Tysons, VA

Noticed normally busy public spaces that are now empty or store closures in the Tysons area? Send them to Tysons Reporter.

We’re looking for your photos of what it’s like to live or work in Tysons, Vienna, McLean, Falls Church or Merrifield during the coronavirus. What does it look like to social distance in an urban area?

Whether you snap pictures on a professional camera or your smartphone, we are always interested in sharing your photos (with credit to you!) in our Morning Notes on weekdays or on social media.

The best way to send photos is to email us at [email protected] or tag/direct message us on our social media accounts (InstagramTwitter and Facebook).

 Thank you to the photographers who have already sent us photos!
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Earlier today, teachers and staff from a local elementary school drove decorated vehicles through Vienna neighborhoods to say hello to families.

The “Love Parade” organized by Cunningham Park Elementary School (1001 Park Street) aimed to show support for families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parade started around 11 a.m. and made its way through several local streets. Families came outside to wave to the teachers and staff, who adorned their vehicles with messages:

“We love you.”

“CPES STUDENTS ROCK!”

“Remember Wash your HANDS”

Fairfax County public schools are closed through the end of the school year. FCPS is planning for teachers to provide distance learning to students while the buildings are closed.

Some people took to social media to show their appreciation for the parade:

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A 9-year-old in Vienna wants to help local businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic after they previously supported his fundraising efforts for young cancer patients.

Matteo Lambert began his philanthropic journey after working with the founder of Hopecam, which allows severely ill cancer patients to connect digitally with friends and fight social isolation.

After starting a fundraiser, Matteo and his father Brandon Lambert said eight key businesses in Vienna donated around $250 each for the cause.

Bu now that the COVID19 pandemic has taken a toll on small businesses, Matteo wants to support them during their time of need.

Matteo set up a GoFundMe on March 17 to pay back the businesses for their original donations. So far, the campaign has raised over $1,420 out of the $2,020 goal.

The businesses that will benefit from the fundraiser include:

Brandon said his son had no fundraising experience before he began helping Hopecam and has learned a lot from the experience.

Now, Matteo communicates with donors almost exclusively on his own without too much extra help from adults.

Besides the GoFundMe campaign, Matteo and his father have their own non-profit called Off the Charts Club and have been featured on several other news outlets and podcasts.

Off the Charts Club empowers youth leadership and helps kids to lead their best lives despite any diagnosis or disability, according to its website.

Because of the pandemic, which has taken an economic toll on local businesses and families, Matteo’s dad said the organization has put its fundraising on pause for the time being because they didn’t feel it was right to ask for money in such a challenging time.

Even if someone cannot help their community by donating money, Matteo suggested that people help by donating extra items to local homeless shelters or plant gardens.

“There are no age or size requirements on helping your community,” Matteo said.

Photos via GoFundMe

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To combat a nationwide shortage of medical supplies, Falls Chuch Distillers decided to switch focus and begin making their own hand sanitizer.

Branded “Aim High Hand Sanitizer,” owner Michael Paluzzi said the goal is to step up to help the community and keep his business afloat.

The distillery’s new production is drawing the attention of medical staff, who are willing to cross state lines for the product, according to Paluzzi.

For a first test batch, Paluzzi said he and his crew created 300 gallons, which was gone within the first five hours of the release, which started on Friday (March 20).

During the giveaway, he handed out tiny 5 oz. bottles for free to the public and sold half-gallon and one-gallon sized tubs at market value, according to a Facebook post.

At one point, there were more than 100 people standing in line for the supply, Paluzzi said, adding that he always walked first responders or anyone who identified as medical staff to the front of the line.

The first batch of sanitizer is supporting “at least a dozen” hospitals and doctors’ offices, several retirement homes and other government agencies, according to Paluzzi.

A few nurses from York, Pennsylvania even sent representatives to pick up hand sanitizer for them, he said. “I’m surprised they even knew about it,” Paluzzi said.

Curious about Paluzzi’s secret recipe?

Read More

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The McLean Community Center recently announced that it’s canceling McLean Day and events in April and May due to coronavirus concerns.

The annual event usually draws roughly 10,000 people to Lewinsville Park for laser tag, bubble ball and live entertainment, according to Visit Fairfax.

The event also always people to vote for candidates running for the McLean Community Center’s Governing Board.

The board decided yesterday (Wednesday) to cancel the center’s sponsored events for those two months following concerns that the events could draw large crowds, according to a press release.

Previously, the center, which is home to the Alden Theatre, galleries for the McLean Project for the Arts, the Susan B. DuVal Art Studio and meeting rooms, announced it would be closed through April 12.

Now, the center is closed “until further notice.”

As for the election, absentee voting is currently underway through 5 p.m. on May 13.

“The McLean Day in-person voting, stipulated in the Center’s Memorandum of Understanding, will be held at MCC, 1234 Ingleside Ave., as scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 16,” the press release said.

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A local author says her upcoming mystery novel is her “love letter” to Vienna.

“To Kill a Mocking Girl” is about a woman who investigates the death of someone named Tricia after being framed for her murder, according to the author’s website.

Harper Kincaid said that though the book is fiction, it is set in Vienna and includes local spots such as Bards Alley bookstore and the Freeman Store.

“I got a kick out of sharing with readers some of my favorite places in town,” she said.

There are many real-life residents written into the book too, she said, adding that she wonders if local readers can guess who they are.

Kincaid wasn’t born in the town but moved there around 2006 and said the townspeople help her to feel at home.

Though a hard copy of the book was set to launch in May, the publicist told Tysons Reporter that the physical book launch has been pushed to June 9 after a prerelease of the e-book on May 12.

Currently, the book is available for preorder but it is unclear when it will actually ship.

Depending on how things progress, Kincaid said she is considering having a book launch on June 9 at 7 p.m. in Bards Alley bookstore where she wants to give away a gift-basket valued at around $250.

Image courtesy Harper Kincaid

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(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) Local volunteer fire and rescue departments have teamed up with Inova Blood Donor Services to hold blood drives.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said that the blood drives will help boost blood supplies, which are “at dangerously low levels and dropping” in the county and U.S.

“Inova Blood Donor Services is taking all precautions as it relates to COVID-19,” according to the post. “There will be plenty of space to spread out and use appropriate social distancing.”

The full list of locations is online. Below is the information for the Tysons-area blood drives:

  • Thursday, March 26: 1-7 p.m. at McLean Volunteer Fire Department (1455 Laughlin Ave)
  • Monday, March 30: 1-7 p.m. at Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (400 Center Street S.) all slots full
  • Wednesday, April 22: noon-7 p.m. at Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (2148 Gallows Road)

The blood drives will be held in the fire station parking lots. To lower the risk of spreading the virus to firefighters and paramedics, people won’t be able to access the fire stations.

Photo via Facebook

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Editor’s note: Are you a restaurant in the Vienna, Falls Church, Tysons, Merrifield and McLean areas that has a fundraiser? Email us at [email protected] and we will update the list.

Fundraisers are popping up to help employees at the many restaurants around the Tysons area that are struggling with safety concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some local restaurants have pivoted to take-out or delivery only options to stay open, while others have shuttered their doors temporarily — or sometimes permanently.

Tysons Reporter browsed GoFundMe to find fundraisers connected to local restaurants. Here’s what we found.

Thompson Italian (124 N. Washington Street), a restaurant in Falls Church, decided to close temporarily on March 16 due to the pandemic. Now, a Staff Relief Fund is looking to raise $50,000 for the staff, who have been laid off.

“We are seeking ways to support our staff who are now suddenly out of work,” according to the fundraiser. “100% of proceeds from this fund, and from current gift card sales, will go directly to our staff to help with necessities.”

The fundraiser notes that it is focusing on staffers who “are more vulnerable during this crisis” — it won’t go to the owners  or to business-related costs — and “will use donations to meet critical necessities (e.g. food, medication, paper products, and toiletries).”

A fundraiser for another Falls Church eatery — Clare and Don’s Beach Shack (130 N. Washington Street) — is looking to raise $30,000 to help the staff, who have been laid off.

“[The owners’] decision to close last Sunday was an effort to protect staff and customers from COVID-19, realizing that the most impacted would be staff,” according to the fundraiser.

Stefanie Fornaris, the lead bartender at Great American Restaurants, started a GoFundMe three days ago for the laid-off bartenders who used to work at Patsy’s American — one of three eateries from GAR in Tysons.

“We never in a million years would have ever imagined a day when we would have to say that any of us were laid off in the industry that has proven time and again to be so reliable to us for so many years,” according to the GoFundMe.

Patsy’s (8051 Leesburg Pike) is currently open for curbside pick-up and delivery, according to its website.

Nearby, The Palm (1750 Tysons Blvd) has a virtual tip jar set up for its employees. The restaurant, which is known for its caricatures of famous people covering its walls, is offering take-out.

Tysons Reporter previously reported on the owners of Bear Branch Tavern’s GoFundMe for its employees while the newly opened Vienna restaurant is temporarily closed.

First photo via Clare and Don’s Beach Shack/Facebook; second photo via GoFundMe

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Now that winter is over and spring is finally here, people looking to sip on a cold beer or alcoholic drink outside can order from these local breweries and distilleries.

Sweetwater Tavern (3066 Gate House Plaza), a microbrewery in Merrifield, is offering curbside pick-up for growlers and carry-out beer and wine orders from 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., according to its website. The online menu includes all-day lunch, kids meals and seven growlers to-go.

Over in Falls Church, Audacious Aleworks Brewery and Taproom (110 E. Fairfax Street) is open 2-7 p.m. daily for only carry-out cans and growlers, according to its website. The small craft brewery specializes in small batch ales, and the taproom has up to 20 beers on tap.

The Falls Church Distillers (442 S. Washington Street, Suite A) has closed its restaurant for right now, but the on-site ABC store is still open, according to a Facebook post. The distillery produces several small-batch spirits including vodkas, gins, rums and whiskeys.

Settle Down Easy Brewing Co. (2822 Fallfax Drive), a nano-brewery in Falls Church, is offering pick-up orders from noon-7 p.m. daily, according to a Facebook post.

The Caboose Brewing Company, a 15-barrel-brewhouse is behind Caboose Commons in Merrifield and Caboose Tavern in Vienna, is accepting to-go orders for both locations.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (7861 Tysons Corner Center) in Tysons Corner Center is temporarily closed.

While not a brewery, the newly opened Black Dog Beer Shop (2672 Avenir Place, Suite M) is offering curbside delivery and pick-up for beer and groceries. Near the Dun Lorring-Merrifield Metro stop, the shop is open from 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, from 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays.

Photo courtesy Caboose Commons

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In response to the novel coronavirus, several local stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors and high-risk customers.

We’ve rounded up what we know so far about these hours, although some grocers have not defined the age minimum for being classified as a “senior.”

Here’s the latest update on specialized shopping hours for seniors and high-risk people:

  • Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market: First hour of shopping every day
  • Target: First hour of shopping on Wednesdays
  • Whole Foods: (Vienna, Idylwood Plaza and Tysons): people ages 60 and older can shop at 7 a.m. before the stores open at 8 a.m.
  • Safeway: 7-9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, per a store representative
  • Harris Teeter: 6-7 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays for people ages 60 and older
  • Giant: People age 60 and older or with compromised immune systems between 6-7 a.m.
  • Walgreens: Tuesdays from 8-9 a.m., also open to caregivers and immediate families
  • Trader Joe’s: Mondays from 9-10 a.m.
  • Walmart (1500 Cornerside Blvd in Tysons): will open at 6 a.m. for seniors on Tuesday, March 24
  • The Fresh Market: seniors and immuno-compromised people can shop 8-9 a.m. every day at all locations

Additionally, some stores are offering in-person and online express lanes for seniors:

“Harris Teeter will designate ExpressLane Online Shopping pick-up times from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for seniors only every Thursday until further notice and will waive the $4.95 fee & offer $5 delivery for seniors during these times,” according to the grocery store chain.

“Every day between 9-10 a.m., crew members will maintain an additional line outside the front door for our senior customers,” according to Trader Joe’s website. “This will ensure that those customers in need will have an expedited entrance to the store to help make their experience a more positive one.”

Ashley Hopko and Catherine Douglas Moran contributed reporting

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