‘Relaunch Chesterfield’ announced as county moves closer to reopening

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Thoughts about when and how the economy will successfully reopen already has some in Chesterfield County thinking about the process.

Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce, Chesterfield Cabinet, and Chesterfield County have united to support a coordinated relaunching of the Chesterfield economy. “Relaunch Chesterfield” will focus on county issues that businesses and elected officials might consider as reopening plans continue to develop.

Kevin Healy, owner of the Boathouse at Sunday Park for more than 30 years, hopes to help with the relaunch. Healy told 8News he, like many other businesses, have dealt with the financial blows administered by COVID-19.

“I was just reminiscing during 9/11, the world was in a flux, the United States was in a flux, but restaurants, bars, and taverns were the place where people congregated and met to get together and this is not the case at this point so it’s just very, very difficult,” said Healy.

Seeing empty tables and seats that were once filled with jovial customers is heartbreaking, Healy said. It’s why he told 8News he’s ready to be back in business.

“I think restaurants are the fabric of the community and we want to be able to bring people together again and have them celebrate life and it’s just so important to get that aspect going again,” he said.

Healy wants the Sunday Park Boathouse to serve as a leader for “Relaunch Chesterfield” to help businesses, specifically in the restaurant industry, create guidelines for a new normal.

“I think there’s going to be some limited seating, I think there’s going to be some distancing, social distancing at tables,” Healy said on how he pictures restaurants operating once they reopen. “You’re going to see some servers with face masks and gloves, and you’re going to see more sanitation upfront.”

“Relaunch Chesterfield” is meant to work in conjunction with Governor Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 Business Task Force recommendations as they, too, begin the work of relaunching Virginia’s economy. 

“Relaunch Chesterfield” will be developed in partnership with business leaders across a broad array of industry sectors and organizations around the county, including but not limited to the following sections:

Danielle Fitz-Hugh, Chesterfield Chamber President and CEO, says groups will meet virtually on a weekly basis to develop best practices for successfully reopening businesses. Co-captains will be included for each industry group.

“The goal is to have small groups so work can be done and then put the framework out so all the businesses within a particular industry can use it as a model,” Fitz-Hugh said. “We can’t just turn on the switch and put the key in the door and open it up. There’s gotta be a plan in place. Business will be different. Employee safety will be first, consumer safety will be first, and consumer confidence.”

Any business not selected to partake in “Relaunch Chesterfield” can still submit their comments or input by clicking here.

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