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Staunton announces updated guidelines for City Council meeting participation

stauntonThe City of Staunton is announcing updated guidelines involving public participation for the City Council work session and regular meeting scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 22, the special called Council meeting scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29, and subsequent work sessions and regular meetings of Council until otherwise announced.

The guidelines were developed due to what the city says is “increasing prevalence of COVID-19 cases in our area,” though data from the Virginia Department of Health seems to indicate nothing of the sort.

The VDH COVID-19 dashboard reported three new positive COVID-19 tests in Staunton on Wednesday, and a seven-day moving average of new positive tests of 4.0.

The seven-day average of new positive tests per 100,000 population is 16.1, a tick above the state average of 12.0, but that could be more a statistical anomaly of the city’s relatively small population (24,922, according to the latest figures).

Which is to say, literally seven fewer positive tests over the past week, and you’re at the state average.

Anyhow, guidelines.

Public participation 

The public may participate in meetings either in-person or by telephone on the date of the scheduled meeting. In addition, through 5 p.m. on the date immediately following the Oct. 22 and 29 meetings (i.e., Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, respectively), the public may also communicate comments to City Council by (i) emailing the Clerk of Council at, or (ii) calling the Clerk of Council at 540.332.3810.

Voice mail messages are acceptable.

All comments received will become part of the public record of the meeting. Public comment in-person or by telephone on the date of the meeting will be subject to a time limit imposed by City Council.

Persons with hearing loss or speech impairment desiring to attend the public hearing may contact Morgan Smith by email at to request an interpreter.

Specific guidelines for in-person participation 

  • Entry to City Hall will be restricted to the main level, side entrance on Central Avenue.
  • Each individual will be subject to temperature screening.  Any individual with a temperature exceeding 100.3° will be denied entry to City Hall and will be provided with information about alternative means to submit input to City Council.
  • Face coverings are required while inside City Hall. Additionally, 6-foot social distancing must be practiced.
  • City Hall accommodates 35 members of the public at any one time (in both Council Chambers and the first floor lobby of City Hall).  Individuals will be permitted entry on a first come, first served basis. Once capacity is reached, individuals may wait in a line outside City Hall, managed by city staff, and will be permitted entry one person at a time to address City Council.

Story by Chris Graham