Governor Northam and Chief of Staff Mr. Mercer,
On behalf of Covington City Council and those in the Alleghany Highlands, please see attached from Covington City Council. We are using our voices to raise awareness on the economic impact and societal strain, the “Virginia Forward” phased re-opening plans have placed upon those in the Alleghany Highlands.
Overall rural localities have been disproportionately impacted, with regards to unemployment, small business financial strain and sadly business closures. The plans in place are tearing at the fabric of livelihood in the Commonwealth, as Virginia is a comprised of mostly rural communities. It is our hope that given your upbringing in a rural area such as the Eastern Shore, that you could empathize with what we face and support rural Virginia.
To date we have had only five cases within the City of Covington, and none are currently active, yet instead of encouraging our citizens to follow common sense measures of the CDC and VDH, we are pitted against Executive Orders creating apathy surrounding the pandemic which led to the initial Orders. Additionally, the Orders and the limitations to date, have created a ten-fold increase in our local unemployment. Our City of about 5,600, now has nearly a 20% unemployment rate.
Again, Governor Northam, to say that rural areas such as ours faced challenges and barriers before COVID-19 would be an understatement, now we are hanging on by a thread. This is due to the Executive Orders and treating Virginia with a “one-size fits all approach”.
Attached is a letter from Covington City Council, Resolution from the City of Covington, letter & Resolution from Alleghany County and Alleghany Highlands Executive Orders unemployment numbers. Hard copies to be mailed.
Covington City Council
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.