THE LATEST: How coronavirus pandemic is impacting schools, events and businesses in Central Virginia

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RICHMOND Va. (WRIC) — Coronavirus is impacting institutions worldwide, and Central Virginia is no exception. Schools, businesses and events have begun to alter operations — and even shut down — in response to the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, there are 1,250 cases of coronavirus in Virginia. There are at least 160 people in the hospital and 27 reported deaths in Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay at home order on March 30, that went into effect immediately. To see how it affects you click here.

Below is a rundown of how the outbreak is affecting Central Virginia:

SCHOOLS

Governor Ralph Northam ordered all K-12 schools in the commonwealth to close for the rest of the school year.

“School closures are necessary to minimize the speed that COVID-19 spreads and to protect the capacity of our healthcare system,” Northam said.

Richmond

Starting Monday, March 16, RPS will set up 20 distribution sites throughout the city where students and their families can pick up meals. 

If you would like to volunteer to drop off meals to students, CLICK HERE.

Chesterfield

Chesterfield County Public Schools will provide free meals to students while the school division is closed during the next two weeks due to COVID-19.

Meals are for children ages 18 and younger.

OTHER AREA SCHOOLS ARE PARTICIPATING IN PROVIDING LUNCHES FOR CHILDREN. A FULL LIST OF PICK-UP LOCATIONS CAN BE FOUND HERE:

UNIVERSITIES

  • Virginia Commonwealth University: VCU announced Wednesday its remaining spring semester will be taught remotely and the university’s spring commencement ceremony is now canceled.
  • University of Richmond: UR will finish its spring semester online and hold its commencement at a later date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Virginia State University: The university has canceled all classes for the week of March 16-20 in an effort to give faculty adequate time to convert classes to ‘all remote instruction (online education). The university has postponed its spring commencement.
  • Liberty University: While most classes are online, the campus is welcoming students to com back. Students have begun to return to the university despite complaints from city officials.
  • Virginia Union University: The university announced remote learning will be March 23- through at least April 10. All 2020 Commencement exercises are postponed.
  • John Tyler Community College: John Tyler said it is canceling classes March 16-17 and all classes will become fully remote March 18-28.
  • Reynolds Community College: Most classes will move online until at least April 4.
  • James Madison University: JMU has moved all classes online through the end of the spring semester and has postponed spring commencement ceremonies.
  • Radford University: Radford is moving to online teaching as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus. It will transition to an all online-teaching until April 17.
  • George Mason University: GMU announced Thursday it is extending its spring break through March 20 and will begin online instruction for all classes from March 23-April 3.
  • Virginia Tech: VT is moving to online teaching as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The university has not indicated how long the online-teaching format will be in place.
  • Longwood University: The university announced it was canceling in-person classes through March 27, after a student there tested positive for the new coronavirus late Wednesday night.
  • Old Dominion University: ODU announced on March 19 that it would only have online classes through the entire spring semester.
  • The College of William & Mary: The college announced Wednesday classes would be suspended for the week of March 15. Classes will all be online March 23.

RESTAURANTS

Monday, March 23, Northam announced all restaurants can only do togo, carry out and curbside pick up orders.

8News has compiled a list of restaurants that have closed due to coronavirus fears in our area. Check out our full list here.

For a list of fast-food restaurants who are altering operations click here.

BUSINESSES

With such an all-encompassing event local businesses are not immune to the outbreak.

Northam announced Monday, March 24, announced all recreation facilities, like theaters, bowling alleys and fitness centers, must close. Non-essential brick and mortar stores can only stay open if they limit customers to ten at a time. This includes Virginia ABC stores.

Are you open for business? Let us know by filling out a form here.

Here’s which are closed or sending employees home:

  • Richmond Animal Care and Control will be closed March 14-27 and said adoption fees will be waived in the meantime as fosters are needed ‘immediately’
  • Capital One: Capital One, a Virginia-based bank and one of the top credit-card issuers in the country, closed Cafes around the nation Monday, March 16, to combat the spread of the coronavirus. It also asked their employees to work from home starting Thursday, March 12.
  • CarMax: The company encouraged employees to work from home on Wednesday.
  • Jewish Community Center: Weinstein JCC has made the decision to close for Thursday, March 12, due to a member’s exposure with someone who has a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
  • VMFA: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is closed to the general public through Friday, March 27. All galleries, exhibitions, and venues are closed.
  • BHMVA: Black History Museum of Virginia is postponing programs through March 31.
  • Children’s Museum of Richmond: The museum is closed thought March 27.
  • Sports Center of Richmond: The center said it was closing March 14 and is looking at reopening on March 21.
  • The Bryd Theatre: The theater announced it was suspending all movies and special events starting March 14.
  • Science Museum of Virginia: The museum is closing to the public for two weeks staring March 14 and will reopen March 29.
  • The Valentine Museum: The Valentine is closed to the public for two weeks from March 17 through March 20.
  • Stony Point Fashion Park: While the shopping center will remain open it is altering hours to noon to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. These hours will be in effect until further notice. All events are canceled through March 31.
  • RVA Fashion Week: Organizers announced they were postponing event scheduled for May 26 to May 31, on Wednesday, March 18.
  • Maymont Park: The park announced on Tuesday, March 24, it was canceling or postponing all public activities through May 10.

GROCERY STORES

  • Publix: Publix announced it would close daily at 8 p.m. to combat COVID-19.
  • Harris Teeter: The grocery chain will be closing at 9 p.m. in an effort to combat the coronavirus.
  • Walmart: Saturday the retail giant announced that its retail stores and Neighborhood Markets will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. starting Sunday, March 15 until further notice.
  • Aldi: The grocery chain announced Saturday it would put quantity limits on select items and some stores would temporarily close or have limited hours.
  • Kroger: The chain announced it would alter store hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting Tuesday, March 17 and until further notice.

Several national chains are offering special hours for seniors. Click here for more details.

EVENTS

Richmond has no shortage of events planned in the coming weeks, but they will not all go on as scheduled. Richmon Mayor Levar Stoney recommended that all large events within the city limits be either postponed or canceled to help limit the possible spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday. Here’s what’s no longer happening:

Postponed

  • Arts in Park 2020: The City of Richmond has canceled Arts in the Park. The event will take place next year for its 50th anniversary.
  • The National: One of Richmond’s premier music venues announced Friday they will be closed ‘until the date(s) specified by local officials, subject to ongoing reassessment.’ The National Hopes to reschedule as many of the affected events as possible, although there is no new information on new dates at this time.
  • Events at Firehouse Theater: All plays and public events at the theater have been canceled through April 5. Tickets purchased through Brown Paper Tickets will receive an automatic refund. For a full list of productions click here.
  • Richmond Public Schools Fine Arts Festival: The event was has been postponed until Saturday, May 9, 2020. It will take place at Huguenot High School from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • The 45th annual Richmond Greek Festival will be postponed until Aug. 27-30.
  • Richmond International Film Festival: Saturday afternoon the festival announced it would be postponed. They said they will announce the new date as soon as possible.
  • Reynolds Metals Retirees Meeting: The meeting planned for March 24 has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.
  • Menuhin Competition: The competition originally scheduled for May 14-24, has been postponed for May 13-23, 2021.
  • Lebanese Food Festival: The festival, planned for May 15-17, has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

Canceled

  • Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office 9th Annual Autism Awareness Day: The event was scheduled to take place on April 5 has been canceled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • K9 Veteran’s Day Ceremony: This event was canceled Thursday evening.
  • Something in the Water 2020 canceled over coronavirus fears.

SPORTING EVENTS

  • NCAA’s March Madness is canceled along with the remaining winter and spring championships, according to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors.
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced its decision to move opening day to Thursday, March 26.
  • National Hockey League (NHL) says the league will “pause” its season, effective immediately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
  • The Virginia High School League State Basketball Tournament: The VHL announced all Friday and Saturday games would be canceled and teams in class 3, 4, 5, & 6 will be declared co-champions were declared co-champions.
  • Jefferson Cup: The Girls Weekend from March 14-15 was canceled Thursday morning. Organizers said they will make a decision about the Girls Showcase, scheduled for March 20-22, and Boys Showcase Weekend, scheduled for March 27-29, on Tuesday.
  • MiLB Season delayed indefinitely: The league announced it will delay the start of the 2020 season on Thursday afternoon, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Further decisions about the start of the 2020 season will be made at a later date.
  • Kentucky Derby: The Kentucky Derby was postponed from May to September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

GOVERNMENT

  • Henrico County rescheduled its March 25 Planning Commission meeting to 9 a.m. April 1, and its March 26 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting to 9 a.m. April 2.
  • Richmond City Health District: The RCHD announced has canceled clinic programs and the Creighton Resource Center, Whitcomb Resource Center, Broad Rock Resource Center, and Hillside Resource Center from March 16 to March 27. They said all other services will continue.
  • The City of Richmond will be closed through April 12.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Greater Richmond Transit Company: The bus system has announced it will be continuing service and maintain its current cleaning policies. All rides are free. On Tuesday, March 24, it announced it would no longer be letting unaccompanied minors ride the buses unless they are heading to and from work.
  • Amtrak: Three trains that operate between New York and Washington, D.C., 2401, 2402 and 2403, were suspended temporarily due to lower demand. Additional changes to the schedule are under consideration.

UTILITIES

  • Dominion Energy: The energy company has suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment. Representatives said they remain committed to providing reliable energy service 24-7.
  • Richmond DPU: The Department of Public Utilities has suspended disconnections of water service amid coronavirus outbreak.
  • Housing: Non-emergency evictions were suspended for three weeks by the Supreme Court of Virginia on March 17.

Laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak? Find out of how you can file for unemployment here.

Here are some tips from VDH on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.

For more coronavirus coverage, click here.

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