BERRYVILLE — An auction of more than 20 properties in Clarke County's rural Shenandoah Retreat community planned for this week has been postponed.

The Richmond law firm of Sands Anderson PC was going to hold the auction at 1 p.m. today at the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center.

"We're trying to protect people from the coronavirus," said county Treasurer Sharon Keeler.

The auction will be rescheduled. Keeler said she doesn't know how soon.

"Like everyone else" coping with effects of the pandemic, "we're taking everything day by day," she said.

State code allows localities to sell private properties when owners have not made any tax payments on them for two years. Owners of each of the properties to be auctioned have been notified at least 12 times that they owe taxes, Keeler said.

Along with the Shenandoah Retreat properties, lots along Josephine Street in Berryville as well as Linden Lane and Senseny Road in the county also are to be auctioned.

Berryville and Clarke County government offices remain open for business. However, employees are responding only to phone calls and emails.

Walk-up windows at the Government Center on Chalmers Court in Berryville are closed. Anyone needing to make payments or drop off documents should use drive-through kiosks on the building's west side.

Under an order issued by Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday, the Clarke County Public Schools — like all other local school divisions statewide — will be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

Residents with questions or concerns about the enforcement of state-mandated restrictions should contact the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office or the Berryville Police Department at 540-955-1234. That is the non-emergency line. Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

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