Lynchburg Circuit Court

Lynchburg Circuit Court is shown in this 2016 file photo.

The city of Lynchburg is loosening certain policies for residents and businesses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

City departments now are under a hiring freeze except for public safety positions, and have been “directed to curtail any expenditure except for purchases directly related to COVID-19,” according to a news release from the city.

The city will start working on a “minimal operational staffing schedule” starting Monday to reduce potential spread of the virus. Anyone who has business with the city that must be done face to face is to call the department they’ll be working with or Citizens First at (434) 856-2489.

From now until May 19, late fees for water service payments will be waived and no water services will be cut off, the news release states. Residents are encouraged to make payments of any kind by mail, online and on the city’s mobile app.

Starting Friday, parking restrictions on Jefferson Street and in all or parts of the Jefferson Street Lot, Depot Lot, Crossroads Lot and Clay Street Parking Deck will be lifted.

City Manager Bonnie Svrcek also authorized businesses to “defer payment of certain taxes without penalty, interest and collection activities.” That will apply to meals, lodging and amusement taxes “during the period of the emergency,” she’s quoted as saying in the release.

“Furthermore, the February filings of the business license taxes due [today] will be deferred until Monday, April 20, 2020 with the remainder deferred until May 20, 2020,” it states.

Questions on changes to taxing should go to the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office at (434) 455-3880.

Market at Main owner Rodney Taylor said the measure is the “smartest thing the city could’ve done” to support restaurants and other businesses already struggling during the pandemic.

“We needed this lifeline and I am incredibly appreciative of the city for doing this — these are the toughest times any restaurant has ever faced, or the restaurant industry as a whole has ever faced,” he said.

Rachel Mahoney covers courts for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5554.

Rachel Mahoney covers courts for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5554.

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