Suffolk Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
Vaccine Finder COVID-19 Vaccine Locator www.vaccines.gov
Vaccinate Virginia Statewide Call Center - 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) - Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Virginia Statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration System vaccinate.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Health Vaccine Information website https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Vaccines.gov - COVID-19 Vaccines
The Virginia Department of Health is using Vaccines.gov to advertise new and existing vaccine openings as well as for scheduling. It is essentially a one-stop-site for connecting to a vaccine! This is a great way for citizens to obtain a free vaccine at vaccine locations in the community.
Governor Northam Lifts Mask Mandate to Align with CDC Guidance, Announces Virginia to End COVID-19 Mitigation Measures on May 28
(May 14, 2021) Governor Ralph Northam today lifted Virginia’s universal indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Governor Northam also announced that Virginia will ease all distancing and capacity restrictions on Friday, May 28, two weeks earlier than planned. The updates to Virginia’s mask policy are reflected in amendments to Executive Order Seventy-Two and will become effective at midnight tonight along with previously announced changes to mitigation measures.
Governor Northam made the announcement in a new video message.
Virginia is able to take these steps as a result of increasing vaccination rates, dramatically declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and statewide test positivity rate, and revised federal guidelines.
The CDC guidelines state that fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.
The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Governor Northam will take executive action to ensure individuals have the option to wear masks up to and after that date. Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.
Virginia has administered nearly 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, representing over 63 percent of Virginia’s adult population. Governor Northam has said he remains confident the Commonwealth will meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.
Virginians over the age of 12 can schedule a vaccination appointment by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Beginning Monday, May 17, the call center hours will change to 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The full text of Seventh Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine, which takes effect on May 15, can be found here.
The full text of Executive Order Seventy-Nine, which takes effect on Friday, May 28, can be found here.
Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
FEMA Grant for COVID-19 Pandemic Funeral Assistance for Individuals
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020 at 100 percent federal cost share. FEMA provides financial assistance under the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) provision of the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) to individuals and households with disaster-related funeral expenses.
NOTE: The Suffolk Health Department is a member of the Western Tidewater Health District and is managed by the Virginia Department of Health. The Suffolk Health Department is not a City of Suffolk Department or Agency.
Western Tidewater Health District Expands COVID-19 Vaccination to "Phase 2" Recipients
The Western Tidewater Health District (WTHD) is expanding COVID-19 vaccinations to Phase 2 on Monday April 12, 2021. Persons 16 or older who work or reside in this district will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
The WTHD began vaccinating healthcare personnel in December before moving to Phase 1b. Phase 1b includes those 65 and older, those 16-64 with underlying medical conditions and some frontline essential workers. Phase 2 includes the general public and those in phase 1 can continue to register as well. Overlap of vaccination of groups may occur to ensure people in each phase are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. A full list of those included in each phase is available on the VDH vaccine website.
Appointments are required. Visit https://vaccinefinder.org/ to pre-register for the vaccine.
Anyone who wants a vaccine should pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) from 8 a.m. - 8p.m., seven days a week. Representatives are available in English and Spanish, and translation is available in any of more than 100 languages. TTY dial 7-1-1.
Those who have pre-registered should check the list at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling the call center to ensure their information is accurate. Incomplete or inaccurate information could result in you not being contacted for an appointment.
If you are pre-registered, make sure you are checking your email and answering your phone because it could be an invitation to schedule your appointment.
For more information about Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.
What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Common side effects include pain and swelling in the arm where you receive the shot. For more information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) visit: What to Expect After Getting a COIVD-19 Vaccine.
GOVERNOR RALPH NORTHAM EXECUTIVE ORDERS
The full text of Seventh Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine can be found here.
The full text of Executive Order Seventy-Nine, which took effect on Friday, May 28, can be found here.
Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has an interactive COVID-19 Testing Sites Map which provides information of known locations of various COVID-19 test sampling sites and does not constitute endorsement by VDH. There may be additional sites that offer test sampling that are not included on the map and the status of listed sites are subject to change (may no longer perform COVID-19 testing services).
For the latest information on COVID-19 and safety tips, visit the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) websites. The VDEM website includes all executive orders and relevant guidance in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, and soon to be Vietnamese and Tagalog.
The City of Suffolk leadership team is continuing to actively monitor coronavirus/COVID-19 and assess City operations based on developments. We are coordinating with the Western Tidewater Health District/Virginia Department of Health as it relates to City activities and services. Updates will be posted to this page as well as our social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.
- CITY OFFICES: Fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear face coverings in City facilities. If you’re not fully vaccinated, help protect others by continuing to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth. Please do not come inside City facilities if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, or sore throat. Citizens may wish to conduct business online (City website), where offered, or contact the City Department/Office via phone, 757-514-4000 for assistance.
- CITY COUNCIL: City Council meetings are aired live on the Suffolk Municipal Channel (Spectrum Channel 190) and live streamed at http://suffolkva.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2 so that the public is aware of all actions taken.
- COURTS: In response to the judicial emergency declared by the Supreme Court of Virginia which became effective March 16, 2020, requiring the Mills E. Godwin Courts Complex to close to the public with the exception of emergency matters, please note that effective May 18, 2020, there will be a transition to a partial opening. Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and Clerk’s Office will be open. The General District Court Clerk’s Office will be open and the Court will hear selected matters. Suffolk Circuit Court will be open and the Court will hear selected matters.The Suffolk Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is closed to the public. Business is being conducted by phone, mail, e-file, drop-box and appointments. Please call the Suffolk Circuit Court Clerk’s office for assistance. Questions should be directed to the Clerk’s Office associated with the Court matter:
Suffolk Circuit Court 757-514-7800
Suffolk General District Court 757-514-4850
Suffolk JDR Court 757-514-7790
Any other questions may be directed to the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office at 757-514-7840.
- LIBRARY: Suffolk Public Library has expanded service hours of Mondays through Thursdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the North Suffolk Library and Morgan Memorial Library locations. Chuckatuck Library will remain closed with Curbside2Go continuing on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Individuals who are fully vaccinated can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. If you are not fully vaccinated, CDC guidelines state you should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing. In order to offer even more opportunities for the community to use the Library, automated lockers are installed at both the Morgan Memorial Library and Chuckatuck Library locations. The lockers will be available outside both locations to provide opportunities to collect books and other requested items at any time of the day. To learn more about the Suffolk Public Library, visit www.suffolkpubliclibrary.com. Follow the Library on Instagram @suffolkpubliclibrary, and check for updates on Facebook at Facebook.com/SuffolkPublicLibrary.
- PARKS & RECREATION: The gymnasiums and weight room areas of the fitness centers are open. In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 79, all Recreation Center Members that have not been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus are required to wear a mask while in the Recreation Centers except while using fitness equipment. Fitness Center memberships for residents are $10 per month for adults, $7 per month for teens, and $5 per month for seniors ages 55 and up. All Fitness Center members must also possess an Active Annual Recreation Center membership. Additionally, the playgrounds at Suffolk Parks & Recreation are open, playground equipment is not disinfected and should be used at your own risk. All other amenities within the parks including, but not limited to, basketball courts, skate parks, dog parks, tennis courts, kayak and boat launches, and trails will remain open for public use. Citizens are encouraged practice social distancing of six (6) feet or more while using the parks. Stay up to date by following us on Facebook for virtual activities and events @SuffolkParksandRec. Visit our website and Virtual Recreation Center at www.suffolkva.us/parks, or call 757-514-7250 for more information.
- POLICE: The Suffolk Police Department is changing the way it responds to non-violent incidents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new response procedures are designed to reduce citizen’s and Officer’s exposure to the coronavirus in the line of duty. Further, Officers will be using social distancing and personal protective equipment to limit contact as much as possible in accordance with recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Police may not respond to non-violent offenses. Incidents that can be adequately handled by telephone reporting will not have an Officer response. Citizens are encouraged to call Non-Emergency Dispatch at 757-923-2350, Option 8, to make telephone reports. Responses to serious incidents and threats to public safety will continue to receive priority responses.
- SUFFOLK DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES - SECOND HRUBS UTILITY BILL PANDEMIC RELIEF PROGRAM: The Suffolk Department of Public Utilities announces a deadline extension to the second HRUBS Utility Bill Pandemic Relief Program that originally became effective on Monday, December 21, 2020. This program provides a total of $1,378,452.19 in financial assistance to qualifying City of Suffolk residential and non-residential customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to employment impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program is supported by the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and allows the Suffolk Department of Public Utilities to provide this assistance through a statewide Municipal Utility Relief Fund. Residential and non-residential customers with delinquent water and wastewater utility bill charges from March 1, 2020 to November 30, 2021 are encouraged to apply for assistance through this program. The City will provide assistance to qualifying residents and businesses with COVID-related past due balances until November 30, 2021 or until the funding runs out.
To qualify, applicants must self-certify they have experienced COVID-related issues that have caused economic hardship such as: job layoffs; job loss due to employment closings; reduction in work hours; staying home to care for children due to day care and school closings; or lost child or spousal support. Relief also covers those who have been unable to work or missed work due to contracting COVID-19; unable to find work due to COVID-19; or unable to participate in their previous employment due to a high risk of severe illness.
Applicants can verbally apply by phone by answering some brief questions or they can submit a short online application. To obtain an online application, download the form via the following link, https://www.suffolkva.us/1471/COVID-19-Utility-Relief, or call 757-514-7450 to apply by phone.
- PUBLIC UTILITIES: The Public Utilities Department has suspended water cutoffs effective Monday, March 16, 2020.
- SUFFOLK ANIMAL CONTROL: As of March 15, 2021, the Animal Shelter reopened according to its normal schedule. Masking and social distancing will be required. For information, call 757-514-7855.
- SCHOOLS: For information on Suffolk Public Schools, please visit the SPS website.
- SOCIAL SERVICES: Effective March 15, 2021, the Department of Social Services will be open to the public for in-person customer service by appointment only. Most services will continue to be offered in a virtual format for your convenience. To schedule an appointment for in-person customer service, please contact (757) 514-7450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To Report Child Abuse or Neglect: call the Suffolk Department of Social Services during regular business hours at 757-514-7450. Out-of-State callers can call (804) 786-8536 and Hearing-impaired can call (800) 828-1120.
- SUFFOLK TRANSIT: Suffolk Transit will continue under normal operations. Face coverings are required when using Suffolk Transit as per federal guidance. Customers will not be allowed to board the bus without one. Children under the age of 10 and those with medical exceptions are excluded. Link to video regarding RIDER SAFETY GUIDELINES: Link to video
- TOURISM: The Suffolk Visitor Center hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily as of April 5, 2021. The Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum will continue to operate by appointment only.
- TRASH & RECYCLING COLLECTION: There are no changes to collection schedules.
- WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CENTER: The Suffolk Workforce Development Center remains closed to the public but staff can be reached at 757-514-7400 by anyone needing assistance.
- UPDATES FROM VIRGINIA GOVERNOR RALPH NORTHAM: Visit this website for the latest from the Governor.
Local State of Emergency
City Manager Patrick Roberts declared a State of Emergency this afternoon, Friday, March 13, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. in advance of any potential impacts due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A State of Emergency declaration ensures that our City will have the appropriate level of assistance and allows us to coordinate with the Commonwealth in our response and recovery efforts as it relates to any potential impacts from COVID-19.