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News to Know for June 16: Mask mandate changes; Upcoming gubernatorial debates; Juneteenth celebrations

Law enforcement across the state, including The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, agree...
Law enforcement across the state, including The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, agree changes need to be made to the state’s current mask law.(Live 5)
Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:34 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 8:02 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Take a look at our top headlines before you head out the door.

Sunny, Low Humidity

Morning Clouds, then Mostly sunny and pleasant with low humidity!

High around 80.

Mask Wearing

“We’re going to encourage law enforcement to say, ‘look we know that there are people out there that haven’t been vaccinated, they still need to wear a mask and please allow them to do that,’” said Northam.

In Virginia, the governor cannot change the code without The Virginia General Assembly.

Governor Northam expects this issue will be addressed when the legislature reconvenes for a special session in the first part of August.

Law enforcement across the state, including The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, agree changes need to be made to the state’s current mask law.

Gubernatorial Debate

In our Decision Virginia coverage, Former Governor Terry McAuliffe has agreed to participate in five upcoming gubernatorial debates.

The first debate is scheduled for July 24 in Hot Springs, Va.

Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin
Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin(Associated Press)

The others are set for August, September and October.

All debates are leading up to Election Day on November 2.

CDC Gives Grant Money To Virginia

The state of Virginia has been awarded $30.6 million by the CDC to address any health inequities that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine(WMBF)

Those health inequities will include:

  • Improve testing and contact tracing among underserved populations such as racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities
  • Improve health department capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infections and transmissions among underserved populations

The majority of the two-year grant will go to mini-grant programs in communities, with $12.1 million being used in rural areas of the state.

Free Rides For A Year

Riders who use the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) will have free rides for the next year.

On Tuesday, the GRTC Board of Directors approved a measure to allow “Zero Fare Operations” to continue through June 30, 2022.

GRTC wants your input on a new bus stop near the Science Museum. (Source: NBC12)
GRTC wants your input on a new bus stop near the Science Museum. (Source: NBC12)

Since March 19, 2020 the company has not charged riders for trips to ride local routes, Pulse, Express Bus and CARE/Paratransit vans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday’s move comes as GRTC’s annual operating and capital expenditures for FY2022 are expected to reach nearly $100 million, including $5.8 million in projected fare collection costs which enabled Zero Fare operations from Federal relief money.

Juneteenth Celebrations

A major move from the U.S Senate Tuesday, which voted to make June 19 a federal holiday. The date is also known as Juneteenth and it celebrates the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the United States but never knew they were free.

The bill passed unanimously. It now makes its way to the House before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk - where he’s expected to sign it into law.

juneteenth
juneteenth(NBC12)

Many cities and towns in Central Virginia are planning major celebrations for Juneteenth.

This year is the first year the Commonwealth will observe it under state law recognizing it as an official state holiday.

Food Lion Job Interviews

More than 1,000 Food Lion locations are hosting open interviews on Wednesday.

Each of the stores will hold interviews on June 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.

A new supermarket in the Murrells Inlet  area will soon open their doors to customers.
A new supermarket in the Murrells Inlet area will soon open their doors to customers.(Source: Food Lion)

A list of all Food Lion locations can be found at this link.

Candidates unable to attend the hiring event can also apply for a position through this link.

Louisa Meals

The school district in Louisa County will begin its community meals program.

Each Wednesday families can pick up seven days worth of meals for their kids.

The city of Charleston will provide free summer meals to children this summer through its...
The city of Charleston will provide free summer meals to children this summer through its Recreation Department.(Live 5/File)

The meals are free for children ages 2-18 and special needs students up to 21 years old.

Click here for a list of locations to pick up meals.

RPS Community Hubs

Richmond Public Schools, or RPS, has opened its latest community hub space, benefiting families in Southside Richmond.

(Noelle Williams. KFVS)

The hub at Cardinal Elementary School marks the school system’s fourth community location, each equipped with family liaisons. These “neighborhood experts” help improve attendance, share important information and provide engagement opportunities, according to a release from RPS.

Liaisons in the Cardinal Hub are bilingual and able to assist English and Spanish-speaking families.

Haas Heads To Tokyo Olympics

Henrico native Townley Haas broke onto the Olympic scene during the 2016 Rio Games and now he’ll look to earn at least one more medal in Tokyo.

Haas finished second in the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha on Tuesday behind only Kieran Smith.

Townley Haas (Source: NBC Olympics)
Townley Haas (Source: NBC Olympics)

“I’m extremely happy that these are the guys going with me,” Haas said on the NBC broadcast following his race. “I think just watching all of the other races, it’s going to be a very different team, but I think that’s awesome. It’s always cool to see some new faces and new people come on.”

The Tokyo Summer Olympics begin on July 23 and can be seen on NBC12.

Final Thought

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it can - Nicholas Sparks

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