The Agenda: Local government briefs for 6.29.20

Phase Three reopening guidelines take effect Wednesday

Phase Three of the state’s Forward Virginia reopening plan takes effect Wednesday, July 1. Phase Three continues recommendations for social distancing, teleworking and wearing face coverings in indoor public settings, while modifying prior-phase restrictions on businesses.

Restaurant and beverage establishments can operate at full capacity but are required to maintain six feet of distance between tables, according to the governor’s announcement. Fitness centers can open indoor areas at 75 percent occupancy, and recreation and entertainment venues can operate at 50 percent occupancy, or a maximum of 1,000 persons.

Allowable social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people. Swimming pools can expand operations to free swim in addition to indoor and outdoor exercise, diving and swim instruction. Overnight summer camps will remain closed in Phase Three.

Businesses are encouraged to continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and keep enhanced workplace safety measures in place.

Phase Three guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Phase Two guidelines are available here. More information and answers to frequently asked questions are available here.

Chesterfield rolls out second round of ‘Back in Business’ grants

Chesterfield County is accepting applications for the second round of its $5 million “Back in Business” grant program. The $10,000 grants are designed to provide relief to businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and are now open to a broader segment of the county’s small businesses.

Businesses that received prior assistance through federal programs are now be eligible to apply. The program now also allows for a larger range of annual gross revenues to qualify and adjusts the grant awards on a sliding scale, based on the size of the business applying.

Applications and additional details are available here.

Monument removal, police reform are topics of council meeting Wednesday

The Lee Monument as it appeared earlier this month. (BizSense file photo)

Richmond City Council will meet in special session Wednesday at 11 a.m. to discuss legislation related to monument removal and police reform. The meeting falls on July 1, when state law takes effect allowing municipalities to begin processes for removing monuments.

Mayor Levar Stoney and councilmember Michael Jones have previously called for the removal of the city-owned Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue, and all council members have said they’d support the removals. The Robert E. Lee Monument is owned by the state.

Stoney and council have also discussed reforms for the Richmond Police Department, with Stoney presenting a plan for “reimagining public safety” that includes creation of a civilian review board and a formal crisis alert system to address calls about mental and behavioral health crises, among other proposals.

Powhatan hires former Henrico finance director as new county administrator

Powhatan County supervisors named Edward (“Ned”) Smither as Powhatan’s next county administrator. Smither will start work with the county Aug. 1.

Ned Smither

A UR grad with an MBA, Smither has 16 years of local government experience, the last three as finance director for Henrico County. He previously provided financial advisory banking services to multiple counties across the state, assisting with development of 10-year financial plans.

Smither replaces Ted Voorhees, who resigned at the board’s request on Jan. 6. Bret Schardein had served as interim county administrator and will return to his role of assistant county administrator.

Airport commission meets Tuesday
The Capital Region Airport Commission meets Tuesday at 8 a.m. Business on the agenda includes review of the aviation activity report for May. The report shows a 91.6 percent decrease in total passenger traffic compared to the same month last year. Fiscal year-to-date passenger traffic decreased 19.1 percent due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The commission meets in the first-floor conference room at Richmond International Airport.

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