As Northern Virginia reopens under phase one, people are beginning to visit public places like restaurants and shops again.
While Gov. Ralph Northam and health directors in Northern Virginia say that COVID-19 trends are going in the right direction, the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Public Health warn that there is still a risk for community transmission of the virus.
For animals, though, the CDC issued a statement saying that the likelihood of catching the disease from a pet is very low. Still, people may feel hesitant to interact with other people or pets.
Currently, county-run dog parks are closed, according to the Fairfax County Park Authority. Several apartment buildings have their own dog parks in the Tysons area, along with ones in the Mosaic District and Vienna.
As COVID-19 restrictions get rolled back, Tysons Reporter would like to know how our readers feel about bringing fido to the local dog park. Let us know in the poll below and feel free to leave a comment.
To support the Black Lives Matter movement and #BlackoutTuesday, Spacebar in Falls Church announced on its social media sites that it will be donating profits from tonight’s sales to Black Lives Matter DC.
Black Lives Matter DC is a member-based organization that helps Black people around the D.C. area who are at risk of violence by working toward “the abolition of systems and institutions of white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy and colonialism,” according to the website.
“We are a radical collective of Black artists, infrastructure builders, movement healers and strategists from the future, organizing in the here and now,” according to BLM DC’s website.
Spacebar, a local hangout, offers diners a variety of brews and meals like sandwiches including a variety of grilled cheese ones and loaded tater tots. People can order for pick up and view the menu online.
The location will be open from 4-8 p.m. this evening for people looking to support the Black Lives Matter movement while enjoying some beer or food.
People who want to call attention to the BLM movement and create space for Black voices to be heard are using #blackoutTuesday on social media, according to the Guardian.
Photo via Spacebar/Facebook
A Vienna learning center is helping out kids in need by temporarily supplying them with laptops during this era of online learning.
Stemtree of Vienna typically offers four different science, technology and engineering courses for students but decided to loan laptops to students throughout the community who don’t have access to computers for online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its Facebook page.
The center’s curriculum director Abdelghani Bellaachia said that the program distributed roughly 10 laptops in the last few weeks and still has availability for students in need. He added that a student doesn’t have to meet any criteria for the free laptop loan besides being in need and a promise to treat the equipment with respect.
Though families might have one or two laptops to share between kids, Bellaachia said he understands this might not meet the demand of online school. “We understand families might need an extra laptop.”
The center has been working with public schools like Westbriar Elementary School in Vienna to ensure the needs are being met, according to Bellaachia.
All laptops must be returned by June 10 so the center has its equipment to start summer camps on June 15 under the first phase of the reopening plan set forth by Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Health, Bellaachia said.
Students in the camps will be with peers in groups of 10 or less and have designated equipment for the week, according to Bellaachia, so families and the center can limit risk.
Photo via Stemtree/Facebook
Though firework displays and community gatherings are canceled for this year’s Fourth of July in Vienna, the town is offering a solution so people can still partake in festivities.
People can purchase a “4th of July in a Box” package from the town for $20. The box includes s’mores supplies for four people, glow sticks, a picnic blanket, a craft activity for two kids and an assortment of patriotic accessories and toys, according to Vienna’s website.
People can pick up their packages from the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) starting June 29, the webpage said.
Though anyone, not just Vienna residents, may purchase the package, the town has imposed a two-box limit per household.
“Visit Webtrac and use activity #610701-A1 to reserve your box,” the webpage said.
July 4th in a Box is now available for purchase for residents and non-residents!
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) May 26, 2020
CVS announced dozens of new drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19 in Virginia with a few near Tysons.
Of the 39 pharmacies offering the tests, two locations are near Merrifield and one is in Great Falls, according to the company’s website.
The locations near Merrifield can be found at 3921 Prosperity Avenue and 10090 Fairfax Blvd, while the address for the Great Falls location is 1020 Seneca Road.
These locations are a part of a nationwide initiative offering 986 total testing locations, the website said.
Patients must register in advance at CVS.com and take a brief survey before making an appointment, according to the website.
The locations will accept most major insurance providers so people may be able to get a free test, the site said.
Respondents are asked for information including birthdate, symptoms, if they have a reference from a doctor or official and if they have preexisting health conditions that might put them at a higher risk.
CVS joins the growing list of places where people can get tested. Tysons Reporter recently compiled a list of places where people can get COVID-19 tests around Tysons.
Image via Google Maps
Updated June 1 — This update reflects a comment from Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.
After upcoming restoration projects sparked concerns from residents in a Tysons neighborhood, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is trying to minimize potential damage to local flora and fauna.
Some Westwood Village community members are worried that the project is distrustful to established trees and nesting wildlife in the area some have dubbed “Tysons Last Forest,” according to Jack Russell, who has been active in speaking out against the projects.
“The citizens have done a good job getting my attention,” Alcorn told Tysons Reporter, adding that he first became aware of the issues with the restoration projects after he heard feedback similar to what Russell has heard.
Contested projects include the Old Courthouse Spring Branch at Gosnell Road stream restoration project, which runs loosely along Route 7 and is currently under construction to restore roughly half a mile of the natural stream channel. Other projects include the installation of a new bike bath to the Metro, replacement of old sewage lines and a project to decommission an old stormwater pond, according to Alcorn.
Though Russell said he understands the need for watershed restoration projects since erosion is threatening certain area homes, he thinks the ecosystem should be at the forefront of peoples’ minds.
Russell and his wife Susan submitted a letter to Alcorn and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik in late April, hoping to get their attention.
“I am greatly dismayed by what I see in the forest today. Various Fairfax County projects are leading to massive tree loss and deforestation,” Russell wrote. “The forest is under siege. Wildlife habitat is being decimated.”
Supervisor Palchik never replied or even acknowledged the letter, according to Russell, but Palchik told Tysons Reporter that the area is out of her geographic jurisdiction.
Alcorn, who does have jurisdiction over the area, spent several hours with Russell visiting the forest to get a better understanding of the area.
“The fact he came out on short notice and spent two and a half hours shows sensitivity to the environment and great leadership,” Russell said, adding that the two trekked through “pure mud and muck” built up from several rainy days leading up to the meeting.
“It was very helpful to see the sites and the trees and understand their concerns,” according to Alcorn.
Though Alcorn sees the community concern, he said that these projects are essential to the overall health of the area’s watersheds and have already gone through the necessary procedures clearing them for construction.
Despite the community petitions, “none of this is coming to the Board of Supervisors,” Alcorn said.
Instead, Alcorn said he will help facilitate communication and find a way for the projects to move forward with more attention to environmental welfare for the local plants and animals.
“I’m trying to use my influence to suspend the project to identify where there can be better coordination with these projects as they go forward,” Alcorn said.
Already, Russell said his own coordination efforts have saved a “significant” number of trees. He is currently coordinating walkthroughs and teleconference with planners for phase two of the project — to minimize unnecessary destruction.
Photo courtesy Jack Russell
COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease up around Fairfax County today (Friday).
Now that the county is joining the first phase of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan, here’s what people who live and work around the Tysons area need to know about county-operated facilities.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and parking lots controlled by the Fairfax County Park Authority are open with the exception of dog parks, visitor centers, playgrounds and public restrooms, according to the website.
Athletic fields will officially open for unpermitted groups of 10 or less on Friday (May 29) under phase one of plans to reopen the county.
Both publicly and privately run pools are currently not allowed to open yet, the website said, adding that certain pools might open for lap swimming during phase one. Pools run by the Park Authority will not open at all this summer.
At schools in Fairfax County, both the tracks and tennis courts have been reopened but playgrounds, basketball courts and athletic fields will remain closed for the time being, according to the website.
Fairfax County summer camps have already been canceled, according to a press release.
For people indoor entering public spaces, the Virginia Department of Public Health announced that they are required to wear a mask or protective face covering. This order will go into effect on Friday (May 29) but the Centers for Diseases Control have suggested for weeks that people cover their mouths and noses to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Farmers Markets will look different this year with the implementation of preorder options and social distancing guidelines.
In the City of Falls Church, people can visit the market only to pick up preordered goods. Shopping and browsing will not be allowed, according to the website. A list of vendors at the Falls Church Farmers Market can be found online.
The future of the McLean Farmers Market, which is run by the county, is still unclear. Opening dates have not been announced yet, according to the Fairfax County website.
All Fairfax County Public Library branches will be closed until further notice, according to the website — but this doesn’t mean that libraries aren’t offering online resources for patrons.
Anyone with a library card can check out digital resources such as e-books, audio files, online magazines and videos.
People wondering where they can go to get tested for COVID-19 in Virginia now have a new resource.
The Virginia Department of Health made a map of facilities offering testing. Tysons Reporter took a look and found the phone numbers, addresses and requirements for testing at the sites in the Tysons area.
For people on the fence about whether or not to get tested, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers information and things people should consider before seeking medical attention.
AllCare/Synergy Immediate Care (1980 Gallows Road) is offering tests Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. until 1:30 p.m., the site said, adding that results will usually be available within three business days. People must first go through a phone appointment before being referred to a drive-thru test, the page added.
Inova Urgent Care Center (8357 Leesburg Pike) is open for testing seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. People must visit with a provider first, who will then order a test for the patient, according to the website.
Kaiser Permanente at the Falls Church Medical Center (201 N. Washington Street) is offering tests for Kaiser patients only once they meet with a doctor or nurse, the page said. Drive-thru testing is available seven days a week from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and again from 3:30-7:3o p.m.
Mclean Medical Center & Urgent Care (6858 Old Dominion Drive) accepts all insurances and is open for walk-in care from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekdays, the website said.
Mclean Pharmacy (1392 Chain Bridge Road) offers testing for Medicare patients Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. People must call ahead at 571-488-6030.
McLean Immediate Care (1340 Old Chain Bridge Road) offers testing for anyone who thinks they may have the virus. A drive-in test costs $175, the website said. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 6 p.m.
Now months later, the distillery not only managed to boost production of its Aim High Sanitizer by expanding its facility and workforce but also developed a health guide to help community businesses implement new “best practices” issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The distillery can produce roughly 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer on a weekly basis, but the distillery’s owner Michael Paluzzi said that a shortage of containers — not ingredients and the production facility — limit their operations, especially for smaller 6 and 8 oz. bottles.
Staff use “whatever we can get our hands on,” Paluzzi said, adding that they usually order from various wholesalers each day because of purchase caps imposed by the high demand.
For front line workers, homeless shelters, various charities and restaurants, the distillery sells larger quantities, like 5-gallon buckets, of the sanitizer, spokesperson Meghan Morgan said.
For people with specific requests, Morgan said that the distillery can slightly alter the sanitizer for people who want various scents like lavender or eucalyptus, which cut the plain “vodka-like scent.”
Right now, Paluzzi said that their priority is helping to supply businesses and restaurants with hand sanitizer so they’re able to reopen safely.
“We have a lot of retail that are reaching out to us now — a lot of recreation centers, gyms, dental offices and all kinds of surgical centers,” Morgan said, adding that the distillery has also been in touch with the U.S. Postal Service.
For individuals interested in picking up hand sanitizer, to-go food and drink or bottles of liquor, they can visit Falls Church Distillers (442 S. Washington Street) Thursday-Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.
Regarding the community health guide, Paluzzi said that it is an evolving document that takes into consideration best practices and new information from the CDC to keep both workers and guests safe.
Throughout the four weeks it took to compile the document, Morgan said that they consulted the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax County Health Department.
“We’ve gone out of our way with qualified individuals, including Dr. Kallie Stavros on our staff, to take the CDC guidance and Fairfax County guidance to create a living document of sorts that we will continue to mature over time,” Paluzzi said, adding that is is available for free to any retailer who asks.
Photo courtesy Falls Church Distillers
Union Pie specializes in thin-crust, bar-style pizza, according to its website, which added that the menu offerings at this new location will be similar to other locations through the D.C. area.
“Dear friend and supporter — inspired and motivated to create some type of lifeline during this difficult time for all small businesses, we’re thrilled to announce that we are officially opening another location of Union Pie right inside the front door of Jammin Java,” the event page said.
People will be able to pick up sample alcoholic premade drinks and menu items at the party, according to the page.
Jammin’ Java, a local concert and event venue, was previously home to a South Block smoothie joint, but the owners decided to switch up culinary offerings, according to a Union Pie spokesperson.
Anyone interested in trying the food before the grand opening event can order online.
Photo via Union Pie/Facebook