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Mayor’s Statement on COVID-19 Pandemic, Actions Taken by Council at June 4th Meeting


June 4, 2020

Good evening.  We continue to take our cues from Charleston regarding all things covid-19.  We continue to recognize & appreciate the excellent performance of our City employees during this difficult time.  We believe we are prepared to further cautiously relax some restrictions that had been put in place during the past three months to minimize the spread of the virus & to protect our residents. 

With Council’s endorsement this evening, here’s what I propose during the next 10 days:

(1) restoration of the opportunity to conduct yard, garage, or patio sales at residences within our corporate limits effective Friday, June 5.  Please contact the Parish House, Salvation Army, or Good Will prior to just dropping things off at these establishments.  Sponsors should limit attendees to 25 maximum, control pedestrian traffic flow similar to Walmart, permit only the seller to touch merchandise, wear face masks, have hand sanitizer available for patrons, & not sell food or beverages;

(2) assuming the Water Board acts accordingly during its meeting of June 11, I propose that effective Monday, June 15, that our Council endorse “shutoff” of utility services for those delinquent in their payments.  On March 19, Council took action to suspend termination of City services at the urging of the WV Public Service Commission.  We’ve spoken with PSC representatives, & the decision to resume utility shutoffs is entirely the City’s.  To be clear, the vast majority of our utility subscribers have continued to make their utility payments regularly, however, there are some subscribers who’ve not paid anything on their utility bill for months now.  The financial sustainability of our utility operations requires us to hold customers accountable for paying for their services; 

(3) full resumption of Municipal Court effective tomorrow, Friday, June 5.  Please call 304-472-1651 for assistance with any matters related to a citation or any Buckhannon Municipal Court issue.

Our reopening of some City facilities including City Hall has occurred this week with virtually no issues.  We continue to urge all people coming to City Hall or any City facility that’s been reopened to the public to continue to take extra daily, sanitation measures; encouraging the wearing of masks, etc., all to reduce the threat of virus exposure to everyone who enters City Hall or any other City facility.  Again, please continue to wash your hands, social distance, stay home if sick, wear masks when out, etc.

We are pleased that our Buckhannon Walmart is scheduled to commence its curbside grocery pickup, or “online grocery” service as Walmart prefers to call it- on Wednesday, July 29.

We continue to work on the Fourth of July fireworks exhibition starting at about 9:45-10:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, with attendees remaining within or immediately beside their cars.  As reported previously, City representatives are working with businesses around the launch site to create a master parking plan to accommodate those desiring to attend. 

We are fortunate that we still have had only six positive tests confirmed here in Upshur County.  Seventy-eight of our fellow mountaineers have succumbed to the virus, & nearly 2,100 have tested positively in West Virginia.  Nearly 108,000 Americans have now died from covid-19, & the total number of Americans who’ve contracted the disease has eclipsed 1.85 million, with more than 6.5 million cases worldwide & about 390,000 deaths.  Our City will continue to take its cues from Governor Justice & State & county health officials.  This remains a very fluid situation.    

We continue to be all in THIS together.  Anyone having an emergency should contact 911 as you normally would.  The best source of information about Covid-19 remains the Centers for Disease Control website.  We still have a long way to go to get past this crisis.  Please- follow the science & pray for the vaccine soon. 

Mayor David McCauley