Tysons, VA

(Updated 7 p.m.) Gov. Ralph Northam has been hosting live-streamed briefings during recent weeks to provide updates on the coronavirus. But today (Thursday), he answered questions on Twitter.

Using #AskGovNortham, people tweeted concerns about personal protective equipment (PPE), claiming unemployment benefits and if Virginians will need documentation for destinations when traveling.

Tysons Reporter has compiled some of the information from the governor’s thread:

On Monday, Northam issued a stay-at-home order for Virginia today as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state continues to climb.

The order, which went into effect immediately and will last until June 10, lets people leave their homes for essential services — including medical care, food, supplies, work and more — and social-distanced outdoor activities that do not involve gatherings larger than 10 people.

In mid-March, local public health officials said they found evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in Northern Virginia.

As of Thursday, there are 1,706 confirmed cases and 41 deaths statewide, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns in the county, reported 328 COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Five people have died from the novel coronavirus in Fairfax County.

On Wednesday, Northam said that Virginia will likely see “a surge in the number of people who test positive between late April and late May.”

Image via Ralph Northam/Twitter

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An employee at the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) has tested positive for COVID-19.

The CSB-Merrifield facility employee works in the youth court services and lives outside of Fairfax County, Lisa Flowers, CSB’s spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter.

More from Flowers:

A letter was sent to CSB staff to alert them to the situation on March 21st. A CSB employee in youth court services tested positive for COVID-19 and an email was sent to CSB staff on March 23rd…

A hospital-grade mister that kills bacteria and viruses was used throughout the CSB areas of the Merrifield Center as part of the industrial cleaning process. As a part of our standard procedure any person who may have encountered the affected person was contacted and advised to quarantine for fourteen days.

Wipe-downs of high-touch areas, such as hallways and elevators, doors and doorknobs, are taking place regularly with EPA-approved disinfectants. Staff are reminded to wash their hands often throughout the day. Commonly accessed areas at CSB locations are also cleaned often throughout the day.

Communication from CSB leadership to staff, which Flowers sent to Tysons Reporter, said that the employee “did not work while they were symptomatic.”

Daryl Washington, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board’s executive director, and Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, the director of the county’s health department, wrote a joint letter to CSB staff on March 21.

On March 20, the health department identified that the CSB-Merrifield employee tested positive for the virus, the letter said, adding that the health department, CSB staff and county officials investigated the case.

More from the letter:

The staff person did not have contact with the CSB adult or youth walk-in assessment units or emergency services. In our investigation, we have identified a small number of staff and clients who were at risk of exposure to COVID-19 while the infected person was ill. The Health Department has contacted those individuals.

If you have not received a call from the Health Department, it means you have not been identified as being at risk of exposure and you do not need to take any actions at this time. As an additional precaution, please observe yourself until April 2, the time during which COVID-19 illness might occur if a person is infected as a result of this exposure.

Symptoms to look for include fever, cough or shortness of breath. If symptoms develop, please contact your health care provider and describe the situation.

For CSB-Merrifield staff who have been called by the Health Department, please stay at home and away from others while the investigation is ongoing and during the time when illness could occur. Until April 2, staff in this group should stay at home or in the yard, avoid contact with others, and not go out in public. At home, contact with other family members also should be limited. These measures will reduce the chance that infection might spread in the community. During the call, additional recommendations may be provided.

“The Fairfax County Health Department has confirmed there are no public health recommendations or actions needed in the workplace because the staff person remained at home when they became ill,” Washington said in an email to staff.

On March 27, Fairfax County buildings closed to the public, but the emergency services on the Merrifield Center’s lower level stayed open, according to the county’s website.

“During this time, CSB has transitioned mainly to telehealth services via Zoom for Healthcare, by phone or video,” according to Fairfax County. “If possible, before coming to the Merrifield Center, please call ahead to Emergency Services to see if you are able to be seen via telehealth services — phone or video.”

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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In an effort to help local businesses weather economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, Visit Fairfax has a new mobile program to connect people to local businesses offering takeout.

Visit Fairfax unveiled the “Take Out Trail” mobile passport program today (Thursday). The free program, which can be used on phones or computers, has a menu of local businesses ranging from restaurants to local merchants.

“Our hope is that the mobile passport will help residents connect with the merchants they know and love and also inspire them to explore the other world-class restaurants, breweries and wineries our county has to offer,” Visit Fairfax’s president Barry Biggar said in the press release.

People can use “Take Out Trail” to find out when businesses are open, where they are located and what they are offering for take-out and delivery. The program has more than 50 merchants, according to the press release.

“In addition, many merchants are offering discounts and coupons, such as 20% off orders or 50% off of wine,” the press release said.

Some of the Tysons-area businesses on menu include Caboose Commons, 2941 Restaurant, Eddie V’s and Barrel and Bushel.

Visit Fairfax worked with digital agency Streetsense and Bandwango to build and launch the program “in a matter of days,” the press release said.

Biggar told Tysons Reporter yesterday that Visit Fairfax is working to support local businesses.

The organization has been promoting “Virginia Is for Restaurant Lovers Takeout Week,” coordinating with local hotels to give discounts to self-isolating first responders and offering virtual activities through the “Fairfax First” program.

Local businesses interested in participating in the program for free can find information online or call 435-477-7804.

“During these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever that we come together as a community to support our local small businesses,” Biggar said in the press release.

Image via Visit Fairfax 

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Fairfax County has now surpassed 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

As of today (Thursday), there are now 328 cases in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns in the county, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Five people have died due to the novel coronavirus in the county.

The number of cases has continued to climb over the last several days — likely due to expanded testing capacity. In mid-March, local public health officials said they found evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in Northern Virginia.

Arlington has the second-most confirmed cases in the state with 128 cases. Statewide, there are 1,706 confirmed cases and 41 deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

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Editor’s note: Tysons Reporter will temporarily have “Morning Notes” every weekday instead of twice a week to accommodate more news.

Prospective Buyers Back Away From Tegna — “Tysons television station operator Tegna Inc. said Sunday two parties interested in acquiring the company have backed out of talks as U.S. markets have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.” [Washington Business Journal]

Little City’s Little Activity — “News-Press contributing photographer J. Michael Whalen took to the streets of Falls Church last week and captured just how empty and barren the normally-bustling centers of activity in the City have become in the wake of the global viral outbreak.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Used-Book Collection Cancelled in McLean — “The McLean area branch of the American Association of University Women has canceled its planned May 2 collection in preparation for its fall used-book sale, but plans on holding future collections as public-health conditions permit.” [Inside NoVa]

Northam Picks Extra Hospital Sites for COVID-19 Patients — “Virginia officials are making plans to increase hospital bed capacity with the expectation that a surge in positive cases of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, will begin in late April and last through late May, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday at a press briefing.” [Tysons Patch]

Photo courtesy Tejal Patel

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Three more people in the Fairfax Health District have died due to the novel coronavirus, the Fairfax County Health Department reported today (Wednesday).

All three men were hospitalized as a result of the illness, bringing the total number of deaths in the district to five.

“We are saddened by these additional deaths in our community caused by COVID-19,” said Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu , the health department’s director. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. 

The men were in their 60s, 80s, and 90s.

As of today, there are 288 confirmed COVID-19 cases — up from 245 cases yesterday — in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns in the county. The number has been steadily increasing over the last several days.

“This is a reminder that we have to be diligent in doing our part to slow the spread of virus in our community. Please remember to wash your hands thoroughly and often, cover your coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face, stay home if you are sick, and abide by Governor Ralph Northam’s ‘stay at home’ order,” Addo-Ayensu said.

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Revenues from decreased ridership are taking a hit on the Fairfax Connector as the fallout of COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold.

The bus service is set to receive $1.85 million in funds from the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which oversees statewide transportation and transit projects, to help address the impact of the coronavirus — including a dip in revenue from fares.

Last week, the board approved supplemental funding to help stave off the impact of service reduction, ridership losses and decreases in revenue.

But the funding, which was OK’d by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), would only keep the buses rolling for about two months.

Fares on buses were temporarily suspended last week because the fare boxes are located at the front of buses. Due to the coronavirus, customers are required to enter and exit buses using the rear doors.

Here’s more from the board matter approved by the Board of Supervisors:

County staff have been responding to the onset of COVID-19, ensuring that Fairfax Connector employees are prepared, and the County’s capital assets are cleaned frequently to help reduce the potential spread of the disease.

At the same time, County staff have been ensuring Fairfax Connector service continues to be available to serve Fairfax County residents who have no alternate way to travel during this emergency.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is continuing to implement changes necessary to protect the health and safety of Fairfax Connector employees, customers and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as requiring passengers to enter and exit the bus using the rear doors, with the exception of customers who need to use a wheelchair ramp.

Fare collection on buses has been temporarily suspended due to the location of fareboxes at the front entrance of buses. The County will continue make adjustments to Fairfax Connector service to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and will ensure information on such adjustments is provided to the public.

An FCDOT spokesperson said that although ridership had dipped, statistics on the extent of the increases are not yet available.

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Editor’s note: Tysons Reporter will temporarily have “Morning Notes” every weekday instead of twice a week to accommodate more news.

Capital One Pledges $50M to Food Aid, Small Business Assistance Groups — “Capital One Financial Corp. has pledged $50 million to support nonprofit partners working in part on food and hunger aid as it continues to ramp up its efforts during the novel coronavirus outbreak.” [Washington Business Journal]

Mosaic District-Based Company Furloughs Employees — “Custom apparel printing company Custom Ink LLC is ‘hemorrhaging cash’ and is furloughing hundreds of its workers for two months as it grapples with the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus and in hopes of being better prepared for a possible recovery.” [Washington Business Journal]

BAE Systems to Move to Falls Church Office — “A West Coast real estate investment firm has acquired a Falls Church-area office building, the soon-to-be home of BAE Systems Inc., for nearly $100 million. An affiliate of Menlo Park, California-based Menlo Equities LLC acquired the 367,349-square-foot 2941 Fairview Park Drive in a deal recorded March 25.” [Washington Business Journal]

Utility Companies Providing COVID-19 Relief — Fairfax County has compiled a list of the utility companies suspending service disconnections and offering other billing options during the pandemic. [Fairfax County]

Don’t Be Scammed! — Fairfax County shared examples and recordings of scam calls and emails related to the coronavirus. [Fairfax County]

McLean Restaurant Shares COVID-19 Challenges — “And the past few years have been rough for Rocco’s. The glitzy, glam shopping universe growing nearby is offering of-the-moment restaurants that have little to do with Rocco’s sturdy baked ziti and red-checkered tabletops.” [Washington Post]

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1245063845607026688?s=20

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Many local restaurants have pivoted recently to offering take-out and delivery options after Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the closure of dine-in options.

Over the last week, Tysons Reporter compiled a list of 106 eateries in Tysons, Merrifield, Falls Church, McLean and Vienna.

The following Google Sheet includes information on whether or not a restaurant is open right now and, if so, how people can get food.

The City of Falls Church, Tysons Corner Center and the Mosaic District also have lists of local eateries’ options that diners can check.

Readers are advised to check social media accounts and websites for restaurants that are not on this list to find out if they can order food.

Ashley Hopko contributed to this report

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What does Tysons look like when people stay home? Tysons Reporter has been asking readers to share their photos of the Tysons area during the coronavirus pandemic.

From reader-submitted photos, it appears from the empty highways that people are staying inside and staying 6 feet away from each other — a.k.a. social distancing — when they do go outside.

The photos in this article were submitted by readers this month, capturing Tysons’ barren urban environment paired with cloudy days, sunrises and blooming flowers.

Now that Gov. Ralph Northam has issued a stay-at-home order, places around Tysons are likely to become even more deserted.

Several people snapped photos inside Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria, capturing their ghost town vibes:

Currently, the interior of Tysons Galleria is closed, while stores and restaurants with exterior-facing entrances can remain open. Meanwhile, Tysons Corner Center is open.

Meanwhile, Ed Schudel snapped a photo of what appears to be a shower curtain serving as a barrier between the cashier and customers at the 7-Eleven on Old Chain Bridge.

Northam’s most recent order means that businesses can stay open if they can keep less than 10 customers in their spaces.

Northam’s orders also affect restaurants by not allowing them to have sit-down dining during the pandemic. To stay open, several eateries around the Tysons area have pivoted to offering pick-up and delivery options for diners.

Earlier this month, our staff photographer Jay Westcott captured what the major highways in Tysons looked like with fewer cars.

Here are more photos from Westcott:

Thank you to the photographers who have already sent us photos!

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).

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