News to Know for June 16: Mask mandate changes; Upcoming gubernatorial debates; Juneteenth celebrations
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Take a look at our top headlines before you head out the door.
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“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
“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.
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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