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Martinsville enforcing tougher coronavirus restrictions for city municipal building

New rules took effect Dec. 7

The Martinsville Sheriff's Office is enforcing new social distancing rules to slow the spread in Southside.
The Martinsville Sheriff's Office is enforcing new social distancing rules to slow the spread in Southside.

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – The Martinsville Sheriff’s Office is taking an extra step to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The department started enforcing additional guidelines for municipal building visitors on Dec. 7.

The new rules require visitors to pass an expanded contact tracing questionnaire as well as a temperature check.

“We’re not doing this as any kind of a punishment, it’s just trying to keep everybody safe,” said Maj. Laura Hopkins with the Martinsville Sheriff’s Office. “Ever since COVID became rampant here, we’ve been doing whatever we could to keep the building clean and safe.”

Martinsville Mayor Kathy Lawson said she fully supports the changes, partially because she has seen the devastating effects of COVID-19 firsthand.

“There have been some deaths of people that I know in the last week or so,” Lawson said. “It hits home.”

Lawson encouraged Martinsville residents to follow social distancing guidelines and apologized for not wearing a mask during an award presentation at last week’s city council meeting.

“For that photo-op, we on council did not mask up and it was wrong,” Lawson said. “I thought, ‘I could kick myself,’ because I know better.”

Lawson and Hopkins are both optimistic that people in Martinsville will adhere to the rules and counter COVID-19 as best as they can.

“I want to be protected and I want other people to be protected, so I appreciate people taking it seriously,” Hopkins said.

“It’s not going away tomorrow, and we need to do whatever we can to make sure we’re not the one out there spreading it,” Lawson said.