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Richmond Mayor Stoney Recovering From COVID-19: Brief Updates

Mayor Stoney
Mayor Stoney greeting voters on election day in 2020. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

During a weekly update on COVID-19 in the City of Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney gave updates on his personal experience with coronavirus, a new tax amnesty program, and a grant for Chop Chop, a Richmond-based food delivery service that competes with national outfits like Uber Eats. Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reported on the briefing for broadcast; what follows is a rough transcript of his audio stories.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday, two days after he says he started showing symptoms of the disease. During a virtual press conference today, Stoney described his experience: “Body aches, sneezing, chills, runny nose, loss of taste, loss of smell.”

He also had a fever of 101 degrees. “Gosh I don’t know the last time I’ve had a fever that high. That actually scared me,” Stoney said.

Stoney says he’s feeling much better, though he continues to quarantine. He urges Richmond residents to keep wearing their masks and observing other safety guidelines.

”I just want to let you know it’s real. It’s serious, and don’t let COVID-19 catch you slippin’.”

A spokesperson for the mayor added that no one from Stoney’s office was exposed to the virus or advised to quarantine by the local health department of the city’s emergency managers.

The City of Richmond is now taking applications for its new tax amnesty program, which was approved by City Council last week.

During a press conference today, Stoney said the program will help small businesses and residents get through the ongoing economic downturn.

“It means that the city can waive penalties and interest on delinquent taxes. If you apply and are approved for the program, the total amount you owe to the city could be lowered because of this amnesty program.”

The program applies to real estate, emissions, lodging and meals taxes. You can apply in person, online, or over the phone by calling 3-1-1.

The Richmond-based food delivery service Chop Chop is getting a $120,000 grant from the city government, as part of the Richmond Rate Reduction Program.

For the next three months, the grant will help reduce delivery fees for local restaurants by almost two-thirds -- from 20 percent, to 7 percent. City officials say Chop Chop hopes to continue the program beyond the three-month period.

The subsidy is also expected to expand the company’s delivery zone to reach the entire city, and also to create new food delivery jobs.