With the rapidly changing circumstances and updated restrictions in place, WHRO Public Media has been checking in with local business owners, musicians and other community members to see how they are coping. From canceled shows to new ways of doing business, hear about both the challenges and the triumphs that residents are facing during this pandemic.

April 7, 2020

What's Next For The Local Arts Community? 


Jae Sinnett has been speaking with local arts organizations and city leaders to discuss how the region's local art scene will recover from the devestating effects of the current pandemic.

As the COVID-19 shutdown continues, WHRV’s Jae Sinnett, of Sinnett in Session, has spoken with local businesses, arts organizations and city leadership members on how the arts and music will recover from the devastating effects of the time. From new revenue streams, online performances, and the ideation around a region-wide music and arts festival, follow the conversation on this page. 

Jae Interviews Newport News City Mayor Mckinley Price
After speaking with Rob Cross, executive director for the Virginia Arts Festival, Jae turns to Newport News City Mayor, Mckinley Price, to discuss the idea of a multi-platform music festival to follow the COVID-19 shutdown.

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Jae Interviews Rob Cross, Executive Director For The Virginia Arts Festival
The COVID-19 shutdown has disrupted nearly everyone in southeastern Virginia. Small and large organizations alike have found themselves with a sense of losses in spirit and income. Even for seemingly unflappable organizations such as The Virginia Arts Festival, times are tough! With no concrete future, the question is, 'What's next?' That's when Jae Sinnett, from Sinnett in Session and Rob Cross, artistic director with The Virginia Arts Festival, got together on the phone to begin talks on how the region will answer that very question.

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Note: The Virginia Arts Festival is a sponsor of WHRO Public Media.


April 3, 2020

‘Saving A Lot Of Heartache’: Norfolk Restaurants Provide Free Meals To Laid Off Workers

Photo by Sam Turken, WHRO Public Media.

Codex is offering free meals once a week to laid off workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many restaurant workers are jobless because of the coronavirus. Some Norfolk restaurants are partnering to at least provide them with free meals.

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March 30, 2020

Norfolk Woman Turns Vacuum Bags Into Medical Masks

Photo courtesy of Peggy Meder

Peggy Meder's medical face masks include a fabric covering and a replaceable filter made from a vacuum bag. She said it takes her about 10 minutes to sew one.

A former nurse is refashioning vacuum bags to help health care professionals protect themselves from COVID-19. Since creating the first mask last week, Meder has donated 75 finished masks directly to working nurses. She’s accepted requests for other health care workers, like those who visit patients in their homes.

Read the full story.

Peggy Meder
Photo courtesy of Peggy Meder's Facebook page.

Peggy Meder, who used to work in a hospital, created a protective facial mask for health care workers made from fabric and vacuum bags.

vanguard building
March 25, 2020

Local Brewery Delivers New Product

Jae Sinnett, host of Sinnett in Session on WHRV had a few moments to speak with Randy Thomas, president and owner The Vanguard Brewpub & Distillery about their mandated shutdown, their opportunity to be part of the distillery team making hand sanitizer for the U.S. government, and the creative ways they are still working to support local musicians during the shutdown. Out of bad, comes good!

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caroline scruggs

Local Performing Artists Band Together

Rebecca Evans, host of Arts Undercurrent talked with local musician and performer Caroline Scruggs. Caroline (like so many performing artists) saw her livelihood vanish in an instant with the COVID-19 shutdown of public gatherings. Yet, even in this most challenging time, Caroline has found a way to keep her performances going. She has also found a light and support not previously experienced within the artist and performing communities during uncertain times.

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Caroline Scruggs plays the theremin.