Focus on Falls Church is the official City of Falls Church's newsletter, featuring news and events happening here in The Little City.
March 12, 2020
    
In this Issue:   
COVID Updates
 
Getting right to the point in this week's Focus: the City of Falls Church is committed to keeping essential services and programs open as our region is seeing an increased number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases, both confirmed and presumptive.

While as of now (afternoon of Thursday, March 12) there are no known or presumptive cases of coronavirus in the City of Falls Church, but there are new presumptive cases in our region being announced on daily basis. Earlier this afternoon, Governor Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia. This is an extremely fluid situation. As the circumstances with coronavirus shift in our City and community, so will the recommendations and guidance from local, state, and federal officials.

The health and safety of City residents and staff will always be our priority. Moving forward, you can expect many City government organized gatherings and events to be cancelled, postponed, or modified in some way to help protect the health and well-being of our community. In the coming hours and days, we'll be determining what meetings and gatherings are essential, and will update the public accordingly with as much notice given as possible. 

The best way you can stay in the loop with important updates from the City of Falls Church is by signing up for Falls Church Alerts. You'll get a text message (or an email or a call, if you prefer that instead) whenever something critical happens that we think you should know about right away. You can also get text updates from the Fairfax County Health Department (the City's contracted Health Department) specifically about COVID-19 by texting FFXCOVID to 888777. Other recommended sources for COVID-19 updates are the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) websites. 

In addition to the steps the City of Falls Church can and will take to help mitigate and control the spread of COVID-19, it's still important for individuals to do their part on a personal level to reduce the reach of the virus in our community. 

Keep Washing Your Hands with Soap and Water.
Our hands are like sticky traps for viruses. Soap is your best bet for washing any virus down the drain, including the coronavirus. It doesn't have to be antibacterial soap. Normal soap will do the job. Liquid soap. Bar soap. Even shower body wash and dish soap will work. Just you, soap, water, and twenty seconds of your time can help save lives.

Not near a sink? Hand sanitizer containing over 60 percent alcohol works against coronavirus. But the CDC recommends soap as the first option since hand sanitizers can fail in un-ideal conditions, like if your hands are wet, sweaty, or visibly dirty. 

Avoid Touching Your Face
Stop touching your face with dirty hands. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are all entry portals for the coronavirus and many other germs. Have an itch? Need to rearrange your glasses? Grab a tissue before you scratch or adjust. 

The Handshake is on Hold
By now the message should be clear: your hands are not your friends. Your friends' hands are also not your friends. Skip the hugs and handshakes. Instead, greet folks with an elbow bump, an air high-five, or a few foot taps (or what we're calling the "sneaker shake").

Your Phone is Gross. Disinfect it. 
Your hands are only clean until the next surface you touch. So, about that iPhone...it's probably got 10 times the amount of bacteria found on a toilet seat. Yikes. It's time you cleaned it on the regular. Apple (and we're guessing other smartphone manufacturers would agree) says you can gently wipe down the exterior of devices with a disinfectant wipe, like Clorox. Don't use straight bleach. Wash your phone's case in soap and water (remove the phone first). While you're at it, go ahead and get in the habit of wiping down your keyboard. 

Be Ready to Self-Quarantine
Going into quarantine doesn't necessarily mean you're infected with the coronavirus. It's a precaution meant to restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to it. Someone under quarantine for the coronavirus basically stays at home for 10-14 days. That means no going into work, school, or other public places. 

Preparing for a possible quarantine means equipping your home with what you'd need for 14 days, which includes: 
  • Food. Non-perishables - like rice, pasta, and beans - are good bets to buy, but don't feel limited to those pantry items. Unlike prepping for a hurricane or other disaster, there's no indication we'll lose power, so you can add fresh and frozen foods to the list. Remember to have enough food for your pets, too. One thing you don't have to stock up on is bottled water: there's no reason to expect the water that flows from our sink will be contaminated. 
  • Medicine: Make sure you have a 14-day supply of your prescriptions. It's also a good idea to have fever reducers and cold/flu medicines on hand, just in case you do start to develop symptoms. 
  • Sanity savers: Now is a great time to familiarize yourself with the Mary Riley Styles Public Library's digital collection of books, magazines, movies, and other quarantine accessible content. 
Stay Home If You Feel Sick
If you're sick - regardless if you've got COVID-19 symptoms or not -  you should stay home. Period. Many of us have work cultures where people think it's commendable to go in when sick. We've got to get away from that. If you have a job with sick leave and are able to use it, please do so. Consider it a social contract; your part of the bargain to society. You're doing it for your neighbors, your family, and your community. 

Top News

As of 5:00 p.m. Thursday, March 12, these City-sponsored events have been cancelled:

There will be no DMV Connect services at City Hall on Friday, March 13.

The Cherry Hill Farmhouse Celtic Concert (scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 14) has been cancelled. Recreation and Parks Department staff will call all ticket holders about ticket reimbursement.

The Senior Center's Military History class (scheduled for Friday, March 13 at the Community Center) has been cancelled.

FCCPS has just announced school operations changes for the next several weeks. Learn more on the FCCPS website.

We hate to keep piling on, but: WMATA Metro station parking lot closures start this Sunday. March 15.

The East Falls Church (EFC) Metro station parking lot will be completely closed to the public and parking at West Falls Church (WFC) station will be reduced by half. These closures are related to pre-construction activity to support the platform-rebuilding project, which will include the EFC station closing for the summer (beginning Memorial Day). 

Both EFC and WFC K̶i̶s̶s̶  Bump-Elbows and Rides will still be available, as well as several local bus routes to both stations. See additional alternatives on the City's website. 

Nominations are due Friday, March 13 for the 2019 Employee of the Year.

What makes a good EOY? Here's a rundown of nomination criteria:  

• Achieving an accomplishment of outstanding worth in advancing and improving public service in the City.
• There must be tangible results gained from their performance. which must have occured in 2019.
• Their achievement should be remarkable, or simply put they just went above and beyond their assigned duties.

Full submission details and past EOY recipients are available on the City's website.

"Oh Danny boy, your Lyft driver is calling."

If you're celebrating St. Patrick's day on Tuesday, get a free SoberRide home courtesy of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). More details and the promo code available at www.soberride.com.
More City news
  • Free double-ground leaf mulch is now available for self-loading and pick-up at the Recycling Center, located at 217 Gordon Rd. Happy spring planting! 
  • The Library is now open in its temporary location in the trailers outside TJ Elementary School, located at 601 S Oak St. The Library will remain there during the duration of the Expansion and Renovation Construction project
  • The Community Float Challenge returns for the 2020 Memorial Day Parade. Get together with family, friends, neighbors, and community groups to build a unique and patriotic float to parade down Park on May 25. Applications are due to the Rec and Parks team by Friday. March 27.
  • You've stopped putting glass containers in your curbside recycling cart, right? 
  • Summer Camp registration with the Recreation and Parks team is still ongoing. Don't snooze too long on signing your kiddo up for camp. Otherwise, they might have to hang out with us for a few months and that can't be good for anybody. 

Reports, Newsletters, & More

Weekly Calendar is on pause for now.

Check the City website calendar for the status for upcoming events or meetings.

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