All Rappahannock County press releases, court information, and general information regarding COVID-19 can be found at the County’s website: http://www.rappahannockcountyva.gov/COVID-19-Information.html
Rappahannock County currently has one confirmed case of COVID-19 according to the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health Commission.
Monday, April 20 the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors held a Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget (County and School) and Tax Rates. This meeting was held using the video conference site, Zoom, and was open to the public via video and/ or audio registration. The published agenda will be available using the County’s Board Docs at www.boarddocs.com/va/corva/Board.nsf/Public.
The Town of Washington
The Washington Town Council voted Monday, April 13 to pass an emergency ordinance allowing the council to have virtual, online meetings for the next 60 days. The April 12 meeting additionally authorized a June 8 public hearing for the Town’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget. The Town’s Post Office is on-hold again, with delays rooted in the funding scenario that would address additional funds needed (and outside of the USPS budget) for an enhanced roof that would match the structures of the historic town as a metal, standing-seam roof.
To address the Post Office funding needs, the Council also passed a measure enabling the Mayor and Town Attorney John Bennett to pursue setting up an “organization fund” with the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. This fund will allow the regional nonprofit charity to accept donations on behalf of the Town government from those in the Town and County to fundraise for three projects: enhancements to the future post office on Leggett Lane; town beautification projects; and maintenance and restoration of the Town Hall.
There currently is one open Washington Town Council position, those interested in the vacant seat on the council can submit applications in the form of a letter of interest to Town Clerk Barbara Batson, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by mail at PO Box 7, Washington VA 22747.
Sperryville has cancelled the annual 4th of July celebration for 2020, hosted by the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department. A press release from Sperryville Volunteer Fire Chief Richie Burke states “Due to the impact of COVID-19, we have decided to cancel the event for 2020 so we can completely focus our effort on supporting our community during these challenging and unprecedented times… We look forward to bringing the event back in 2021 and appreciate your continued support of all first responders, medical personnel and those who risk their lives every day to make us all safe and healthy.”
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) charged with guaranteeing bank loans to borrowers for the Paycheck Protection Program announced on its website Thursday, April 16, that it had run out of funding. The website states: “The SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding. Similarly, we are unable to enroll new PPP lenders at this time.”
Rappahannock News inquired at local bank branches with Atlantic Union and Oak View National Bank about their availability to assist clients with applications to SBA loans and PPP. Some $1.8 billion in PPP funds were processed by Atlantic Union Bank alone, with nearly 6,500 loans approved totalling $1.4 billion. Many applicants are still left now in limbo, and have no knowledge of when their loans will be processed by SBA. Lenders had been scrambling to take in thousands of PPP applications and push them through the SBA system to ensure funding for their clients, but not without glitches. “We have decided to continue to accept applications from our business clients in the hope that the SBA will receive additional funding and accept them in the near future,” Atlantic Bank’s CEO John Ashbury states in a press release. Jason Brady, vice president for Oak View’s Rappahannock and Warren county operations, wrote in an email response to questions from the Rappahannock News. “I would urge all to call their Senator’s and member of Congress and ask for swift action.”
Schools Need Laptops, Tablets
Rappahannock County Public Schools (RCPS) has been working to provide all students with access to technology and internet during this spring semester’s “remote learning.” On Wednesday, April 15, RCPS held “Device Pick Up Day” for students and parents to drive-up and receive a laptop or tablet for school learning at home. The devices are preloaded with educational materials for students, to be used in homes with in-adequate internet access. Over 300 devices have been requested by RCPS families, and still more are needed.
Local Food Security
Rappahannock’s food services and hospitality industries have felt a most unfair blow as an effect of the economic and social crisis that has rippled out in waves from COVID-19. Over 150 Rappahannock residents have filed for unemployment in the past month, according to the latest data reported by the Virginia Employment Commission. Inspired by the strong community they serve, local restaurant staff and their managers have set up a “Virtual Tip Jar” for Rappahannock food industry workers who have lost shifts, and even jobs during the past weeks. This tip jar operates as a Google document that Rappahannock restaurants run for their staff in-need, using Venmo, Cash App or PayPal. Participating businesses include Thornton River Group (Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen, Francis Bar, The Corner Store), Headmaster’s Pub, Griffin Tavern, Three Blacksmiths, Sperryville Trading and Little Washington Winery.
Convenience stores supply locals with essential items like toilet paper, pantry items, deli items, and much more. These stores remain open for business, and while they urge customers to follow social distancing norms, they are happy to share their supplies for you to stock your shelves at home. Several stores even offer grocery and deli pick-up, with a call-ahead order (you might check Facebook, too, for weekly updates). They are listed below for your convenience:
- Baldwin’s Grocery (111 Main Street, Washington) (540) 675-3383
- Hillsdale Country Store (13560 Lee Hwy, Washington) (540) 675-1055
- Laurel Mills Store (461 Laurel Mills, Castleton) (540) 937-3015
- Mayhugh’s Store (48 Lee Hwy, Amissville) (540) 937-5586
- Settle’s Grocery and Garage (706 Zachary Taylor Hwy, Flint Hill) (540) 675-3252
- 211 Quickie Mart (12663 Lee Hwy, Washington) (540) 987-8310
Thank you for your continued support for our local community, and please let me know if you have anything else that you feel is important to share for our “Rappahannock County Blog” at PEC!
Rappahannock Field Representative
The Piedmont Environmental Council
540-347-2334 ext. 7060