued an executive order including the following:
- Closure of certain non-essential businesses (recreation, entertainment, personal care/grooming services)
- Bans all gatherings of more than 10 people
- Closure of all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year
The Governor is urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible. The full news release with details about the above executive order and which businesses are affected can be found here. For the full text of the Governor’s executive order, click here.
Lord Fairfax Health District Updates: Over the weekend the LFHD issued press releases notifying residents that there has now been two confirmed cases of COVID-19: one of a local resident in our health district (Counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and City of Winchester) and the second of an individual who tested positive but does not live locally. Health District staff will be contacting anyone in the area who is identified as a close contact of the positive cases. Those identified will be asked to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms in coordination with the Health Department. To protect patient confidentiality no further information about the patients will be released.
Click below to review the full press releases issued by Virginia Department of Health over the weekend:
What NOT to Flush and Why: At this time of increasing awareness of maintaining a clean environment, the Town has developed an informational flyer reminding everyone what types of materials should not be flushed into the sanitary sewer system. We are monitoring the potential for sewer back-ups or other hazardous materials entering the sewer system due to alternative products being utilized at home - paper towels, wipes, disinfectant wipes, and other CDC recommended disinfectants. Please dispose of these materials in the trash - or responsibly at the landfill.
March 20, 2020 Update:
Shenandoah County Local Emergency: On March 17, 2020, Shenandoah County declared a local emergency in response to the expanding number of cases of COVID-19 nationwide and within the Commonwealth of Virginia. For information on the new release, click here.
May Municipal Elections: The Virginia Department of Elections encourages voters to protect their health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Voting absentee in the coming local elections on May 5, 2020 is strongly encouraged. Voters may choose reason “2A My disability or illness” for absentee voting in the May 2020 elections due to COVID-19. Voters who choose the absentee option should do so as soon as possible so they can get their ballots in time to return them by mail by Election Day. If possible, please conduct business with the voter registration office by phone or email, or online. For more information from the Voter Registration Office, click here.
Continue Local Business Support: During this difficult time, many Woodstock small businesses are showing their creativity and determination to continue meeting the needs of their customers while adhering to the Governor’s limits on public gatherings. Woodstock Enhancement has been working to gather information from these local businesses and consolidate information about their service delivery. For the latest information please check out Woodstock Enhancements Facebook or Instagram accounts.
Medical Reserve Corps: The Virginia Department of Health is seeking medical and non-medical volunteers to help while the Health Department is overloaded. Click here for additional information on the Medical Reserve Corps.
March 17, 2020 Update:
In order to ensure that Town staff can continue to perform our functions during this public health crisis, the Town of Woodstock is implementing the following changes effective March 17th, 2020:
- Closure of all municipal buildings and facilities to the general public.
- Payments continue to be available online, by phone, mail, or placed in the drop-box at the municipal office building (135 N Main Street, Woodstock VA).
- Applications and other forms can be submitted via email to the Town office, by mail or placed in the drop-box at the municipal office.
- If you have business to conduct with the Town please feel free to call or email. Staff remain committed to continuing to perform our core functions, while promoting social distancing.
- All special events involving Town right-of-way and Town property for the next 30 days have been cancelled. No new permits will be approved until further notice.
We understand these decisions may have an impact on our community, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to monitor this situation.
March 13, 2020 Update:
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Virginia Department of Health and the Lord Fairfax Health District are closely monitoring the international spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person, first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020 and cases are being updated daily on the CDC’s webpage. On March 12, 2020, Virginia Governor Northam declared a State of Emergency and outlined additional measures to combat COVID-19 (press release can be found here.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*
- Shortness of breath
Individuals who have been exposed but are not yet showing symptoms are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Those most at risk are individuals over 60 years old and individuals with a compromised immune system such as cancer, diabetes, or on immunosuppressive medication.
(*Based upon CDC information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html)
Based upon guidance from the CDC, please be advised of the following prevention tips:
- Take steps to protect yourself:
- Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Also put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
- Take steps to protect others:
- Stay home if you are sick (except to get medical care).
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect. Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
What is the Town’s Plan?
The Town of Woodstock is closely monitoring the latest information and recommendations concerning the coronavirus in order to be well prepared if there are any impacts on local government operations.
Currently, the Town’s planning is primarily focused on continuity of operations, including law enforcement services, refuse collection, water and sewer services. The Town will ensure that employees who provide these essential services are properly equipped to ensure their own personal safety. Planning is also underway to facilitate work-from-home arrangements for as many Town employees as possible, should that become advisable. The Town will consult the most current information provided by the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control before implementation, and will continue to use expert public health guidance to inform decision making.
The second area of initial focus is public gatherings. Town officials are aware of guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control, recommending – when there is a minimal to moderate level of community transmission of the virus – the cancellation of events with more than 250 participants and events of greater than 10 persons of high-risk populations. Each year, the Town permits numerous special events on Town property and rights-of-way, and conducts its own events and programs, many of which exceed this threshold. Considering the presence of the virus already within the Shenandoah Valley, the Town has made the decision to cancel or not approve any special event permits for the next 30 days.
Lastly, the Town encourages residents needing to pay bills or submit payments to the Town to conduct the transaction online or over the telephone, if possible. Information about how to do so can be found here.
Best Resources and Additional Information:
The CDC and Virginia Department of Health are the best sources of information about COVID-19 and members of the public and the business community are strongly encouraged to review this information, evaluate their particular situations and take precautions as recommended. For additional COVID-19 information, prevention steps and frequently asked questions, please see below:
- CDC overview: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- CDC’s situation summary page for COVID-19 provides the latest updates on source, spread, response, and recommendations
- CDC’s frequently asked questions and answers on COVID-19.
- CDC’s latest COVID-19 prevention and treatment guidance for individuals.
- CDC’s prevention steps for the spread of coronavirus in homes and residential communities.
- CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to coronavirus.
- Virginia Department of Health overview: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/
The Virginia Department of Health has established a call center for questions related to COVID-19, 877-ASK-VDH3 (or 877-275-8343).