The City of Winston-Salem recently announced that it was closing public facilities and suspending meetings in an effort to address the looming Coronavirus/COVID19 crisis. All recreation centers will be closed until further notice. All public assembly facilities including the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, the Benton Convention Center, BB&T Ballpark and Bowman Gray Stadium are closed. City Hall and the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building will operate under normal business hours for critical city business only that cannot be done online or over the phone. Previously planned City of Winston-Salem meetings and events have been canceled.
Desperate times require politicians to respond to the people’s needs. Water disconnections have been temporarily suspended. A local housing advocacy group (which I am a member of), Housing Justice Now is calling for an “immediate moratorium on evictions and mortgage foreclosures and a plan for delivering housing and medical treatment to the homeless population.” If the WSPD department can stop responding to non-life threatening traffic accidents during the Corona-crisis, surely the Forsyth County Sheriff’s department can stop throwing tenants out of their homes.
Mayor Allen Joines, Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian H. Burke and the members of the Winston-Salem City Council have approved additional measures to keep the community safe and ensure delivery of essential services while COVID-19 remains a threat in Winston-Salem.
City Manager Lee Garrity has formed a COVID-19 task force to manage the city’s response in order to maintain essential city services and promote the safety of the public and city employees as outlined in the city’s Continuity of Operations Plan.
City officials anticipate that the closure of schools and day-care centers will impact some city employees with children who are not able to find alternative child-care arrangements. Department heads have been given the discretion to develop alternate work schedules and shifts to ensure sufficient staffing to maintain essential city services.”
In response to COVID-19, effective March 13, 2020 and until further notice, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities is suspending all water account disconnects due to non-payment of WSFC Utilities bills. During this time, we want to ensure that all customers have access to our clean and safe drinking water and are able to practice good hand hygiene. Please note that this is a temporary grace period and customers will still be responsible for payment of their total water bill.”
Housing Justice Now’s press release:
PHONE ZAP: Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough’s office is executing writs of possession on Forsyth County tenants who’ve been evicted. They are still evicting people during a health crisis! Call and demand that they stop: 336-917-7420
— Housing Justice Now (@HJNWinstonSalem) March 16, 2020
Winston-Salem Journal’s Coronavirus/COVID19 Coverage.
The Journal has graciously removed the paywall from all Coronavirus/COVID19 articles
March 15/March 16