Local Events

COVID-19 INFORMATION


ETSU pharmacy school produces hand sanitizer to combat shortages, COVID-19 spread

JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy is producing hand sanitizer to help ETSU Health clinics and first responders curb shortages and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With the local need identified, Dr. Charles Collins, professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, immediately went to work in the pharmacy school’s compounding lab producing the hand sanitizer.

“During this stressful time, there are numerous instances in providing quality health care when soap and water are not readily or conveniently available,” said Collins. “This hand sanitizer will allow our health care providers and first responders to quickly clean their hands between patients so they do not spread any infection.”

If interested, first responders can contact Collins at collincc@etsu.edu to inquire about receiving free sanitizer.

Learn more at www.etsu.edu/pharmacy.


Safer at Home Health Order issued for Sullivan County, local
emergency declared for City of Bristol

Officials from the Sullivan County Regional Health Department have issued a Safer at Home Health Order for the citizens of Sullivan County effective beginning at 12:01 AM EDT on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 that will remain in effect until further notice. The order was signed by Health Officer Dr. Stephen May in order to mitigate the regional impact of COVID-19, reduce the strain on healthcare resources and ultimately save lives. This order urges citizens to shelter at home as much as possible except when engaging in essential activities. These include:
 Trips to the grocery store or pharmacy
 Medical appointments
 Visiting restaurants for take-out or drive-thru service
 Caring for friends and family members in need
 Enjoying outdoor recreation.
CDC guidance on proper hand hygiene and social distancing, such as maintaining a distance of
six feet between people, should continue to be followed at all times.
The order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people and orders the closure of businesses not performing essential services as determined by health department officials. Directives are provided for certain essential businesses that remain in operation, and the order does not apply to
activities supporting the critical infrastructure sectors described at
https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19.
In conjunction with the Safer at Home Health Order, Bristol, Tennessee Mayor Margaret Feierabend and City Manager Bill Sorah also issued an Executive Order proclaiming a local and civil emergency within the City of Bristol, Tennessee. Following declarations by President Donald Trump and Governor Bill Lee that proclaimed emergencies related to the COVID-19

City of Bristol Tennessee

For the full text of these orders, as well as additional information about the City of Bristol’s
response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.bristoltn.org/covid19.


Tri-Cities doctors relieve ER, hospital pressure fighting COVID

 

In response to COVID-19, Appalachian Orthopedics of Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport will remain open to area residents in need of care while following local and national health authority guidelines.

As the current crisis puts unprecedented pressure on our health system, community orthopedic experts at Appalachian Orthopedics will continue seeing patients in their clinic and urgent care to help reduce traffic in ERs and hospitals for bone, joint and muscle concerns.

If you’re interested in speaking with a member of the practice to learn more about their commitment to our community during COVID-19, please contact me directly so I can coordinate an interview that accommodates your time and your safety.

Mackenzie Groff

mackenzie@venel.com | (402) 983-7257

Appalachian Orthopedics


ETSU Health to transition drive-through COVID-19 testing site to Health Department

Decision comes as local health department opens testing sites in Washington and surrounding counties

JOHNSON CITY – With an increase in regional COVID-19 testing capacity, ETSU Health will close its drive-through COVID-19 testing site, located at 325 North State of Franklin, effective April 1, 2020. While the drive-through site will no longer be open, ETSU Health will continue to administer COVID-19 testing in its clinics.

“The local health department has just opened their drive-through testing sites in Washington County and the surrounding counties,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. “These new sites are open to the public and, along with Ballad Health testing sites, are large enough to handle the demand for testing in our region at this time. These sites will test patients with symptoms of COVID-19 just as ETSU has done. We do not want to duplicate the same services they will be offering at these new sites.”

Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath can contact the Health Department at 423-979-4689 for screening and further information on testing sites.


ETSU students partner with Washington County EMA for drive-through medical supply collection drive

Group is also collecting cards for health care workers

JOHNSON CITY – Students at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine are partnering with the Washington County Emergency Management Agency to host a no-contact, drive-through medical supply and card collection drive from April 9-12.

The drive-through collection site will be open on the first floor of the ETSU Parking Garage, located at 1043 Jack Vest Drive, from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, and Friday, April 10, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, and Sunday, April 12.

The students are requesting donations of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, liquid hand soap, non-latex gloves, procedure/surgical masks, N95 masks, surgical gowns, face shields, safety goggles and thank you cards for local first responders and health care workers.

“All donations will remain local to the Appalachian Highlands and directly benefit our neighbors,” said Victoria Stabile, event organizer and a third-year medical student. “We hope that by collecting thank you cards, we can provide a fun and rewarding activity for families to do this week before dropping them off for distribution.”

Donors will not have to exit their vehicles at the drop-off site.

If anyone has supplies to donate and is unable to attend the collection dates, contact Victoria Stabile at stabile@etsu.edu or 423-212-1290 to make other arrangements.


Have you recently been displaced from work? Several local employers are now hiring!

Biopure Service

CHILDRESS Commercial Property Maintenance

CVS Pharmacy

Food City

Kroger

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Walmart Neighborhood Market Kingsport – Lynn Garden Dr

Are you hiring at your business? Contact Nora Davis at ndavis@kingsportchamber.org to be included on this list.

Resources

Your Kingsport Chamber’s Facebook page.


ETSU special education faculty offering teachers, parents advice on at-home learning for students with severe disabilities

JOHNSON CITY – Three special education faculty members from East Tennessee State University are reaching out to offer assistance to teachers and parents who are now trying to educate students at home who have severe disabilities, such as significant Autism or significant cognitive, physical or sensory disabilities, or multiple disabilities.

Beginning Thursday, April 2, these faculty will hold a Zoom meeting from 4-5 p.m. for educators and parents who have questions and are looking for ideas, strategies and best-practices for teaching children with severe disabilities in an online environment.  The meetings will continue throughout the spring.

The Zoom sessions are open to those working with students who have severe disabilities. For more information about attending the meeting, contact Dr. Mims at mimspj@etsu.edu.


Building Department Open for Business via Online or Phone

 

KINGSPORT, TN – The City of Kingsport building department has closed its doors to the public in an effort to protect citizens and staff, but is still open for business. The city encourages the development community to keep in contact with Development Services via phone or email to check on the status of a project or with any questions or concerns.

Development Services will do its best to keep all projects moving forward at the best pace possible. It is important to note that there may be a delay in turn-around time for items such as subdivision plats which require original signatures.  This is due to some of our required signatories working from home during this time. These employees will schedule time to come into the office to sign those documents at their earliest convenience.  Also – please note that the County Register of Deeds is only recording documents by appointment at this time.

All applications can be found on the city website at the following links:

Planning/Development related applications: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/planning-commission/

Building Department related applications: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/city-services/building/building-permit-application/

 

Contact Information:

Building Division: (423) 229-9393

Planning & Zoning: (423) 229-9485

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.


ETSU Health begins offering telemedicine appointments for patients
Service can help minimize exposure to COVID-19

JOHNSON CITY – Beginning next week, ETSU Health is bringing medical care closer to home for its patients by offering telemedicine appointments. Telemedicine is the use of electronic audio and video communication to provide remote health care services to patients.

“ETSU Health has partnered with VisuWell, a telehealth company, to provide patients access to our health care team using a web-based portal,” said Dr. Timothy Canavan, a professor at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine and chair of the Department of OB/GYN.

While plans for the telemedicine service at ETSU Health were in place before the COVID-19 outbreak, the timing of its implementation is good for patients because it provides them the opportunity to receive medical care from their ETSU Health providers in the comfort of their own homes.

The new telemedicine service is currently available to all established ETSU Health patients, but administrators hope to expand it to all patients within three to four months.

Current patients can make a telemedicine appointment over the phone. They will be sent an email with a link that takes them to the telemedicine portal where they can meet their provider for a health care appointment. Patients can use a laptop, tablet or cell phone with internet access to access their appointment. Eventually, ETSU Health will add a link on the website that any patient can use to make a telemedicine appointment.

“This service saves patients travel time and cost, and the convenience makes compliance easier for the patient,” Canavan said. “It gives patients who live far from us access to the medical experts at ETSU.”

To learn more about ETSU Health, visit www.etsuhealth.org.


City Department Responses to COVID-19

Please read through to learn what steps police, fire, public works and customer service are taking to keep the public and employees safe

 

KINGSPORT, TN – Essential services to the citizens of Kingsport are being altered to take precautions with the current COVID-19 pandemic. The departments that deal primarily with the public have taken steps, expected to be in place for the next 6-8 weeks, to protect both employees and residents.

Kingsport Police Department

In light of current events, citizens should rest assured that the Kingsport Police Department is still responding to emergencies and other citizen calls for service and will continue to do so. With that in mind, for the time being, citizens may notice some minor changes in police interactions. For example:

  • Whenever possible, routine reports, especially those non-criminal in nature, may be handled over the telephone.
  • Whenever possible, officers may avoid entering homes, and instead communicate with citizens outside, unless it is absolutely necessary to enter the residence.
  • Whenever possible, officers will try to observe the recommended 6-foot distance from citizens and avoid shaking hands.
  • The Kingsport Justice Center will remain open; however, citizens are respectfully requested to not come to the Justice Center unless absolutely necessary. If your need can be handled via telephone, please call.
  • If you absolutely need to come to the Justice Center, please consider remaining in your vehicle, calling upon arrival, and allowing an officer to come out to you.

We currently are and will continue to follow CDC recommended guidelines, particularly those involving hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), and social-distancing. Some internal precautions that have already been put into place include:

  • All non-essential training and travel has been suspended.
  • Disposable equipment is being utilized as much as possible.
  • Disinfecting stations have been created for proper cleaning of persons, vehicles, and other equipment.
  • Community relations programs such as citizen ride-alongs and Justice Center tours have been suspended.

To reiterate, none of these changes will affect the Kingsport Police Department’s ability to respond to emergencies or other citizen calls for service.

For questions regarding K.P.D., please reach out to Tom Patton at 423-229-9433.

Kingsport Fire Department

The K.F.D. is making every effort to limit the exposure to employees.

  • All business travel has been suspended; supervisors will question employees on travel plans from now until the end of June; recommend self-quarantine if employee shows any signs or symptoms
  • All public education programs have been suspended
  • Routine fire inspections, unless vital, have been suspended
  • Recruitment school has been suspended
  • Only in-house and online training permissible
  • All stations have secured main entrances – no guests beyond the foyer and bay doors to remain closed at all times
  • All employees must enter through main entrance each shift and complete the health questionnaire and have their temperature taken

For questions regarding K.F.D., please reach out to Barry Brickey at 423-224-2820.

Kingsport Public Works

The Kingsport Public Works Department is essential to providing basic services to the citizens of Kingsport on a daily basis. The city is committed to the health and safety of all citizens and customers so all essential services will continue to operate throughout this event.

Understanding that access to clean water is key to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, Kingsport will keep water on for all customers despite unpaid utility bills during this event. 

Within Public Works Operations, the primary focus at the present time is to prevent the spread of the virus among our employees. The steps that have been taken include:

  • Suspended all large group meetings
  • Limited group gathering to the crew level size
  • Offset shift schedules in larger divisions by increments of 30 minutes
  • Assignment of work tasks remotely via the Cartegraph system
  • Increased disinfectant of surfaces at division locations
  • Increased signage encouraging preventative measures (social distancing, hand washing, coughing/sneezing etiquette)

The following actions have been taken to limit public interaction:

  • Suspension of the Historic Zoning Commission and Gateway Commission
  • Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals have moved to the Civic Auditorium to provide adequate social distancing standards
  • Earlier in the year, to secure the building and provide limited access to the building division, planning division and GIS was completed

Emergency preparation is underway to ensure critical staffing levels are maintained within the water, wastewater and sanitation divisions.

For questions regarding public works, please reach out to Ryan McReynolds at 423-229-9471.

Kingsport Customer Service

Kingsport Customer Service is essential to city operations. Several steps are being taken to protect employees and customers.

  • Effective March 16, all late payments and all penalties are suspended to minimize the public traffic at city hall. While service will not be terminated during the extended period, customers will still be billed for water and wastewater services and past-due balances will continue to accrue if payment is not made.
  • When operations return to normal, customers will be asked to sign a payment agreement for any unpaid water/utility bills. An extension from 6 months to 12 months for the agreement timeframe has been put in place.
  • For customers needing new service, customer service will try to work with the customer to get the needed documentation through email and text.
  • As of March 18, a plexiglass barrier was installed to separate employees from customers to reduce spread of germs.
  • Enhanced cleaning routines have been established throughout the customer service department.

Customers have several options available to pay their utility bills:

  • Pay in person at the Justice Center
  • Pay online at the city website gov
  • Pay over the phone by calling (423) 343-9860
  • Drop box located outside city hall
  • Mail to PO Box 880, Kingsport, TN 37662 or 225 W Center Street, Kingsport, TN 37660

For questions regarding customer service, please reach out to Lisa Winkle at 423-229-9335.

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19-response


Building Department Open for Business via Online or Phone

 

KINGSPORT, TN – The City of Kingsport building department has closed its doors to the public in an effort to protect citizens and staff, but is still open for business. The city encourages the development community to keep in contact with Development Services via phone or email to check on the status of a project or with any questions or concerns.

Development Services will do its best to keep all projects moving forward at the best pace possible. It is important to note that there may be a delay in turn-around time for items such as subdivision plats which require original signatures.  This is due to some of our required signatories working from home during this time. These employees will schedule time to come into the office to sign those documents at their earliest convenience.  Also – please note that the County Register of Deeds is only recording documents by appointment at this time.

All applications can be found on the city website at the following links:

Planning/Development related applications: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/planning-commission/

Building Department related applications: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/city-services/building/building-permit-application/

 

Contact Information:

Building Division: (423) 229-9393

Planning & Zoning: (423) 229-9485

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.


Bristol, Tennessee municipal buildings closing to public

 

 

Bristol, Tennessee municipal buildings will close to the public at 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, and remain closed until further notice.

City Manager Bill Sorah announced the decision Friday afternoon as the City continues to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the region.

“While we realize this may require us to utilize alternate methods for conducting city business, it is a vital step to protect the health of City employees and those we serve,” Sorah said. “We are fortunate to live in an era that allows us to work remotely and communicate effectively without face-to-face contact. We encourage residents to use the resources in place but want to assure them that someone will be available by phone should they need assistance.”

The Slater Community Center and Steele Creek Nature Center closed earlier this week, and now public access to all other City buildings will be restricted. Community members still will have access to the lobby of the Bristol, Tennessee Police Department, however, and may use a phone available there to request an officer. Additionally, City transit buses will continue to operate on a regular schedule, with fees suspended to ensure transportation to vital community resources remains available. Transit buses will be restricted to 10 passengers at a time.

While City buildings are closed, residents may use a variety of bill-paying options and electronic forms to conduct business.

Utility bills, property taxes, and citations can be paid via a drive-through drop box located outside the Municipal Building on 8th Street. Payments will be collected from this site periodically each weekday. Checks, cashier’s checks, cash and money orders will be accepted.

Other options for paying bills include:

  • By phone using a credit or debit card. Utility customers should call (877) 768-5046 and have their account number ready. Property taxes can be paid by phone at (877)768-5048. A non-refundable convenience fee is added to all phone payments.
  • Online by going to bristoltn.org/paynow and choosing the appropriate link. Online payments are accepted for utility bills, property taxes, and citations. A non-refundable convenience fee will be added.
  • By mail to P.O. Box 1348, Bristol, TN, 37621-1348. Utility bills, property taxes, and citations can be paid by check, cashier’s check, or money order only.
  • By automatic bank draft. An electronic form is now available online at bristoltn.org/paynow for customers who would like to set up bank draft for monthly utility bills.

A long list of applications routinely used in planning, zoning, codes enforcement and other divisions within the City’s Department of Development Services also are available online at www.bristoltn.org/development. Fees associated with these applications can be mailed to 104 8th Street, Bristol, TN, 37620.

Residents are reminded that all City parks remain open, and gate fees at Steele Creek Park are currently waived.

For additional information or assistance with these and other services provided by the City, please call (423) 989-5500. Concerns and requests for help also can be submitted online after regular business hours using the Request Tracker button on the City’s webpage at www.bristoltn.org

The City will continue to provide up-to-date information on its website at www.bristoltn.org/covid19.


Citizens of Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport and all of Sullivan and Washington counties:

Our communities are facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, there is only one case in our region and no evidence of community transmission—but it is crucial that our region takes definitive steps to prepare for the coming weeks.

Our highest priorities are the health and safety of our citizens as well as continuity of government and service delivery. This includes emergency services, water and utilities, and waste collection. We confer with Health Department officials, meet with our key personnel, and talk with each other on a daily basis to ensure our response is appropriate, adequate and aligned.

Mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 is critical and that is why, per the recommendation of our health departments and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we are suspending events and programs in our cities as well as closing recreation centers and other facilities that draw crowds. Other services, such as public transit, will operate as regularly as possible based upon the guidance from our public health officials.

We do not take the decision to cancel programs or close facilities lightly. Our hope is that these proactive steps will slow the spread of the virus, particularly among our most vulnerable neighbors and loved ones. Taking action now will help limit the duration of these interruptions so we can return to normal operations as soon as possible. 

Our cities and counties are dedicated to maintaining healthy and safe work environments for our personnel. It is in everyone’s best interest for our employees to remain healthy and able to provide essential services. Sanitation efforts have increased significantly. First responders are taking extra precautions, and 911 dispatchers are collecting additional information to further assess the needs of callers and first responders. Should we need to deploy them, we have internal plans that will allow for modified schedules and remote work options. We have canceled all non-essential meetings and are limiting face-to-face contact. With that in mind, we strongly encourage citizens to conduct business with us online or via phone. Limiting walk-in traffic will go a long way in keeping our facilities open and safe.

We are often asked for guidance on what our communities could or should do. While we defer to health officials for much of that information, we can offer the following: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Wash for at least 20 seconds and with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain 6-8 feet between yourself and others. Avoid large groups or crowds.
  • Use curbside pickup and delivery options! Local businesses are modifying operations during this time. We urge everyone to “Distance Socially, Support Locally.” Visit these Facebook pages: @believeinbristol, @BristolChamber, @JCGoAllLocal, and @KPTSTRONG for information on changes to local businesses and how you can still support them.
  • Utilize online services as much as possible. Check city websites for online payment and autodraft options, permit applications, etc.
  • Stay home if you feel ill or if you are considered high risk. The CDC defines “high risk” as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. These individuals should consider avoiding large gatherings like church services, birthday parties, or funerals.
  • Check on neighbors who are considered high risk. Pick up necessities like groceries and medications for them so they don’t have to go into public places.
  • Spend time outdoors! Enjoy city parks. Unplug. Breathe in fresh air.
  • Business owners and employees should know that we are working closely with state officials on timely assistance and relief options. We are evaluating all the ways in which we may offer support during this challenging time. Please sign up at RegionAhead.comto be included in a business directory that will be a great resource moving forward.

Each City is maintaining a webpage with up-to-date schedule changes and information. Please check them often:

https://www.bristoltn.org/covid19

https://www.johnsoncitytn.org/covid-19

https://www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19response

We are a resourceful, resilient region of citizens who care deeply about their neighbors. We will get through this challenging period together. Thank you for doing your part to keep the Tri-Cities safe.

Bill Sorah    

City Manager, Bristol, Tenn.     

Margaret Feierabend   

Mayor, Bristol, Tenn.

Richard Venable

Mayor, Sullivan Co.

Pete Peterson

City Manager, Johnson City 

Jenny Brock                                                             

Mayor, Johnson City                                   

Joe Grandy  

Mayor, Washington Co.

Chris McCartt                                                  

City Manager, Kingsport                               

Pat Shull

Mayor, Kingsport


Dear Members,

The Governor has requested a presidential declaration for a major disaster (Coronavirus) by submitting a written request to the president through the FEMA regional office. We expect the declaration to be made in the next day or so. 

Here are three ways KOSBE can help you navigate the Coronavirus pandemic:

1.) We can help you document your economic injury and explore ALL of your financing options (including whether you are eligible for the SBA disaster loan).

2.) If you are eligible, we can review the SBA disaster loan application and process with you, so you are fully prepared to submit your own request online quickly and with ease.

3) We can help you brainstorm ideas and develop a plan for recovery and resiliency for your specific business. 

To connect with us, go to www.KOSBE.org

Important Links:

Learn more about small business guidance and loan resources: 

http://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources 

Schedule a 1-1 appointment or phone call with KOSBE TSBDC: 

https://tsbdc.as.me/schedule.php?calendarID=1552869 

Review loan paper forms in advance:

https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/PaperForms

Search Presidential and SBA Agency Declarations:

https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Declarations/Index 

Apply now for a disaster loan online:

https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/LoanApplication/StartApplication 

 

SBA’s Definition of ECONOMIC INJURY

Here is what is meant by ECONOMIC INJURY for purposes of any loan to be provided, once the COVID 19 declaration is done for TN:

“Businesses can only seek assistance for economic injury (not physical damage) as a result of the incident [COVID 19]. 

Substantial economic injury occurs when a business concern is unable to meet its obligations as they mature or to pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses.  

Establishing economic injury is a comparison between the financial information from the period in the prior year to the injury period of the current year – this period must be associated to the [IMPACT OF COVID 19] and cannot be attributed to a downturn in local economy or other unrelated issues. 

For example, if [employees are unable to work; or major conferences cancelled from which the business received revenues; or if a restaurant experiences substantial reduction in customers due to social distancing or because local or state officials are asking or ordering businesses to temporary close or reduce services (e.g., take out only)] and the business [will] not able to be re-established for two months, the business should consider how long it will take for things to normalize. 

If it’s three months, the analysis [for a loan would] show the financial data for the same three months of last year and the anticipated financial data for the same period this year. 

The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits, rather they are intended to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses that could have been paid had the [IMPACT OF COVID 19] not occurred. 

Analyzing a drop in sales, the length of time the business will be impacted, the type of business and typical business cycle of the industry, provides the SBA [loan officers] with the requisite data needed to determine if the economic injury is considered substantial.”

Regards,

Aundrea Y. Wilcox, MBA, CEcD

Senior Business Counselor

Tennessee Small Business Development Center

ETSU Kingsport Affiliate Office

400 Clinchfield Street

Suite 100

Kingsport, TN 37660

Ph: (423) 392-8825

Fax: (423) 392-8839

awilcox@tsbdc.org

www.tsbdc.org


City to Close Library, Aquatic Center, Community Centers

All city facilities will close Thursday at 5 p.m. until further notice

 

KINGSPORT, TN – At the recommendation of the CDC and the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, the City of Kingsport will close the Kingsport Public Library and all other community centers, effective 5 p.m. on Thursday until further notice. Additionally, all rentals of city facilities are suspended until at least April 3.

This decision comes from City Manager Chris McCartt. All programs, classes and events were suspended indefinitely on Monday. At this time, all other city offices remain open.

This information is subject to change as the city continues to monitor the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19. Kingsport looks to the SCRHD and the CDC for recommendations and additional information.

Facility List

  • Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium: All park buildings—Nature Center, herpetarium, etc.—will be closed, but the park itself will remain open to the public. The Nature Center bathrooms, accessible from outside the building, will remain open.
  • Kingsport Aquatic Center: Closed until further notice.
  • Kingsport Carousel: Closing Wednesday at noon (previously released).
  • Kingsport Farmers Market: The market will delay its opening until Saturday, May 2.
  • Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts: All programs and classes are suspended.
  • Kingsport Public Library: The library will close to the public. Due dates on materials currently in possession will be extended, and late fees will not apply. Holds and donations will not be available during the closure. Visit kingsportlibrary.org for access to digital resources at any time, including e-books, audiobooks and other virtual programs.
  • Kingsport Parks and Recreation: All of Kingsport’s parks and on-site bathrooms will remain open to the public, but all programming including athletics are suspended. Lynn View Community Center and the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex will close. Ballfields, including Brickyard and Domtar Park, will also close.
  • Kingsport Senior Center: Closing Wednesday at noon (previously released)
  • Renaissance Center: Closing Wednesday at noon (previously released)

Rental Recommendations
If you have rented a city facility between now and April 3, please contact the facility. As of March 17, the CDC recommends that for the next 15 days, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events of 10 or more people; and for the next eight weeks, cancel events of 50 or more people. If anyone who has already booked a rental has questions or wishes to cancel, please reach out to the facility directly.

For up-to-date information on the city’s response to COVID-19, please visit kingsporttn.gov.


ETSU Health to offer outpatient coronavirus testing for community

Patients required to call ETSU Health coronavirus hotline to pre-register

JOHNSON CITY – In an effort to increase testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Appalachian Highlands, ETSU Health has established a community testing site open to pre-screened and pre-registered patients.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the ETSU Health testing site, located at 325 North State of Franklin,  will be set up and open to members of the community. Screenings will be available to those who are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus and have been screened by ETSU Health staff. Pre-registration is required for testing via the ETSU Health coronavirus hotline at (423-433-6110). The site will be open in the clinic parking lot Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is unavailable at the site, and the number of tests will be limited in the opening period.

“One of the best ways we can mitigate the spread of the disease is to increase testing availability so that people who have a positive test will take proper quarantine measures and not continue to spread the disease,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. “ETSU Health is providing this site to serve our community by lightening the load on our health care system and the local health departments.”

Moorman, who was recently named to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Coronavirus Task Force, hopes that the testing site will decrease the transmission of the disease by keeping potentially ill patients out of the area’s clinics where they could infect other patients. Similar mobile and drive-through testing sites have been utilized in other areas of the country.

ETSU Health is working with commercial testing entities such as LabCorp to provide the tests. The testing site will accept insured and uninsured patients, but again pre-screening is required.  Moorman said, “Individuals will need to have symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection. We do not want people who just have a runny nose to take limited resources away from people who really need the test.”

Patients with symptoms will undergo pre-screening and pre-registration by phone, then be directed to the site to undergo nasal swab collection and testing for both COVID-19 and influenza. ETSU Health case managers will then follow-up with the patient. Test results may be available within 72 hours, depending on the volume of tests that the testing lab receives.

“Our goal is to slow down the spread of the coronavirus enough so that we do not overwhelm our health care community, as has been the case in other countries,” Moorman said. “Providing these tests will empower our community with more knowledge – and less panic.”

ETSU Health’s Coronavirus Testing Hotline can be reached at 423-433-6110 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.


City Hall and Public Facing Departments Close Locations &

Encourage Online and Phone Options

An update to the city locations and services that have direct interaction with public

 

KINGSPORT, TN – Within the public facing departments, important services to the citizens of Kingsport will be altered at noon today, March 23, to take precautions with the current COVID-19 pandemic. These alterations are expected to be in place for at least the next 6-8 weeks, to protect both employees and residents.

Kingsport City Hall – Customer Service

The customer service center will close to the public at noon. Please review the changes below.

  • For customers who need new service, customer service will work with the customer to get the needed documentation through email and text. Call 423-343-9860.
  • Utility payments can be made in person at the Justice Center. Enter through the main entrance, and you will be directed to the correct window.
  • Customers have several other options available to pay their utility bills. Kingsport encourages the use of these during this time.
    • Pay online at the city website kingsporttn.gov.
    • Pay over the phone by calling 423-343-9860.
    • Drop box located outside city hall.
    • Mail to PO Box 880, Kingsport, TN 37662 or 225 W. Center Street, Kingsport, TN 37660

Improvement Building – Building, Development Services, Code Enforcement

For customers that need permits, inspections, planning and zoning or code enforcement, please follow the guidelines below. All the departments listed below can be found on the city website, kingsporttn.gov.

  • For new permits, please call 423-229-9393 or use the online permit application found here.
  • For planning and zoning, please call 423-229-9485.
  • For code enforcement, please call 423-224-2633.
  • For metro planning organization, please call 423-229-9332.
  • For public works administration, please call 423-224-2465.

Sullivan County Offices located in City Hall

The offices located in City Hall are the Sullivan County Clerk, Chancery Court and Law Court. For more information, please contact the offices directly.

  • Sullivan County Clerk: 423-224-1726
  • Chancery Court: 423-224-1790
  • Law Court: 423-224-1724

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19-response.


Johnson City Public Library Closes Wednesday, March 18 Until Further Notice

JOHNSON CITY – Following guidance from the White House coronavirus task force, Johnson City Public Library will close on Wednesday, March 18 until further notice. This closure includes the cancelation of all events occurring at the Library. The Library is taking this step to ensure the health and safety of its users and employees.

People are encouraged to wait to return library materials until the Library reopens; the due dates of checked-out items will be extended through the closure period and no late fees will be applied. Holds that are placed will be ready for pick-up after the Library reopens. Donations of books and media items will not be accepted until the Library reopens.

The Library’s many online resources, such as ebooks and audiobooks from Tennessee R.E.A.D.S., are always available at www.jcpl.org.

As the coronavirus outbreak develops, stay up to date on the Library’s plans and continue to access its digital resources by visiting www.jcpl.org and following Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram for updates.


The Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt originally scheduled at Southwestern Baptist Church, 1112 Cherokee Road in Johnson City, has been canceled due to coronavirus. Contact Rebecca at 423-928-5521 for more information and details.


Dear Appalachian Power Customer,

We hope this note finds you and your family safe and well.

At Appalachian Power, we understand the critical nature of the electric service we provide and are committed to the health and safety of our customers, communities, and employees. We prepare for all types of emergencies and have updated our plans for the COVID-19 pandemic. We are closely monitoring the situation and don’t anticipate COVID-19 will disrupt our ability to provide electric service for our customers.

WE HAVE A PLAN

To ensure our ability to continue serving you, we have taken significant steps to keep our employees healthy. Our line workers and other employees critical to maintaining service are working in smaller teams, adjusting work schedules, practicing physical distancing, monitoring themselves for any symptoms and taking other prevention measures recommended by the CDC. All employees who can are working from home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

WE WILL KEEP POWER FLOWING

As state and local governments are moving swiftly to combat the spread of COVID-19, we are working with them to ensure that our essential employees are designated as critical responders and are able to travel as necessary to keep the lights on. We are also working to make sure that equipment suppliers and support industries essential to our business can continue operating.

WE WON’T DISCONNECT YOUR SERVICE 

FOR NON-PAYMENT

Because we know that many people are facing unusual financial hardships, we have temporarily suspended all service disconnections for non-payment. We urge you to try to keep your account current. If you are having trouble paying your bill, you should contact us on 1-800-956-4237, through your AppalachianPower.com account, or through Facebook or Twitter to discuss payment options.

WE ARE PRACTICING PHYSICAL DISTANCING

We have restricted outside visitors to all of our facilities (with the exception of delivery trucks), restricted all business travel that is not business critical, and restricted participation in face-to-face meetings – both internally and hosted by outside groups.

WE ARE STAYING PREPARED 

AS THE SITUATION EVOLVES

This is a rapidly evolving situation. We are continuously educating our employees about COVID-19 and collaborating with other companies in our industry, government experts, and public health agencies to adjust our response. We’re also continually monitoring and working to heighten employee and customer awareness of scams as well as cyber security risks.

We are monitoring any coronavirus tests, diagnoses, and exposures of our employees and their household members, as well as personal international travel and international visitors staying in their homes. Some team members will be asked to self-monitor or self-quarantine depending upon their exposure.

We are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and continually reviewing our responses and the guidance we are providing to our employees.

WE’RE HELPING SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITIES

The American Electric Power Foundation is donating $1.5 million toward coronavirus relief, including $288,000 to agencies providing COVID-19 relief efforts across Appalachian Power’s three-state service area.

Thank you for taking time to learn about our response to COVID-19. We appreciate your ongoing trust in Appalachian Power as we work to keep your electric service safe and reliable


Bristol, TN Parks & Rec offering online exercise videos and social media activities while encouraging use of city parks

 

A series of exercise videos and social media activities designed to keep community members active during the coronavirus outbreak have been introduced by officials from the Bristol, Tennessee Department of Parks and Recreation, along with a reminder that more than 30 scenic city parks remain open to the public.

And while Slater Community Center and the Steele Creek Nature Center are currently closed, all City parks remain open to the public, said Parks & Recreation Director Terry Napier.  Gate fees at Steele Creek Park are currently being waived, allowing the public to enter for free, and Steele Creek Golf Course is operating during regular business hours with standard fees. The only change is that shelter and equipment rentals, including golf carts, have been suspended, he said.

A full list of City parks and the amenities featured at each is available at www.bristoltn.org/parks.

For those with a creative streak, the department recently announced an Easter Egg Art Contest for community members of all ages. To enter, create an egg using the materials and medium of your choice, take a digital photo, and attach the photo to the entry form. Winners in a variety of categories will be awarded prizes bearing the city’s brand logo. Additional details are available at www.bristoltn.org/eggcontest. 

Facebook users are invited to share an uplifting message in sidewalk chalk this weekend through the Chalk the Walk event. You may find details on the City’s website at https://www.facebook.com/CityBristolTN A Quarantine-o-ween event will be announced Sunday on the City’s Facebook page.

For additional information about these and other programs offered by the Department of Parks and Recreation, please call (423) 764-4023.


Postponed: Registration for Summer Program

Kingsport, TN – The Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department is postponing registration for their summer program due to the current COVID-19 situation.

Parents who are interested in enrolling their child or children should check the parks and recreation website for updates.

If you have any questions, please contact Renee Ensor at 423-224-2489.

For more information, please visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.


City Playgrounds Closing per Safer at Home Order

 

KINGSPORT, TN – Per the Executive Order from Governor Lee and at the decision of the City of Kingsport officials, playgrounds within the city will begin closing tomorrow, April 1. The playgrounds will be closed until further notice.

City park spaces, including Bays Mountain Park and the Greenbelt, will remain open and residents are encouraged to visit in small groups and continue practicing social distancing.

Kingsport would like to remind all residents to continue to follow the best practices, including washing hands correctly and as often as possible, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, leaving home only for necessary trips and of course practicing social distancing in public spaces.

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19-response.


If your non-profit group is having an event that is open to the public, send the information to us and we’ll get it posted on this web page free of charge. The information also goes to our on-air announcers for possible use on our stations. 
Send your PSA (Public Service Announcement) information (event name, date(s) of event, location, times, contact number) to areaeventslist@gmail.com

Cleanup Project: Section of Greenbelt

 

KINGSPORT, TN – A section of the beloved Kingsport Greenbelt is scheduled for a cleanup by a local contractor starting Monday, April 6. This section, from Eastman Road to the Boys and Girls Club, will be closed periodically during the early part of the week.

 

Citizens are asked to avoid this section of the Greenbelt while the cleanup is being conducted.

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.


Road Closure: Mitchell Road

 

KINGSPORT, TN – The City of Kingsport will be performing a new sewer line installation on Monday, April 6, on Mitchell Road. Due to the focused area of this work, Mitchell Road, from the intersection of Pickens Road and Mitchell Road to Eastern Star Road, will be closed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

The construction zone will be marked by signs. Drivers are asked to use caution in the area during this time. 

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.


Bristol, Tennessee court proceedings suspended through March 31

 

In accordance with an order issued Friday by the Tennessee Supreme Court in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, all in-person judicial proceedings for Bristol, Tennessee’s Municipal Court and Juvenile Court have been suspended through Tuesday, March 31.

Court officials are currently in the process of rescheduling court proceedings for the remainder of March. Those impacted will receive letters with new court dates.

For additional information, please call the City of Bristol, Tennessee at (423) 989-5500.


UPCOMING EVENTS


Sewer Extensions in Tri-Cities Crossing Area

The City of Kingsport will be performing sanitary sewer extensions in the Tri-Cities crossing area over the next several months. The focused area of this work will be on Snapps Ferry Road and Cox Hollow Road. The construction zones will be marked by signs and directed by flaggers – when required.  Drivers are asked to use caution in the area during this time. For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.


Local Flavors, Familiar Faces
Kingsport Farmers Market Applications for 2020 Vendors Now Open

 

Kingsport, TN – The Kingsport Farmers Market is now accepting online and paper applications for vendors for its 2020 season.

Every vendor must reapply for the market each new season. The application is available online by going to kingsportfarmersmarket.org and clicking on “Become a Vendor.” Anyone who prefers a paper application can visit Kingsport City Hall or the Kingsport Carousel to pick one up, or request one by phone at (423)392-8414.

Returning to this year’s season is the Evening at the Market series. On the 2020 application, vendors can indicate whether they are interested in participating in Evening at the Market.

Vendor acceptance, placement and dates granted are at the discretion of the Kingsport Farmers Market staff. All accepted vendors will be notified on or before April 1, 2020.


thru April 4, 2020

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant program offers free tax preparation to qualifying taxpayers in the greater Johnson City area. All of our volunteers are fully trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

VITA was established in 2007 to provide tax services to those who are underserved in hard–to–reach areas, both urban and non-urban. VITA generally offers free tax preparation to people who make $64,000 or less and need help filing their own tax returns. Well trained, IRS certified volunteers have dedicated their time and effort resulting in incremental increases in federal return preparation each year and demonstrated efficient use of IRS funds.

In 2009, Milligan began participating in the VITA Program in order to fulfill the needs of the greater Johnson City area. In its first year, one volunteer performed 35 returns, and now the program has dozens of volunteers who prepare hundreds of returns each year.

Backed by Milligan’s business faculty, the college’s VITA Program prepares students, who are trained extensively and certified by the Internal Revenue Service, to prepare returns for citizens of Johnson City, Elizabethton, and the surrounding areas. The program is sponsored this year by Bank of Tennessee.

2020 Tax Preparation Site Schedule

Milligan College will file tax returns from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on three Saturdays during the 2020 filing season:

March 21

April 4

APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED. 

SIGN-UP »

Or call 423.461.8700 to book an appointment.


Thru April 17, 2020

Applications to attend the Washington County Department of Education Prekindergarten program for the 2020-2021 school year will be available at these participating schools as well as the Washington County Department of Education Central Office between March 9 – April 17. Children who will be 4 years old on or before August 15, 2020 are eligible. Simply complete the application and submit it to one of the three participating schools no later than April 17.  Upon submission, you will be given an appointment to bring the child to the school for an educational screening in May.  

A screening process of applicants will follow in May and a lottery drawing will determine if your child is accepted into the program.  An income eligibility application must be completed with verification being a 2019 tax return. Also, verification of home address MUST be provided (i.e. monthly utility bill).  Pre-K hours will be 8:15 am – 2:00 pm, Monday – Friday and parents are responsible for providing transportation to and from school.

For more information, feel free to contact (423) 434-4923 or email teachercenter@wcde.org 


Thru April 25, 2020

Bristol TN to offer lifeguard certification courses

 Community members interested in gaining lifeguard certification are invited to register for either of two upcoming American Red Cross courses that will be offered by the Bristol, Tennessee Department of Parks and Recreation.

The first session will be held Friday, Feb. 28; Saturday, Feb. 29; Friday, March 6; and Saturday, March 7. The second will be held Friday, April 17; Saturday, April 18; Friday, April 24; and Saturday, April 25. The class will meet Fridays from 4-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Viking Hall pool. The cost of the course is $50.

Participants must be 15 or older before the final class session and must complete all online assignments and attend all class sessions to gain certification. The certification is valid for two years.

To register, please go to bristoltn.recdesk.com. If you have questions or need additional information, please email Karen McCook at kmccook@bristoltn.org.


Thru April 30, 2020

Applications to attend the tuition-based Boones Creek Elementary Pre-kindergarten program for the 2020-2021 school year will be available beginning March 9, 2020 at the office of Boones Creek Elementary School, the Washington County Department of Education Central Office, 405 West College Street, Jonesborough, Tennessee or download from the website at www.wcde.org.  A completed “hard copy” of the application must be returned to the Central Office in Jonesborough (405 West College Street) by April 30th, 2020.

  • Children must be 4 years old on or before August 15, 2020
  • Documents required:  Child’s official birth certificate     Child’s Social Security card

    Tennessee Immunization Certificate/physical form

    Proof of address (e.g, utility bill)

  • Pre-K hours will be 8:00 am – 1:30 pm with extended child care available until 6:00 pm for an additional cost
  • Pre-K will follow the Washington County school calendar
  • Parents are responsible for providing transportation to and from school daily
  • Pre-K classroom capacity: 20        Number of classrooms: 1
  • Students will be selected based on order of applications received
  • Cost: $125 per week
  • All applicants will be notified of their status once applications have been verified and processed.  A screening date will then be scheduled in May.

 For more information contact Hannah Duncan (423) 753-1100 or email duncanh@wcde.org.


Thru April 30, 2020

Explore the Stars This Spring at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

 

Kingsport, TN – Calling all dinosaur lovers and star enthusiasts! Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium has two new planetarium shows this spring that explore the planet’s reptiles of old and the stars in the sky above us. Plus, “SunWatch” and “StarWatch” are back to get you discovering the Sun and stars for yourself.

“Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?” is the planetarium’s main feature for March through August. Did a space rock six miles wide really slam into the Earth 66 million years ago and wipe out 75 percent of all living species at that time, including the dinosaurs? Explore these impacts and cosmic collisions across the Solar System in this dynamic show produced by the Milwaukee Public Museum. The show includes footage from the first iridium layer found in Gubbio, Italy.

The alternate show for April is “Discover the Stars.” On a clear, dark night, most of us, at one time or another, have gazed upon the stars and wondered about all those tiny points of light. Many of us are able to identify different patterns and constellations in the stars. But, what are those tiny points of light? This exciting program takes viewers beyond a simple observation of the night sky and delves into the fascinating lives of stars. When we look up at the night sky, we can see that stars vary in brightness and have many different colors. The program reveals what is similar to all stars and what makes them unique. In “Discover the Stars,” we explore the many facets of a star’s life.

Beginning on March 7, “Discover the Stars” will play Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. “Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?” premiers March 14 and will play Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m. and weekends at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Both shows last approximately 40 minutes and feature a tour of the current night sky.

For those that prefer a more hands-on experience, Bays Mountain Park’s free outdoor observing sessions return this spring. “SunWatch” and “StarWatch” are great opportunities to learn about stars both near to and far from our planet.

Witness the Sun in close detail at “SunWatch” every clear Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 3:30 p.m. at the dam, March through October. A member of the planetarium staff or the Bays Mountain Astronomy club will help guests look safely through a telescope at the Sun. Keep an eye out for dark patches—those may be Sunspots larger than the Earth!

On Saturday evenings in March and April, the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club hosts “StarWatch.” This free program gives guests the chance to observe the night sky in all its splendor from the top of the mountain. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, an alternate activity will be held in the planetarium theater. “StarWatch” dates for this spring are March 7 at 7 p.m.; March 14, 21 & 28 at 8 p.m.; and every Saturday in April as well as May 2 at 8:30 p.m.

All observing sessions are free, though Park entrance fees apply. Planetarium tickets are $5 per person. Children ages five and younger receive free admission with a paying adult, and Park Association members also receive free admission. For more information on Bays Mountain’s planetarium shows or group ticket costs, please visit baysmountain.com or call (423) 229-9447.



Invitations to the 2020 Census are being sent! You can respond to the 2020 Census now!

Visit the 2020 Census website to see more information about the 2020 Census and for direct access to completing your survey via internet. Click here for video guides that will introduce you to the 2020 Census, present a quick overview of the online questionnaire, and help you answer the questions. 

Other information

Faith Communities Census Weekend of Action will be held March 27-29, 2020

Faith Based organizations across the state and nation are participating in Census Faith Weekend. There are FAQs for faith based partners, as well as a Faith Communities Action Guide designed for faith based organizations. 

Statistics in Schools Program

With many schools closing, we want our community to know that there are FREE resources that parents can access to make learning about the Census fun! 

Statistics in Schools is a Census Bureau program that uses census statistics to create classroom materials for grades pre-K through 12. Teachers and subject matter experts nationwide helped develop each SIS activity to make sure it is valuable and engaging. The SIS program is available now and includes more than 200 activities and resources in a variety of subjects.

Why is the census important to schools? Learn more here.