Latest Unemployment News — “The Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday that 5,279 Northern Virginia residents filed initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending June 20. That was down 9.2% from the preceding week and marks the 11th straight week of declines since a high of 47,708 claims filed in the week ending April 4. However, it is still 10 times pre-pandemic levels.” [Inside NoVa]
Finding the Funding — “McLean’s ID.me Inc. is raising new capital while riding a wave of momentum fueled by the pandemic. The digital identity management company has nabbed about $8.3 million out of a $12.5 million equity offering that began June 9, it reported in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.” [Washington Business Journal]
Sights Set on Space — “Los Angeles-based aerospace manufacturer Relativity Space announced Wednesday that McLean-based Iridium Communications Inc. has signed a contract to deliver up to six of Irdium’s satellites into orbit.” [Virginia Business]
New Merrifield Park — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board on June 24 approved initial scoping work to develop a new park on the eastern edge of Merrifield.” [Inside NoVa]
Dominion Energy will be trimming trees away from power lines in Town over the next 2 weeks. Blue lines on the map indicate where trimming will be taking place. For questions about how & why Dominion Energy manages trees and plants near power lines, visit https://t.co/SANub32tjv. pic.twitter.com/6q0WQemiVM
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) June 25, 2020
Locals can use more indoor and outdoor facilities now that Fairfax County has entered the second phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) announced today that its athletic fields have reopened for permitted use. Its basketball courts and playgrounds are also open.
“There is no special cleaning of playground equipment; visitors use at their own risk and must adhere to social distancing guidelines,” according to FCPS.
FCPS noted that the decision was based on guidelines from state and local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People can also start using indoor pools — outdoor pools opened during the first reopening phase — and head to fitness centers, which can open at 30% occupancy. Zoos and botanical gardens may also allow people to come back.
In the Town of Vienna, the Vienna Dog Park, tennis courts and the Community Garden reopened today and playgrounds will reopen Saturday (June 13).
Meanwhile, the City of Falls Church is now allowing people to use its playgrounds and picnic shelters. Its tennis courts are available by reservation-only for residents.
Photo by tommy boudreau on Unsplash
Park Party Is Over — “A video supplied by a local resident showed throngs of bathing-suit-clad youths cavorting and whooping it up and swigging alcohol at the park’s scenic waterfall… Fairfax County Park Authority officials are beefing up police presence at [Scotts Run Nature Preserve], and authorities soon will be prohibiting parking along Georgetown Pike and some nearby neighborhood streets.” [Inside NoVa]
Empty Offices — “Many companies in the county are likely to shrink their footprints to account for increased remote work, according to surveys the FCEDA has tracked, while others that may have been considering a move to Fairfax have put those searches on hold, [Victor] Hoskins said. The county’s office vacancy rate stood at 13.9% at the end of 2019, according to the county’s 2021 budget plan.” [Washington Business Journal]
Vienna Hit With Power Outage — Thunderstorms last night swept across Northern Virginia. Dominion Energy has now resolved a power outage that was affecting over 1,700 customers around 8 p.m. in the Vienna area. It was caused by a circuit outage, according to Dominion. [Dominion Energy]
Join our Executive Director @LJCarbonneau for this Community Conversation on how the arts & cultural organizations in the Tysons area are planning in this uncertain environment. @TysonsVAPatch @mcleanvacenter @TysonsReporter @sungazettenews @DranesvilleSup @artsfairfax https://t.co/Z9re3W3thV
— McLeanProjectForArts (@MP4A) June 10, 2020
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.
Parking lots and restrooms are reopening along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The National Park Service recently announced that the parking areas and restrooms will be available by Wednesday (June 3). People were able to access some of them starting Friday (May 29).
“The National Park Service (NPS) is working with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis,” according to NPS.
The parking areas include Fort Marcy in McLean, along with several parks in Alexandria and Arlington. “Parking areas at Great Falls Park have already reopened and will be open at 50 percent capacity,” NPS said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for how people can enjoy parks and recreational facilities with reduced risk of spreading COVID-19.
Image via Google Maps
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.
An upcoming mural in the City of Falls Church recently raised concerns from some residents over its selection process.
The mural is set to be installed near Mr. Brown’s Park — a space that was known as the city’s downtown plaza before it was renamed to honor the city’s oldest business.
The Falls Church Planning Commission noted during its meeting last week that the mural will be paid for with public funds. Because it is located on private property, it doesn’t need to go through the typical approval process for publically commissioned art, Melissa Teates, a member of the city’s Planning Commission, said.
The Village Preservation and Improvement Society, a local group that aims to preserve the city’s history and culture, disagreed with this decision though.
VPIS said in a letter to the Planning Commission that the project should go through a stricter screening process because public funds are being used.
The letter insisted that a new set of artists bring forth a proposal to a “qualified board” which will prioritize images celebrating the history and people of Falls Church.
“VPIS requests that city staff suspend the contract and reconsider the public process for selecting the mural content,” the letter said.
In the future, Teates said that the Planning Commission is working on a plan for public art, but it has not been completed yet.
Image via Google Maps
Park-goers will be able to enjoy some features of county parks ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
The Fairfax County Park Authority has started reopening parking lots and parks in its park system beginning today. The process of clearing barricades and opening parking lots for its 427 parks is expected to continue through Friday, May 22. Facilities and restrooms will remain closed.
Indoor and outdoor parks closed roughly one month ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We greatly appreciate the patience and cooperation shown by County residents during this closure,” said Park Authority Executive Director Kirk Kincannon. “We understand this has been a challenge to many who enjoy the park system on a regular basis. And it will be important that everyone follows the safety and physical distancing guidelines recommended by health authorities.”
Park visitors should adhere to social distancing guidelines and groups of more than 10 people should not congregate. Other areas that will remain closed include dog parks, playgrounds, nature centers, visitor centers, volleyball and basketball courts, and athletic fields. Water foundations will also be returned off.
The opening is part of the first phase of FCPA’s reopening plan.
Fairfax County announced today that it is closing both its indoor and outdoor parks “until further notice” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The health and wellbeing of our community, park visitors and staff remain our highest priority,” according to the county. “By limiting park usage to exercising on trails, we hope to reduce the largest crowd gatherings, thus improving the ability to social distance and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Earlier this month, the county closed indoor parks for two weeks starting Monday, March 16. Yesterday, the county announced the closure of its playgrounds, skate parks and restrooms.
Now, all parks will be closed by tomorrow night.
“This change is in response to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to close public access to recreational facilities,” according to the county.
The county’s full list of new closures include:
- parking lots
- athletic fields
- sport courts
- nature centers
- visitor centers
- golf courses
- historic sites
- picnic areas
- boat launches
- skate parks
- off-leash dog areas
- outdoor fitness equipment
- any areas for open recreation
Additionally, Park Authority programs and events through April 14 and programs at Fairfax County Public Schools through June 15 have been canceled.
People can still use the trails around Fairfax County as long as they keep 6 feet away from other people and don’t form groups.
“While all parks and amenities are closed, trails will remain open for individual use, but not group use,” the county said. “All social distancing recommendations are in effect.”
COVID-19 has prompted a lot of closures, but there are still certain recreational activities in the Tysons area to help people stay healthy while social distancing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that people take care of their bodies through tactics like deep breathing, stretching and meditation during the recent outbreak.
Now that it’s officially spring, here’s where people can check out local gardens or get some sunshine while taking a walk.
Parks and Outdoor Activities
The NOVA Parks website said that most parks will remain open for the time being, but with specific changes made to staffing. The visitor center is closed, but people are free to come and go, according to the website.
While Fairfax County has closed its indoor park facilities and recreation, nature and community centers through March 29, people can still use the county’s outdoor parks and trails.
Some parks in the Tysons area include:
- Turkey Run Park in McLean (Turkey Run Loop Road)
- Cherry Hill Park in Falls Church (312 Park Ave)
- Tysons Woods Park in Tysons (8425 Overlook Street)
- Ken Lawrence Park in Tysons (8081 Jones Branch Drive)
- Langley Fork Park in McLean (6250 Georgetown Pike)
The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna are still open to the public but without programming like tours, according to its website.
“At the core of Meadowlark is a wonderful public garden; a pleasure garden for strolling and relaxing, a center for environmental and horticultural education,” the website said.
Apps and Fitness Resources
Though it isn’t necessarily a new trend, fitness classes are going digital so that people can still exercise at home.
F45 in The Boro has suspended its in-studio workouts, but the instructors are posting daily home workout videos on Instagram.
“The workouts are designed to be done at home with little to no equipment and are uploaded each day via IG TV,” according to a press release. “Individuals have the opportunity to comment with any questions or modifications.”
Core Power Yoga closed its studios but offers digital classes so people can take guided classes on-demand from the comfort of their own home, its website said.
FitOn offers a large variety of fitness classes for clients and there is even a free version that people can take advantage of.
Digital Fitness Assessment on major app stores is yet another option for home fitness. It lets people record their goals and helps keep them on track, according to the app description.
For people feeling isolated, experts also suggest touching base with friends and family using digital tools such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. All these software allow people to video chat and see each other without coming into close proximity.
For mental health issues, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Series Administration has a hotline where people can reach out if they are becoming concerned. People can chat with someone for free at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
The CDC also directly suggests avoiding substances like alcohol and drugs while in self-isolation.