With 16 states to soon have no mask mandate, Virginians appear split on the topic
[Texas becomes biggest US state to lift COVID-19 mask mandate]Here are the opinions of several Roanoke Valley residents. “The mask is like 50% taking care of us and 50% it’s not,” said Hattie Kelly. “The mask is not protecting us fully, but it’s something.”“I personally don’t believe it should be a requirement,” said John Nichols. Several states with Republican leadership like Massachusetts, Ohio, and West Virginia have statewide mask mandates in place. “It’s probably also worth noting that eliminated a mask mandate does not necessarily mean that businesses of various kind, colleges, schools, and other places won’t keep mask mandates in place.
DMV offering more convenient service options
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is introducing more convenient service options for customers during the current COVID-19 pandemic. It also allows Class B driver training schools to administer an in-class curriculum and the parent/student driver education component of the driver’s education course via an online platform. During this pandemic, DMV has extended that grace period to 90 days, giving customers more time to obtain a credential in their new state of residence before their Virginia driver’s license or identification card is canceled. If the petition is granted, the customer can obtain a restricted driver’s license as long as they are otherwise eligible. DMV has contacted all 305 affected customers and assisted them in scheduling appointments to satisfy any outstanding requirements, such as completing a knowledge test.
What college students should do now before going home for Thanksgiving
As college students prepare to go home for Thanksgiving break, there are things they can do now in order to protect their families. Experts with the Cleveland Clinic have released some things they believe college students should do now before returning home. If their school offers COVID-19 testing, it’s a good idea to get tested a few days before leaving campus. Once they arrive back home, students who weren’t able to isolate before coming back home should wear a mask indoors, especially when around people who are considered high-risk.
Roanoke Valley has nearly 20 coronavirus outbreaks, seeing an increase in cases
ROANOKE, Va – The Virginia Department of Health said coronavirus cases are on the rise in the Roanoke City and Alleghany health districts. During her weekly update, Dr. Molly O’Dell with the Virginia Department of Health discussed a rise in hospitalizations, deaths and outbreaks in the Roanoke Valley. As of Tuesday, there are 18 outbreaks across the region, 10 of which are in a business setting. O’Dell said the rise in cases and outbreaks are because of a lack of enforcement on COVID-19 guidelines in the workplace. These two health districts contain the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem and the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig and Roanoke.
Florida’s U.S. senators push to get rid of time change amid pandemic
ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s U.S. senators are proposing to stay on Daylight Savings Time and keep us from springing forward next year due to the pandemic, according to WJXT. The two senators say they’re proposing this change to help bring stability back to American families during the pandemic, and this isn’t the first time the lawmakers have made this push. Sen. Rubio reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act in March 2019, which would have made Daylight Savings Time permanent across the country. The act was originally signed into law by then-governor Rick Scott in 2018. Congress has not yet passed legislation that would allow Florida to stay on Daylingt Savings Time.
Myrtle Beach renews mask order as virus cases trend downward
MYRTLE BEACH, Va. – A South Carolina beach town has renewed its mask mandate as coronavirus cases trend downward following a spike linked to the popular tourist destination this summer. Myrtle Beach on Thursday extended through Sept. 30 the July executive order mandating face coverings to be worn in public places, according to the city’s website. In June and July, some coronavirus clusters in other states, including West Virginia and New Jersey, were linked to vacationers, wedding attendees and others returning from trips to Myrtle Beach. Horry County, which contains Myrtle Beach, also saw a spike in cases. Since then, data shows the county has seen a downward trend in case numbers, according to The Sun News.
Radford City Schools continue virtual learning until September 14 due to COVID-19 concerns
RADFORD, Va – Radford City Schools will continue virtual learning for the next two weeks as the number of Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the city. Full release from city schools:Due to the increasing number of Coronavirus cases in Radford CIty resulting in Radford being recognized as one of the top ten “Hot Spots” in the nation for COVID-19 cases, Radford City Schools will continue with virtual learning for hybrid students and Virtual Radford students as we did last week. We do have some exposures and cases of COVID-19 in our school community population, but they were contracted outside of our school system. As we continue with virtual learning for the next two weeks, we will also continue our food distribution program on Mondays from 4:30-6:30 at the Belle Heth cafeteria. Please review your email this weekend for more information and details regarding the extension of our virtual learning platform and instructional strategies, including synchronous opportunities for the next two weeks.
GO Fest to host small, socially distanced events in lieu of larger celebration
ROANOKE, Va. – The annual GO Fest in Roanoke will still be happening despite coronavirus, but it will look a little different this year. Officials say the festival won’t be at River’s Edge — it will be replaced with smaller, socially distanced events during the weekend of Oct. 16-18. “We want it to be a weekend where everyone makes it a point to do something outside,” said Julia Boas, events director for the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “More than ever we need to gather outside, physically distant but socially connected.,” said Kait Pedigo, Roanoke Parks and Recreation special events supervisor. All proceeds raised will go to Project Outside, which is a fund created to support outdoor capital improvement projects, maintain outdoor facilities and help launch and support outdoor businesses.
Roanoke’s MystiCon cancels event scheduled for February
ROANOKE, Va. – Mysticon, Roanoke’s science fiction convention, has canceled its event scheduled for February 2021. Below is the full statement from event organizers:“At MystiCon the health, safety, and security of our attendees, guests, vendors, hotel employees, staff and volunteers is our first and most important priority. Because of the ongoing medical threat posed by the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, the Staff and Board of MystiCon has made the difficult decision to cancel our February 2021 convention. We thank everyone who has helped make the MystiCon Science Fiction Convention such a resounding (and fun!) success over this past decade and we will miss seeing all of you in 2021.”
AAA report suggests pandemic will slow Memorial Day travel, but a rebound is expected
ROANOKE, Va. – A report from AAA suggests that travel for Memorial Day will be down due to the coronavirus pandemic, but AAA says it doesn’t expect that trend to last for long. For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not be releasing a Memorial Day travel forecast because the accuracy of the data used to compile that report has been undermined by COVID-19. According to AAA, online bookings have been modestly rising since mid-April, suggesting travelers are starting to feel more comfortable and confident about travel. The expected rebound in domestic trips is based off of trends AAA anticipated for summer before the pandemic ramped up. In March, a AAA survey found 90% of the 173 Americans who had summer vacations planned were set to go on US-based vacations.
Krispy Kreme to honor 2020 seniors with free ‘Graduate Dozen’ doughnuts
Krispy Kreme wants to help all high school and college seniors celebrate their accomplishments with free doughnuts on May 19, the company said in a press release. We wish they had that moment of walking across the stage and getting their diploma,” said Dave Skena, chief marketing officer for Krispy Kreme. “We can’t replace that … but we thought we could help them safely have a little fun and enjoy a special ‘Graduate Dozen’ on us. Moms, dads, friends and family can buy this ‘Graduate Dozen’ all week long to honor their favorite graduates, but only seniors can get one for free.”The ”Graduate Dozen” includes chocolate iced with sprinkles doughnuts, strawberry iced with sprinkles doughnuts, cake batter filled doughnuts and a yellow iced original glazed doughnuts. The offer is taking place at participating Krispy Kreme locations while supplies last.
Microwaving your mask won’t disinfect it — it’s actually a potential fire hazard
ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department is warning residents after several posts encouraging people to microwave masks to disinfect them starting swirling on social media. Not only is this method not effective, it’s actually a potential fire hazard, according to Kristen Perdue, community risk reduction specialist with the department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask in public places where social distancing might be difficult, like grocery stores. According to the CDC, face masks should be routinely washed, and a washing machine should do the trick.
Talking drones enforce social distancing
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Police in Savannah, Georgia are using talking drones to enforce social distancing orders. The drones can play a pre-recorded message while hovering near crowds: “Due to the current health emergency, members of the public are reminded to keep a safe distance of six feet from others.”Sgt. Jason Pagliaro of the Savannah Police Department says officers will be following FAA restrictions while operating the drones, making sure they do not fly over crowds and other prohibited locations. “We do not use our drones for random patrol, they’re not flying all the time. We use them in directed areas where the need is present,” Pagliaro says.
“The world is different now”: Rafters return to coronavirus pandemic
The 24-day adventure took them down the scenic Colorado River...away from cell service, internet and far from the outside world. The Portland, Oregon couple anticipated returning to everyday life would be difficult, but they never expected a new reality. Murphy and Murray were some of the last people in America to learn about widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic. They returned to a world where schools were shut down, movie theaters were closed and people used an unfamiliar phrase, "social distancing." “Right now, it’s like coming into a completely different world.”The Portland couple didn’t have much time to get ready for re-entry.
University of Virginia student tests positive for coronavirus
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A University of Virginia student has tested positive for coronavirus, according to an announcement from the school on Twitter. Officials say the student is one of three positive COVID-19 cases in the Thomas Jefferson Health District. According to the school’s announcement, the student is living off-grounds in Albermarle County and is believe to have contracted the virus during recent international travel. The student is reportedly in isolation, and the health department is working to find anyone who may have come in contact with the patient.