City: Roanoke offices closed to public; no disruption to essential services

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) –Roanoke City officials including the mayor and vice-mayor held an online press conference on Wednesday to give an update on the city’s local state emergency.

There are no changes to essential public services including public safety, law enforcement, fire and emergency services, child protective services and garbage pickup during the local state of emergency, said Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea.

Lea was joined by Vice Mayor Joe Cobb, City Manager Bob Cowell and Community Engagement Manager Tiffany Bradbury in the conference call.

The city, in partnership with several localities, declared a local emergency on Monday, March 16, which enables the city of Roanoke to request state and federal resources should they need them.

All Roanoke municipal facilities have closed to the public, while employees continue to report to work as normal.

The city manager said that bus service will continue as scheduled and city crews have added additional cleanings to all buses.

While the city encourages restaurants and bars to adhere to Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to limit gatherings to 10 people or less they will assist the state in informing businesses of the requirement, it is not dedicating resources to enforce the mandate, Cowell said.

The city manager also said that some city meetings have been canceled. The city council meeting requires a physical quorum. City officials are working to find ways to hold the meeting while keeping city officials and the public safe.

The city manager is in contact with Valley View Mall management who is working to adapt the mall to the limits on groups as mandated by the governor.

WFXR asked city officials about what resources are available to assist families that may face evictions due to businesses reducing hours or closing. City officials did not have a clear answer. Instead, city officials referred the public to check out their website in the future for information.


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