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VPM Daily Newscast: August 5, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.           

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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Thursday, August 5, 2021: 

  • Democrats in Virginia want to set aside federal stimulus funds to give bonuses to law enforcement officers. As Ben Paviour reports, Republicans are pressing them to move faster. 

  • Virginia DMVs may have to open up their doors to customers without appointments under a proposal passed by the state Senate on Wednesday. Some lawmakers, like Republican Senator Jill Vogel, said their offices have been flooded with calls from people trying to get DMV appointments. Some Democrats argued against the idea, saying it would put state employees at risk at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising. The plan still needs to be approved by the House of Delegates. 

  • Richmond city employees are now required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Mayor Levar Stoney announced the mandate yesterday, saying employees have until August 18th to submit proof they’ve received at least one shot. The requirement is for city workers, including the fire and police departments. But the new rule doesn't apply to teachers. Stoney said any mandate for teachers would have to come from the school board. The mayor added the city has not tracked how many of its workers have gotten the vaccine already. But he said anecdotal evidence suggests around half of city employees are vaccinated. 

  • As reported by the Richmond Times Dispatch, a number of area restaurants will require diners to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before they sit down to eat. Mayor Stoney told reporters Wednesday that he supports these efforts.Stoney says that he hopes many restaurants will follow the lead of Longoven, Godfrey’s, Nama and others in taking extra precautions to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Virginia’s current positivity rate is 6.5 % up from 2% just a month ago. 

  • A new exhibit coming to Richmond features restored musical instruments recovered after World War II. Violins of Hope will be on display at three local museums through October. The exhibit features a collection of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. Violins of Hope is being held in collaboration with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, which will present a number of concerts featuring the violins. The first one is today at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. For more info about the exhibit and concerts, visit  violinsofhopervacom

  • The Virginia Department of Health has lifted its recreational advisory for the James River from Robious Landing Park to Belle Isle. Rivergoers were told to stay out of the water following a sewer line break that dumped 300,000 gallons of raw sewage into Tuckahoe Creek, a tributary to the James. The line has been repaired and is operational again. VDH still advises avoiding contact with the water in Tuckahoe Creek south of River Road; testing found elevated bacteria levels there. They say to look out for a few things: foul odors, dead fish, discolored water and advisory signage. Bacteria counts in the creek are expected to return to safe levels within a week.