City leaders, what are your plans?

On March 17, The Lynchburg City Council voted to declare a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Treney Tweedy announced that this declaration gives the city the ability to request federal emergency funding. The city will defer collection of certain taxes as an aid to struggling businesses, and has suspended water service shutoffs and late payment fees.

I applaud these actions, but the people of Lynchburg have yet to be informed of the capacity that our city has to weather this crisis and what measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus once it is confirmed in Lynchburg.

I would feel much reassured if we knew that the mayor and City Council, city manager, chief of police, fire chief and the CEO of Centra were in daily discussion developing a comprehensive plan of action.

We must know of our hospitals: (1) How many beds do they have? (2) How many of those beds are already occupied? (3) How many ICU beds do they have? (4) How many of those beds are already occupied? (5) What is the plan to increase capacity?

The plan would ideally also include provisions to quarantine individuals who have symptoms but may not require hospitalization, in order to prevent them putting their families, housemates, or neighbors at risk. Perhaps the city could partner with local colleges, whose dorms are closed for the semester, to provide isolation housing, with medical staff monitoring?

I want to thank all of our public servants, medical professionals and sanitation workers for their efforts in this crisis. I hope that the city will come through with an announcement about preparations.

WILLIAM JUDGE BROWNING

Lynchburg

Congress, put the people first

As I sit here on Sunday night, the headlines from several sources say that the economic relief package in Congress is being delayed. The Republicans are pressing for the money to go to industry and large corporations, rather than individuals and small businesses, rather than the millions of people who are laid off or sick or losing their savings because of the coronavirus.

Nonsense, we have tried that before. Huge tax breaks and billions of bail out money to the top 1 percent and huge corporations, and none of it “trickled down.” And now they hope we will be fooled by a one time check from the White House, for a pittance of what we are losing. I hope the Trump administration cannot fool us again.

It is time for Congress to help the ordinary people! They need to throw a lifeline to everyday Americans caught in a desperate situation that we did not make.

It is time to put the people first!

SOLVEIG KJESETH

Lynchburg

Explain your vote, Rep. Cline

Rep. Ben Cline, R-Sixth District, was one of just 40 to vote against the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), according to The News & Advance on March 22.

I sincerely believe Cline owes the 6th District a detailed explanation of his vote — something beyond the pablum his newsletters usually provide. The coronavirus pandemic is destroying lives and devastating the economy. Why did you vote no, in detail please? If you cannot explain why you are helping to devastate the Sixth District do the honorable thing and resign.

WILLIAM CONNER

Lynchburg

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