Buckhannon implements emergency measures


BUCKHANNON — Due to the declared state and federal emergency, Buckhannon’s City Council held an emergency meeting at 7 p.m. on March 19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city is working closely with county and state officials regarding COVID-19, according to Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley.

The City Council initiated and approved 10 emergency steps that were put into effect immediately Thursday night. These steps are to minimize the coronavirus threat to the entire community, and especially the elderly, as they are presumably the most vulnerable community members. Throughout this situation, Buckhannon’s City Council will be collaborating and cooperating with the county and state, as well as the local health department, hospital and first responders.  

All things recreational have essentially already come to a halt globally, which is unfortunately imperative to combat the virus.  

The 10 emergency steps established by City Council are as follows:

All city facilities will be restricted to employees only, effective immediately. They will continue to be staffed but the general public is not permitted physical access except for general delivery. City Hall, Public Safety Complex, Water and Sewage Plants, Stockert Youth and Community Center, Colonial Theatre, and Charles W. Gibson Library will be closed to the general public until further notice. 

If possible, certain employees will be authorized to work at home. However, if you are required to work, remain six feet apart.  

All city departments shall engage in proper and reasonable cleaning and sanitizing measures to minimize to exposure.

Municipal Court will be suspended until further notice, which is likely to be 30 days or longer.

Although parks and the River Trail will remain open, their restrooms will be locked, due to theft and vandalism. Park users must remain six feet apart and groups of more than 10 are prohibited and will be monitored by the police. 

Groups of more than 10, including city personnel, should not occur.  

Call (304) 472-1651 to pay water utility bills or the City also offers online payment methods, as well as a payment drop box at the rear of City Hall. 

The City will not eliminate essential utility services; however, all customers shall ultimately be responsible for payment. The City of Buckhannon will work with customers for deferred payments.  

There are special 10-minute parking spaces designated for downtown restaurants offering pick-up and curbside services.  

Self-quarantine measures are strongly encouraged until this health threat has passed.  

“The more we isolate ourselves, the less likely we are to contract the virus… We are all in this together, we will remain strong as a community with minimal impact,” expressed Mayor David McCauley. He encouraged all seeking information about COVID-19 to read literature from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as they are the best and most accurate source of official information.  

McCauley expressed gratitude and appreciation to the healthcare workers, city workers and grocery store workers as they labor tirelessly and endlessly during this pandemic.  

This is a fluid situation and there is potential for additional measures in coming days, according to McCauley. The emergency meeting was adjourned, and a regular meeting followed.  

Director of the Senior Center Sarah Campbell was originally on the agenda to speak about Meals on Wheels, but instead had to change directions to speak about the measures the Senior Center is taking to protect their consumers. During this time, the essential services the Senior Center provides are still available such as home delivered meals, transportation through Country Roads Transit, and in-home care. They will continue these services as long as they are able.  

Seniors age 60 and older can ride the transit for free, due to the partnership between Country Roads Transit and the Senior Center. They typically provide classes, activities and congregate meals as well, but unfortunately these activities are cancelled until further notice.  

There will be a hold on the March for Meals campaign, in which the Center raises awareness for Meals on Wheels.  Curbside pick-up meals are currently available; however, if seniors call in by 10:30 a.m., they can pick up their meal between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Campbell expressed that the Senior Center will do everything in their power to ensure that all consumers are taken care of.  

Campbell also expressed appreciation for community support always and added that they will certainly need volunteers to get meals to their seniors. “When we make it through this, we are always needing donations,” she explained. A donation of just $40 will pay for a senior’s meal for the entire week.  

Campbell spoke to the anxiety level occurring among seniors and she explained it seems to be mixed – those handling it well are the more mobile, financially stable seniors, but she said fear has been observed from some seniors who live further out and do not have access to transportation. The Senior Center is required by the state to answer phones, so Campbell said someone will always be there to maintain phone calls during this difficult time. If you need assistance, please call (304) 472-0528.

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