Newport News closes city facilities amid coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 11:04 PM, Mar 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 23:04:51-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The City of Newport News closes all city facilities to the general public starting Monday.

City officials say all city offices, facilities, and buildings are closed to the public including City Hall, offices at City Center, Treasurer's Office, Commissioner of the Revenue's Office, Voter's Registration Office, Visitor Center, public libraries, and senior centers.

City officials are required to report to work as usual, however liberal leave is in effect for non-essential employees.

All city sponsored events, programs, and classes are also canceled, according to a statement released by city officials.

Newport News parks and the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter will remain open. Solid waste collection will continue to take place as scheduled.

The Department of Human Services will have limited access and all clients are asked to call 757-933-2311 for more information.

City officials say they will reevaluate closings based on the status of the outbreak from the Virginia Department of Health.

During the closures, Newport News residents are asked to use online resources for services. Residents are urged to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more, however critical needs such as grocery shopping should not be neglected.

On Friday, March 13, City Manager Cindy Rohlf declared a local state of emergency due to the public health threat associated with COVID-19.

The CDC recommends that we take the following steps to help prevent the spread of not only this virus, but the flu and other respiratory diseases as well.

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
· If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.