With Virginia now firmly within phase 1 of emerging from the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes plenty of sense that the matter of reopening Westmoreland County was brought up at a livestreamed meeting of the county’s Board of Supervisors. While this goes on, the Montross Fall Festival logistics are being figured out, along with whether it will even happen at all.

According to County Administrator Norm Risavi, testing is to start at Middlesex County and work its way from there, though there are still a limited number of testing kits to work with at the time of the meeting that took place.

Opening the county offices to the public on June 15 also came up, with the plan being to have all doors but the front locked to the public, with a sheriff’s office deputy present to take temperatures as well as get their contact information and ask about travel.

“Obviously,” Risavi stated, “we want to protect both our employees and the public.”

Each office would also have six-foot distancing lines taped off and limit the number of folks allowed in the vestibule.

This would also have an effect on the amount of people allowed in a room during the meetings that would be reopened to the public, which undoubtedly would also have to follow Governor Northam’s mask order. Naturally since we’re still in phase 1, the amount of people allowed in the meeting room would still be in the neighborhood of 10, so the meetings would still be electronically transmitted for those unable to find a seat or unwilling to head to the meeting office.

“Of course,” Risavi continued, “the most likely vector for the virus in an instance like this would be someone who is an asymptomatic carrier. It’s a tough situation to handle.”

The chief concerns with the plan came from Supervisor Russ Culver and Vice Chairman W.W. Hynson, specifically with regards on how to handle ventilation for the building; with Hynson pointing out that it’s also the reason why airline travel has screeched to a halt.

Meanwhile, at the Montross Town Council, there is still uncertainty with regards to the Fall Festival and whether it will even happen. The theme for this year has been picked, however, as a salute to those who Town Manager Patricia Lewis called the Front-line workers in the pandemic.

“This includes doctors, firefighters, nurses, EMTs, the police, grocery store clerks, bank tellers, postal workers, restaurant employees, and everyone else that helped during this,” she explained.

According to Lewis, the fate of the Fall Festival will be decided by September 1, with a big part of the decision resting on whether schools open next year or not. Elsewhere on the Northern Neck, it was also noted that Richmond County had cancelled their own county fair for this august, and would likely stay cancelled if the county did not reopen in time. All in all, whether these events happen or not depends on how the virus continues in the upcoming months.

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