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News to Know for April 20: Tragedy in Kilmarnock; Local transportation services drop mask requirement; Arrest made in murder of Petersburg teen

Nationwide, mask mandates are vanishing on public transportation after a federal judge struck...
Nationwide, mask mandates are vanishing on public transportation after a federal judge struck down the CDC’s requirement, calling it “illegal” and now local transportation services are reacting.(GRTC)
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 6:03 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Nationwide, mask mandates are vanishing on public transportation after a federal judge struck down the CDC’s requirement, calling it “illegal” and now local transportation services are reacting. Learn more by reading our top headlines.

‘We’re Going To Build It Back Up’

Shock and heartbreak in downtown Kilmarnock after large fire tears through several buildings, killing one person.

The fire early yesterday morning destroyed seven apartments and multiple businesses on Irvington Road.

Officials say the fire started in a downstairs apartment and quickly spread due to the high wind.

Several people, we spoke with say these businesses represent the heart of Kilmarnock and that it will take everything this small town has to rebuild.

One of the most popular restaurants in town, Northern Neck Burger, is also closing its doors indefinitely after the blaze, the store’s owner Jay Wolfson said in a Facebook post.

“It’s our busiest time of the year; it’s the time when we make the most money,” Wolfson said. “From our staff to our employees, not having that, or potentially not having that is going to be painful.”

Other locals, like Henry Neal, say most of the business on the strip that was destroyed by the fire were operating longer than he’s been alive.

“I think it’s gonna be a big hit. The barbershop has been there long before I was born, and The C&D store was there long before I was born,” Neal said.

But those who have grown up around these small-town Kilmonack staples say rebuilding is inevitable.

Local Transportation Services Respond to Lifted Mask Mandates

Following the TSA no longer mandating masks on public transportation, GRTC will no longer require face coverings to ride its transit services.

Following the TSA no longer mandating masks on public transportation, GRTC will no longer require face coverings to ride its transit services.

This comes after a federal judge in Florida threw out an extension of the mandate, citing it exceeds the authority of U.S. health officials in their response to COVID-19.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Richmond International Airport (RIC) said that masks would no longer be required for passengers while inside the airport.

It’s a change some passengers were already taking advantage of, like Connor Powell, who was flying back to Richmond.

“It felt a little naked, you know, without the masks. It’s kind of like a comfort thing nowadays,” Powell said. “But it was nice to get back to normal, you know, get back on the right track.”

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have also both ended their mask requirements.

Passengers riding GRTC Tuesday morning were a little confused about keeping a mask with them or not.

“I saw the news last night about the mandate being released, and I was hoping it would be different on the bus today, but I brought my mask just in case,” Zakari Sloan, a rider, said.

It’s a change that some riders were hoping would not happen in central Virginia for a few more months.

“As long as the virus is around, I think it should be worn,” Ramone Jones, a rider, said.

Teen Arrested in Murder of Petersburg 15-year-old

Sha-Ron Parham, 18, has been arrested  in the shooting death of a Petersburg 15-year-old.
Sha-Ron Parham, 18, has been arrested in the shooting death of a Petersburg 15-year-old.(NBC12)

Tyjuan Crenshaw II was gunned down at Lieutenant’s Run Apartments back on April 2nd.

More than two weeks later and police announce an arrest has been made.

18-year-old Sha-ron Parham was taken into custody, thanks to the help of the U.S. Marshals.

He is currently held behind bars pending his appearance in court.

Update on Gov. Youngkin’s Gas Tax Suspension

Virginia State Capitol.
Virginia State Capitol.((Source: Capital News Service))

Relief at the pump could be on the way for millions of Virginians. Governor Youngkin’s proposal to suspend the state gas tax for three months - is moving forward.

The House Finance Committee passed the proposal along party lines yesterday, with all Democrats on the committee in opposition.

The proposal has been sent to the House Appropriations Committee - which is also expected to pass it, but it may run into more roadblocks in the Senate.

The proposed gas tax suspension would run from May through July - saving drivers about 26 cents per gallon.

Cold Start, but Warmup Is Coming Later

It’s going to be a cold morning, but Andrew promises a warm-up is on the way later today!

Today will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid-60s.

Final Thought

“Love yourself no matter who you are or where you come from.” --- Diane Guerrero

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