Petersburg man walks miles to pay bills for wife sheltering at home

The Tri-Cities

PETERSBURG, Va (WRIC) — A Petersburg man is walking six miles to pay his wife’s bills, as she shelters at home and fears going outside due to underlying health conditions. On Thursday, 8News spoke with the man, who requested to be identified as Jason to maintain anonymity, about his story.

“She got asthma, she got all these lung problems with that, if she come out here she will catch it and it will fatal her,” Jason said.

Jason and his wife say they don’t have bank accounts and she cannot read or write, which are the reasons why paying utility bills online is not an option.

“Some people don’t know how to work a computer or laptop or whatever to get an app to pay a bill,” Jason said.

Starting out the front door, Jason heads to an ATM to cash a benefits card, then walks to pay bills for utilities like water at Petersburg City Hall. For a family with disabilities and the inability to pay bills like many others, the coronavirus and Virginia’s stay-at-home order has Jason asking questions.

“Now which one is it? You are sending us mixed messages,” he told 8News. “Should we quarantine ourselves and risk our property being taken or should we go on and go out, and risk getting the disease?”

Petersburg City Manager Aretha Ferrell Benevides said the city no longer accepts cash payments in light of concerns about the spread of COVID–19. 8News made the effort to connect Jason and his wife with Petersburg officials in order to find a possible resolution.

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