Tysons, VA

Morning Notes

CVS Allows Walk-in Vaccine Appointments — CVS Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations to walk-in appointments and same-day scheduling at all stores in Virginia, joining Giant, which started allowing walk-ins at its pharmacies on Monday (May 3). CVS has three stores in Vienna, two in Merrifield, eight in Falls Church, and one in McLean. [Patch]

McLean Central Park Plan Meeting Set — Fairfax County will hold a virtual public information meeting at 7 p.m. on May 24 to share a development concept for McLean Central Park based on a master plan that was last revised in 2013. Potential new facilities for the 28-acre public park on Dolley Madison Boulevard include a dog park, an ampitheater, and trail improvements. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Tysons Corner Launches “DreamStart” Competition for Businesses — Tysons Corner Center is inviting entrepreneurs to pitch their product, service, or business concepts for the chance to get pop-up retail space. With applications due May 24, the contest winners will debut in the mall this summer with three months of free rent, a grand opening community event, and marketing support. [Tysons Corner Center]

McLean Volunteer Firefighter Reads for Charity — “On Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. families can tune into “Read Me A Story,” a virtual event featuring a firefighter reading a story. The virtual literacy event is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, a nonprofit preschool.” [Patch]

McLean Youth Soccer Unveils New Logo — “McLean Youth Soccer (MYS) and Springfield South County Youth Club (SYC) unveiled the name and logo for the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) alliance announced earlier this month. The new alliance will be known as Virginia Union FC.” [SoccerWire]

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A festival celebrating southern cuisine — from beer to bacon and biscuits — is returning to Tysons for a fifth year.

“This 5th Annual affair offers up all those pleasures that true Southerners live by — Beer, Bourbon, Barbecue, Boots, Bacon, Biscuits, Bluegrass, and Smoked Beasts,” the festival’s website advertises. “It’s a great day of beer sippin’, bourbon tastin’, music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbecue eatin’.”

Admission to the festival is $49 for a three-hour window on Saturday, May 22. Admission comes with a souvenir tasting glass and an all-you-can-taste sampling of beer and bourbon.

A $79 ticket offers a four hour window at the festival along with a BBQ dinner platter.

This year, the festival will be held at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road).

The festival site advises attendees to bring cash, as many vendors will not accept credit cards, and there might be lines at the ATM. Guests are also allowed to bring their own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

No pets are allowed at the festival and service animals must be registered in advance. No weapons or outside alcohol are allowed either.

A full list of beer and bourbon vendors at the site is available online.

Photo via Beer, Bourbon, BBQ/Facebook

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Lucid Motors, an American luxury electric vehicle company, is looking to open a store and service center in Tysons Galleria.

The company has filed plans with Fairfax County for a store, vehicle service, and delivery center in the lower level of the former Macy’s building. The filing comes less than a year after Lucid announced it would open a studio in Tysons Corner Center.

Tesla’s major rival is eyeing 27,642 square feet in the northern portion of the vacated Macy’s site. It envisions a glassy, contemporary showroom with the delivery and service center tucked away so it would not be visible from public streets.

“This will be the first service and delivery center for Lucid in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area,” Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh P.C. attorney Elizabeth Baker said in the filing. “The proposed use will bring a new exciting business to the Tysons area and help diversify uses in Tysons Galleria.”

In establishing two Tysons locations, Lucid follows a path forged by Tesla, Washington Business Journal reported. Tesla currently has a store at Tysons Corner Center and a showroom at 8500 Tyco Road.

Lucid Motors’ Tysons Galleria location will include a “store” with a few display cars and a vehicle service area. Customers can configure their cars and “experience a new Lucid vehicle virtually as well as in person,” according to Baker.

Cars will come to the location wrapped in a protective film that will be removed onsite, where the vehicles can be detailed and configured to customers’ desires. The nearby parking garage will store up to 40 vehicles.

Last September, the company unveiled its flagship “post-luxury” vehicle, Lucid Air, advertising it as tailored to “progressive buyers” who value sustainability, design, and technical innovation as much as quality and craftsmanship.

Baker said that servicing electric vehicles will be possible in the former Macy’s store because the process is “dramatically different from typical combustion-engine maintenance and service.”

“There is no vehicle exhaust and the amount of hazardous materials used in EVs and their service is substantially reduced by comparison,” she said.

Since Macy’s closed in 2018, the applicant has been renovating and re-tenanting the Macy’s building, Baker said.

“The former Macy’s building has been thoughtfully redesigned to incorporate the new business within the existing building with minimal impact, and will complement other existing and future businesses,” she said.

Public hearings on Lucid Motors’ special exception request are tentatively set to take place before the Fairfax County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this fall.

Photos courtesy Fairfax County

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Morning Notes

First Lady Northam Visits Tysons Mass Vaccine Site — “@FirstLadyVA Pamela Northam is visiting the mass vaccination site at Tysons Corner Mall, which just this week became the first vaccination site in Northern Virginia to allow walk up appointments. They are doing them Monday through Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM.” [Tom Roussey ABC7/Twitter]

Primark Coming to Tysons Corner — The London-based clothing retailer Primark has signed a lease for a two-story, 37,100 square-foot store at Tysons Corner Center. Expected to open sometime between September 2023 and September 2024, the store will be Primark’s first in Virginia. The retailer prides itself on offering “amazing fashion at amazing prices,” but like other “fast fashion” brands, it has been criticized for exploitative labor practices. [Press release]

Vienna Plans to Lower Tax Rate — The Vienna Town Council signaled on Monday (April 26) that it supports reducing the town’s real estate tax rate by a quarter of a cent to 22.25 cents per $100 of assessed value. This would be the first time that the tax rate has changed from 22.5 cents per $100 in six years, but higher assessments mean that most homeowners will still see higher tax bills. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Thoreau Principal Selection Process Underway — Fairfax County Public Schools officials held a community and staff meeting on the process to select a new principal for Thoreau Middle School. The school’s last principal, Yusef Azimi, was let go after police arrested him for reportedly failing to report child abuse allegations against a teacher. [Karl Frisch/Twitter]

Attorney General Allows Vaccination Requirements for Colleges — “In an official opinion Monday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has concluded that Virginia colleges and universities ‘may condition in-person attendance on receipt of an approved COVID-19 vaccine during this time of pandemic.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Tysons Mass COVID-19 Vaccine Site Now Accepting Walk-Ins — “Walk-in appointments now available! The Tysons Community Vaccination Center now has first-come, first-served appointments 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday.” [Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter]

Virginia Reviewing New Mask Guidelines — The CDC released new guidance yesterday (Tuesday) stating that people who have been fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks outdoors except when in a big crowd of strangers. Gov. Ralph Northam’s press secretary said in a statement that the governor’s office is reviewing the guidelines “to determine if and where we need to make changes” to Virginia’s mask requirements. [Office of the Governor]

FY 2022 Budget Markup Approved — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a markup package for the county’s fiscal year 2022 budget yesterday (Tuesday) that includes a 1% pay raise for county government employees and an additional $15 million for Fairfax County Public Schools, partly to support compensation increases. [Fairfax County Government]

New Police Chief Use-of-Force Record Scrutinized — Incoming Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis lost two lawsuits over his use of force when he worked in the Prince George’s County Police Department in the 1990s. In the first case, the plaintiff said Davis pulled him over without giving a reason and violently arrested him, while the second victim alleged that “Davis and other officers essentially kidnapped him for a night.” [NBC4]

McLean Day Goes to the Drive-Thru — After getting canceled last year, McLean Day is returning on May 15 as an in-person, drive-thru event with live entertainment, including jugglers, an aerialist, a DJ, and animals. Admission to the annual festival is free, and it will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the McLean Community Center parking lot (1234 Ingleside Ave.). [MCC]

Selfie Studio Coming to Tysons Corner — “Selfie WRLD, a franchise with more than 20 locations across the country, is opening a “do-it-yourself photograph studio” in the Tysons Corner Center mall on June 5…The venue will feature at least 25 different eight-by-eight-foot selfie stations, including a retro pink-and-green diner, a private jet, an upside-down room, a patriotic ball pit with lifeguard stand, and lemon lime neon-colored jail cell with lit-up “smooth criminal” sign (yup).” [Washingtonian]

Photo by Bill Johnson

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The former Lord & Taylor in Tysons Corner Center is now a mass vaccination site that can administer vaccines to upwards of 3,000 people a day.

In place of clothing racks are now hundreds of black chairs, all spaced to allow for social distancing, but vestiges of the department store — like the glass cases for jewelry — remain. The state-funded clinic, the first of its kind in Fairfax County, started delivering COVID-19 vaccinations today (Tuesday).

“This is the economic engine of Fairfax County, indeed the Commonwealth, and it is necessary people in Fairfax County get vaccinated,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeffrey McKay said during a press conference yesterday (Monday). “This is an act of charity, and we in Fairfax County are charitable people.”

As of Sunday (April 18), Fairfax County has expanded vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older, and more than a quarter of Virginia’s population has been fully vaccinated.

“However you’re able to get an appointment, please get vaccinated,” Gov. Ralph Northam said during the press conference.

After dropping steeply earlier this year, new case rates are plateauing, and the positivity rate is down to 6.1%, he said. As a result, small tweaks in the guidelines will be coming in a few weeks, such as changes to capacity limits for performing arts and sports.

Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice will make a decision on Friday (April 23) about whether to move forward with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration continue to collect data.

To fill the hole left by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Virginia has received an additional 15,000 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer shots this week for a total of 220,000 first doses, he said.

“It sounds like the production capability for Moderna and Pfizer is kind of maxed out,” Avula said. “We do not expect a significant increase in Moderna and Pfizer moving forward.”

Todd Putt, the senior manager of marketing for Tysons Corner Center, said Lord & Taylor left last year, and a logistics team converted the space into a clinic in a few weeks.

“We’re thankful to have the clinic here and to contribute in this way,” Putt said.

Retail outlets had been offering abundant space for a while, but the state and county needed more vaccine supply before it could open any clinics, according to Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

“This is a great local, state, and federal partnership to work more quickly to meet vaccine demand,” she said.

Officials said interpreters will be on-site to help and for those who speak languages not represented, as machines will offer translation services in more than 100 languages.

Residents can sign up for an appointment through the state website. They can also use VaccineFinder to find local pharmacies and other sites that are providing vaccine doses.

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The former Lord & Taylor store at Tysons Corner Center will serve as a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site for Fairfax County starting on Tuesday (April 20).

The Fairfax County Health Department announced today (Friday) that the new Community Vaccination Center is being organized by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Health and will be operated by the disaster response companies AshBritt and IEM, which are both under contract with VDEM.

Fairfax County is providing support to the state on the site through its health department and Office of Emergency Management.

Located at 1961 Chain Bridge Road, this will be Fairfax County’s first mass COVID-19 vaccine site, though Inova set up a large-scale facility in the City of Alexandria that is open to Fairfax County residents.

“We are excited that we can offer our residents another large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site, this time in the Tysons area, which is easily accessed by several bus routes and located within walking distance of the Tysons Corner Metro station along the Silver Line,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement.

According to McKay, the Tysons Corner site will be able to vaccinate about 3,000 individuals per day.

“Paired with the other sites we have throughout the county, [this] will greatly impact Fairfax’s vaccination rates and move us closer to herd immunity,” he said.

The county says that it will initially partner with the community vaccination center to finish giving first-dose vaccinations to the remaining individuals on its registration waitlist from Phase 1. As of 2:30 p.m. today, there are about 22,600 people on the waitlist.

The site will subsequently be listed on Vaccine Finder as an available option for all individuals 16 and older to schedule an appointment. Fairfax County plans to join the rest of Virginia in opening vaccine eligibility to the general adult population in Phase 2 on Sunday (April 18).

The county announced earlier this week that it will retire its own registration system once Phase 2 begins. Anyone who hasn’t joined the waitlist by Sunday will use Vaccine Finder to locate available sites and then schedule their appointment directly with the provider, an approach that county officials say will give people more options and flexibility.

Individuals will also be able to contact Fairfax County’s new call center system 703-324-7404 or Virginia’s call center at 1-877-829-4682 for assistance in obtaining a vaccine appointment.

The pace of vaccinations is expected to initially slow down when Fairfax County and all other jurisdictions in Virginia enter Phase 2, due to both the influx of newly eligible individuals and the indefinite halt in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

McKay reported in a newsletter last night (Thursday) that Fairfax County expects to receive just 30,000 doses per week for the next few weeks before supplies increase again later in the spring and summer.

As a comparison, the county health department got 65,710 first and second doses from the Virginia Department of Health for the week of April 5-11, according to its vaccine data dashboard.

“The high demand for vaccination in Fairfax County combined with the available vaccine supply will continue to be a challenge, especially in the initial weeks of Phase 2,” McKay said. “With patience and care, we will get everyone vaccinated.”

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The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is returning to Tysons Corner Center.

Launched in October 2014, the Hello Kitty trucks are now in their seventh year of traveling around the country to sell themed goodies and collectibles inspired by the Sanrio character. A truck has stopped in Tysons Corner for the last two years and will continue the tradition this year as part of its 2021 East Coast tour, which will also include a stop in Bethesda Row, Md., on March 27.

The truck will appear this Saturday (March 20) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Event Plaza at Tysons Corner Center.

According to a press release, safety protocols will be in place to keep employees and customers safe from COVID-19. Customers will be asked to wear a face mask, stay six feet apart from other patrons and staff, wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces, and remain at home if they have a cough or fever.

Staff will wear masks and gloves while in the truck, and regularly touched objects, including counters and payment readers, will be disinfected every 30 minutes.

In addition to bringing back familiar items like giant Hello Kitty Cafe chef cookies and a Cafe lunchbox, this year’s truck will feature some new products and limited-edition collectibles, including:

  • Stainless rainbow thermos
  • Hello Kitty Cafe cookie plush
  • Hand-decorated cookie sets
  • Sprinkle mugs
  • Enamel pin sets in two styles
  • Madeleine cookie sets
  • Hello Kitty Cafe canvas totes

All items are available while supplies last. The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck does not accept cash, only debit and credit payments. More information can be found on their website and Facebook page.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

County Board Advertises Flat Tax Rate — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to set an advertised real estate tax rate of $1.15 per $100 of assessed value for fiscal year 2022, which would keep it level with the current rate. County Executive Bryan Hill had proposed decreasing the rate by one cent, but Chairman Jeff McKay says the board will need to find a balance between giving residents some relief and funding county services. [@JeffreyCMcKay/Twitter]

Tysons Corner Car Show Draws Crowd — Tysons Corner Center’s “The Fast and the Flavorful” car show on Sunday (March 7) drew more than 3,500 people over three hours. Led by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, the event was supposed to include food tastings, but those were scrapped in favor of encouraging attendees to support restaurants in the mall. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Falls Church Swim School Joins Larger Chain — Just over two years after it opened its Falls Church location, the Tom Dolan Swim School has merged with the franchise Big Blue Swim School, which has 123 schools in 19 states and is in the process of establishing sites in Chantilly and Fairfax. As part of the agreement, Dolan, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, will serve as Big Blue’s new president of mid-Atlantic operations. [Big Blue Swim School/PRWeb]

Severe Tornado Drill Set for March 16 — “Virginia Severe Weather Awareness Week, which is the first time Virginia is promoting this combined awareness effort, will be held March 15-19…As part of the awareness week activities, Virginia’s annual tornado drill will be conducted on Tuesday, March 16, at 9:45 a.m.” [Fairfax County Government]

McLean Community Center to Take Comments on Programming — “Join us on Wednesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. for our Virtual Public Hearing on FY2023 Programs! If you would like to suggest class offerings, events and other activities at the hearing, call MCC to have your name placed on the speakers’ list.” [McLean Community Center/Twitter]

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The weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining longer, but spring really arrives in D.C. when the thousands of cherry trees around the Tidal Basin start to bloom.

Organizers announced on March 1 that this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place from March 20 through April 11. The National Park Service currently predicts that the flowers will be in peak bloom sometime between April 2 and 5.

With COVID-19 still posing health risks after mostly shutting down last year’s showcase, the 2021 festival has been reimagined in a less concentrated format with a combination of in-person and virtual activities that will encompass the entire D.C. area, including Fairfax County.

In addition to promoting regionwide events, such as the “Art in Bloom” sculptures and “Petal Porch Parade,” Fairfax County will host events of its own in coordination with the larger festival, many of them designed to showcase local gardens and parks or celebrate the coming of spring.

Supported by Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism organization, the festivities include:

  • Festival Central (March 20-April 11): The Fairfax County Visitor Center at Tysons Corner Center will provide free cherry blossom-themed souvenirs and information about the festival. It will also host its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Day from 1-3 p.m. on March 27, which will feature a calligraphy demonstration.
  • The Science Behind Flowers (March 20-April 11): A program on botanical chemistry, invasive and native plants, ecological restoration, and other flower-related topics will stream online throughout the festival, courtesy of the Children’s Science Center.
  • Spring Fling Tour (March 27): Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon will have “special stations” throughout its nature trail “to build a fairy house” and provide Japanese tea at its meeting house.
  • Wabi-Sabi: Embracing Imperfection (March 28): Alexandria’s Green Spring Gardens will host a program on wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy focused on finding beauty in an imperfect natural world. Attendees will get tea samples and traditional sweets in an optional tea box. The event costs $12-24 and requires advance online registration.
  • Spring-Themed Drive-in Movies (April 3-4): Mosaic District is resuming its drive-in movie screenings with a pair of double features, starting with “Mary Poppins” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” followed by “Hop” and “42.” Tickets cost $28 per car and can be purchased online.
  • Community Market and Workshops (April 10): The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton will feature cherry blossom-inspired artwork, a marketplace, and various workshops, including origami crafts, haiku contests, and Japanese drumming.
  • Plants & Design (April 10): Led by horticulturalist Bevan Shimizu, Green Spring Gardens will offer a virtual, hour-long program about Japanese-style garden design. The program costs $18 and requires advance registration.

Visit Fairfax also advises residents and visitors to take the opportunity provided by the festival to tour the county’s parks, including Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, which has a lake surrounded by more than 100 cherry trees.

Though the format is different this year, Visit Fairfax president and CEO Barry Biggar says the influx of tourism that typically accompanies the annual cherry blossom festival has long benefitted not just the nation’s capital, but also the D.C. region as a whole.

“The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the nation’s greatest celebrations of spring and Visit Fairfax has been a proud supporter for many, many years,” Biggar said. “…People may come because they are familiar with the blossoms along the Tidal Basin, but we encourage visitors and residents to also explore some of the wonderful cultural events and attractions, spacious gardens and parks, and beautiful cherry trees that exist beyond the city.”

The festival will kick off at 6 p.m. on March 20 with a virtual opening ceremony. A full programming guide can be found on the National Cherry Blossom Festival website.

Photo courtesy Visit Fairfax

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