Local Business and Economic Development
This is the day Governor Northam promises to set forth the guidelines that come with the Phase Two re-opening set for tomorrow. One of most widespread impacts involves restaurants, which will once again be permitted to serve customers inside. That means getting ready in a hurry, as WFIR’s Evan Jones reports:
Mack Trucks is planning to start production of the new Mack M-D Series medium-duty truck models at its Roanoke Valley Operations facility on September 1st. The start was delayed from July as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A Mack spokesperson says work is underway now at Roanoke County’s Valley Tech Park for the start of production in September, and hiring is underway.
(news release from earlier this year) ROANOKE VALLEY, Virginia (Jan. 30, 2020) – Mack Trucks today launched the all-new Mack® MD Series of medium-duty trucks, adding to its already robust product lineup to reach new customers and applications. Serial production of the Mack MD Series will begin in July 2020.
Mack also announced a $13 million investment to establish its Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO), a new manufacturing facility in the Roanoke Valley, Virginia, for the production of the Mack MD Series. The project will result in the creation of 250 new jobs. “Mack Trucks is very proud to make this investment and to now offer a full lineup of Class 6 to Class 8 commercial vehicles, serving virtually every segment of the market,” said Martin Weissburg, Mack Trucks president. “With this investment, Mack is well-positioned for future success, and we’re taking orders for the new truck beginning today.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced the $13 million investment during an event with state and local officials at RVO. Gov. Northam approved a $700,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project. Mack’s investment is being used for equipment, tooling and building enhancements in the 280,000 square feet of the facility dedicated to the assembly of Mack medium-duty vehicles.
The Mack MD6, a Class 6 model, has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 25,995 pounds, and the MD7, a Class 7 model, has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. Both models are exempt from the 12 percent Federal Excise Tax (FET). These new products will meet the needs of trucking applications requiring dry van/refrigerated, stake/flatbed, dump and tank truck vocations. The MD6 model does not require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate for non-hazardous payloads.
Many Virginia restaurants now have two weeks of experience adapting to new rules that allow them to serve meals again — and some are finding creative ways to do so. They include Table 50 in downtown Roanoke which created a temporary outdoor dining area weekday evenings that did not exist before — and do so on a downtown street. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:
Table 50 co-owner Eric DiLauro says he expects some already-struggling restaurants will inevitably close, but he expects many others to creatively — and ably — weather the storm.
From Yokohama: Yokohama Corporation of North America’s (YCNA) consumer tire plant in Salem, Virginia is set to reopen on June 1. Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia (YTMV) was closed as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
As the factory reopens, YTMV has implemented several new safety procedures and protocols to ensure the health and welfare of all personnel upon their return. All are based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as from local authorities.
Several preventative measures are also in effect at all Yokohama facilities, including Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, a commercial truck tire plant in West Point, Mississippi, which also recently reopened.
NEWS RELEASE: SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Virginia – The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC) announced the reopening of the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center, which it operates, on Thursday, May 21, to coincide with the Governor’s recent phase one opening of the state.
“We wanted to reopen the Visitor Center to support and serve visitors and the greater Smith Mountain Lake business community in advance of the Memorial Day weekend,” stated Christopher Finley, SMLRCC executive director. “We have implemented new measures to ensure the safety of guests, staff and volunteers including physical distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols, and Personal Protective Equipment.”
Safety measures will be in place in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines including:
- All employees are to wear masks.
- Plexiglass shield installed at the service counter.
- Sanitizer is available upon entrance and exit.
- Floor markings and temporary layout changes to ensure social distancing.
- Employee “greeter” stationed near the entrance to control the number of guests allowed in.
- An employee “sanitizer” will be responsible for maintaining cleanliness throughout the visitor center.
- The chamber’s restroom will remain closed to the public.
Located at Bridgewater Plaza, Suite 2 on 16430 Booker T. Washington Hwy in Moneta, the Visitor Center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Finley added visitor information services are also available online at visitsmithmountainlake.com, over the phone at (540) 721-1203 or via email at info@visitsmithmountainlakecom.
According to the latest numbers from the VDH, there are 752 new coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 31,140. State officials are reporting over a 24-hour period the number of people who have died as the result of coronavirus-related symptoms has increased by 5, bringing to total number deaths across the state to 1,014.
In the Roanoke Valley, the number of confirmed or likely cases remains below 300 — -128 in Roanoke City, 86 in Roanoke County, 32 in Salem, and holding steady in Botetourt County at 31.