Upcoming Free COVID-19 Testing Events Open to the Community
We are working closely with regional and national health experts in monitoring the situation, and have put all City protocols related to the prevention of the spread of communicable diseases into action. All essential City services continue unchanged at this time. We are in daily contact with the Virginia Department of Health, which is providing guidance on this matter. We have also created a Joint Information Center with the Virginia Department of Health to help increase their communications efforts in Harrisonburg and to answer questions residents have about the local impact of COVID-19.
Effective as of Thursday, August 13, and lasting until December 13, and due to the City of Harrisonburg’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community, public and private event gatherings of 50 or more people, with some exceptions, will not be allowed. Violating this City ordinance could result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine for those who refuse to comply after receiving a warning from law enforcement. This ordinance does not apply to attendance at a religious institution, weddings or expressive activities, and does not apply to a business's regular business practices - though it would apply to a special event at a business. The full ordinance is available for review. [935KB]
Halloween Events and COVID-19:
Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters. Please consider the Virginia Department of Health's recommendations for participating in Halloween event: English - Spanish - Arabic
The City reopened many of its facilities to the public on August 3, though many safeguards are in place that visitors must abide by. All visitors are required to wear a mask when entering a municipal building, and social distancing is mandatory. Only a limited number of visitors at any given time are allowed inside buildings, and all residents are encouraged to first pursue services by phone or the City’s website prior to visiting a facility.
Open facilities include:
- City Hall
- Department of Public Works complex
- Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation
- Hardesty-Higgins House
- Westover Skate Park
By executive order of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, wearing masks is required for everyone in the state inside all brick and mortar retail establishments; inside all personal care and grooming establishments; inside places where people congregate; inside food and beverage establishments, except when eating; on public transportation; at entertainment and recreation businesses; and when accessing state or local government services. The only exceptions are for those younger than 10 years old; while eating or drinking; while exercising; if you have trouble breathing, or are unable to remove your mask without help; or if your health conditions prohibit wearing a face covering. Enforcing these requirements will be the duty of the Virginia Department of Health. Any questions should be directed to 1-855-949-8378. View the full order.
The City of Harrisonburg is still operating under its declaration of a local emergency, made on March 16. This declaration allows the City to more quickly allocate needed resources in response to COVID-19, and to potentially be reimbursed for funds spent in that response.
This declaration does not change any of the City protocols or measures we are currently using regarding COVID-19, and does not require any additional action by our residents.
All City of Harrisonburg playgrounds are closed as part of our response to limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Open green spaces and walking trails where patrons can practice safe social distancing methods are still open at this time. The Public Safety Building and Harrisonburg fire stations have limited access and visitors should call ahead before visiting. Those with emergencies should call 9-1-1.
The City has implemented social distancing measures at Harrisonburg City Council meetings and is offering additional ways for residents to take part in meetings from home.
The public will not be able to attend meetings in person, however, a phone line will be live at 540-437-2687 during meetings where residents will be allowed to call in and speak with City Council during the Public Hearings and the Public Comments portion of the night’s meeting. We ask those that wish to speak during the public comment period to not call in until after all the public hearings and public comment on those have been heard. This will avoid anyone calling on any other item from holding up the que and then being asked to call back at a later time. Residents also may provide comment prior to the meeting by visiting this page: www.harrisonburgva.gov/agenda-comments.
Residents will be able to watch the meeting live on:
- The City’s website, www.harrisonburgva.gov
- Public Education Government Channel 3
Those wishing to do business with the City can access many services online or by phone. Those who are interested may choose to pay their City of Harrisonburg bills online or by mail. Visit www.harrisonburgva.gov/pay-bills and scroll to the bottom of the page for online payment options. You also can mail payment to our office at City of Harrisonburg, Treasurers Office, P.O. Box 1007, Harrisonburg, VA 22803-1007. You also may call 540-432-7701. A dropbox is available outside City Hall and the Harrisonburg Department of Public Utilities on Beery Road for those wishing to drop payments off.
The Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation is waiving all fares for transit and paratransit customers at this time. The City’s bus and paratransit service is currently operating as scheduled, and the majority of routes throughout the City are unchanged. Riders must wear a mask when riding. All riders should enter and exit the buses using the rear doors, unless they need to utilize the ramp or receive ADA assistance. Call 540-432-0492 for more information. Click here to learn more about safety efforts being made by the Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation.
The Virginia Department of Health offers a statewide hotline at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343), which serves residents Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm, and Saturday from 9:00am to noon. Local health departments continue to provide resources for services and information. Contact information for local health departments is available at www.vdh.virginia.gov.
Latest Updates from Sentara RMH - Testing Information (Please visit their website https://sentaraupdates.com/ for the latest updates.)
James Madison University - Stop the Spread Dashboard
Latest Updates from the Virginia Employment Commission on Unemployment Insurance (Please visit their website http://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed for more.)
What is the Coronavirus COVID-19?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus. Coronaviruses affect the respiratory system, including the lungs and airways.
How does the virus spread?
If a person who has the virus sneezes or coughs and droplets enter the environment, others in close proximity can become infected. It’s not known how easily the virus spreads.
Tips to Follow
- 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.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- 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.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Virginia Department of Health - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)