CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville City Council voted 4-0 in favor of new restrictions on reopening, designed to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in central Virginia.
The measures that were approved include a limit to 50% capacity for indoor dining, a ban on all gatherings of more than 50 people, and a face covering mandate that includes all public places.
Mayor Nikuyah Walker was absent from the emergency meeting. All other council members voted in support.
The council members also discussed enforcement of these measures during the meeting, stressing that they do not want jail time to be the punishment for violating the order. Anyone not following the face-covering protocol will be warned at first, and then could be given a class 4 misdemeanor, which does not include jail time.
These measures do not include city schools or school property.
Councilmember Michael Payne emphasized it’s important to establish these guidelines, especially with University of Virginia students getting ready to return to Charlottesville.
“The number one priority is the public health impact, but we’ve also got a lot of questions about economic impact,” Payne said. “I think part of - at least for me and I’m sure for all of us - the motivation for this is that nothing would be worse for the economy than for UVA students coming back, as well as other things changing, to be a super-spreader event.”
UVA students are expected to return to grounds in less than a month, with classes starting August 25.
These measures will go into effect on August 1 and will be in place through the end of September, unless the council takes additional action later.