Weekend Edition

We plan for this edition to be the only one released this weekend. The next edition will be posted on Monday, March 23.

Status as of 2 p.m. on March 21

Virtual Town Hall Meeting: COVID-19 Updates with Q&A

Mayor David Tarter, School Board Chairman Greg Anderson, City Manager Wyatt Shields, and Superintendent of Schools Peter Noonan will provide updates on the status of City and School operations, and impacts on our community. A representative of the Fairfax County Health Department will provide a briefing for the community on the virus itself, its history, how it is spread, its symptoms, the number of cases in our area, and the public health response.

Viewers can ask questions by sending them now to townhall@fallschurchva.gov for the Q&A portion of the Town Hall.

A recording of the Town Hall will be posted on the City website and available for viewing if you are not able to watch it live.

The Town Hall is in lieu of the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, which has been cancelled.

Social Distancing: Playdates, Visitors, and More

Now that there is evidence of "community spread" of COVID-19, it is time to be vigilant about social (and physical) distancing, which will help slow the spread. The Fairfax County Health Department (the City's health department) released the graphic below, which includes the following:

  • Playdates
  • Playgrounds
  • Sleepovers
  • Crowded stores
  • Church
  • Visitors in your home
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: Keep at least 6 feet distance between you and others while...
  • Going to a restaurant for take-out
  • Shopping at a grocery store
  • Playing in a park, tennis court, etc.
Click on the graphic below for a larger version.

Question of the Day

How can I keep myself safe while shopping at a grocery store?

  • Minimize Trips to the Store. Make a list before you leave the house so you get everything the first time.
  • No Need to Hoard. There is no disruption in the supply chain. Buy enough for your family for a week or two.
  • Protect Yourself in Public. Use sanitizing wipes on the carts and carry hand sanitizer if you can.
  • Social Distance. Leave space between you and other shoppers and employees -- at least 6 feet.
  • Leave the Family at Home. Send just one person to the store to reduce public crowding.
  • Ask for Help. If you are sick, as someone else to help complete the shopping. Self-isolate at home!
  • Shop Online. If you can afford online shopping for delivery or pick-up, do it!
  • Restaurant Pick-Up and Delivery. Call before you stop by to ensure they are open.
Don't forget to check on your neighbors 65+ and those with underlying health issues. They might REALLY need your help with groceries.
Click on the image for a larger view.

What's your question? Complete the form at www.fallschurchva.gov/covid-questions

Greater Falls Church Area: Health Department Announces Positive Case Involving Crossroads Baptist Church in Bailey’s Crossroads

NOTE: This case is outside the City of Falls Church.

Anyone who participated in the morning service at Crossroads Baptist Church in Bailey's Crossroads on March 15, 2020 should observe themselves until March 29, the time during which COVID-19 illness might occur if a person is infected as a result of this exposure. Contact your doctor if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19.

Read the full news release from the Fairfax County Health Department, which is the City's health department.

In Case You Missed It...

  • Playgrounds Closed
    All City and Public School playgrounds are closed. Due to the recently announced "community spread" of the virus, is not safe to play on playgrounds due to community spread of COVID-19. The equipment is not cleaned, and the virus can stay on certain surfaces for up to three days. (Source: National Institutes of Health). Also, every person should stay at least 6 feet away from others, and this can be difficult for children and teens.

    All City parks remain open. Parks offer sunlight, solace, and a break from social and indoor isolation. We strongly urge all park visitors to keep their hands clean, avoid touching their faces, and maintain a safe social distance of six feet from others.
  • Public Meetings and Gathers Guidance for City, Community, Business Events
    The City posted a Public Meeting & Gathering Guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13. The City is following this guidance for its events and encourages community groups and businesses to do the same.
  • Stay Tuned for Decision about Future Farmers Market
    The City is awaiting further guidance from the Commonwealth regarding mass gatherings and food sources. Safety is the City’s number one priority, and we will notify the public as soon as a decision is made about the March 28 and future markets.
  • Restaurant and Grocery Store List on City Website
    Launched moments ago is a list of City restaurants who are offering "to go" service, as well as hours of the City's grocery stores. See the information here, and subscribe to receive emails when the lists are updated.
  • New City Services Information Line: 703-248-5200
    The City is staffing a new information line about public services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The line will be answered Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 5pm.

    Questions about COVID-19 should be directed to the Fairfax County Health Department: website, Frequently Asked Questions, email ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov, and phone, 703-267-3511 (M-F: 9:30am-9pm and Sa-Sun: 9:30-5pm).
  • Library's eAudiobook Selection
    The Library posted about a number of eAudiobook options, perfect for those trying to limit screentime: Overdrive, RB Digital, and Audible Free eAudiobooks.

Video of the Day

Update on COVID-19 Testing in Fairfax County and Fairfax Health District

NOTE: The City of Falls Church is in the Fairfax Health District and is served by the Fairfax Health Department.

The Fairfax County Health Department recognize there has been much confusion and frustration on the topic of COVID-19 testing. Up until recently, COVID-19 testing was only available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state laboratories, with local health departments like ours helping to coordinate and facilitate those tests based on very specific testing criteria. Now that we have commercial laboratories testing capability, physicians have wider latitude to order testing.

Still, several challenges have limited testing for Fairfax Health District residents:

  1. With shortages of personal protective equipment across the nation, health care providers who lack recommended protective equipment may not test because of the risk to their health and ability to continue providing care in the community.
  2.  The materials needed for specimen collection before being sent to the lab are in limited supply nationwide.
Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, the Fairfax County Health Department's director of epidemiology and population health, gives you an update on COVID-19 testing in this video.

If you have had close contact with anyone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection and you have symptoms, you should contact your health care provider and they will assess your health and determine if you need to be tested.

(Courtesy Fairfax County Health Department, which is the City's health department.)

City Events and Meetings

  • CANCELLED: The Budget Town Hall scheduled for Sunday, March 22.
  • CANCELLED: The City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, March 23.
  • NEW: Virtual Town Hall Meeting with Fairfax Health, City Government, and City Schools: Monday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. It will be available online and on Falls Church Community Television (FCCTV: Cox 11, RCN 2, Verizon 35) . Stay tuned for more details. You can submit your question now to townhall@fallschurchva.gov.
  • The City posted a Public Meeting & Gathering Guidance on March 13 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City is following this guidance for its events and encourages community groups and businesses to do the same.

Coming Soon

  • Next steps for the City's Proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. This time of year is usually full of public budget meetings. The Budget process is on pause as City staff revise revenue forecasts in light of the economic fallout from COVID-19, and also develop a plan to hold the necessary public meetings for the Budget process to continue.
  • The City is working with other localities in Northern Virginia to get clarity from Governor Northam on holding public meetings and taking care of public business during the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration. (See the letter from Mayor David Tarter, as the Chair of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, to Governor Northam here.) More to come on these evolving state guidelines which will impact how the City Council, School Board, Planning Commission and other boards and commissions will carry out the public’s business.
  • The City’s business community is severely impacted by the closures and restrictions in place due to COVID-19.   Staff is working with State and Federal officials, the Chamber of Commerce, and the business community to gather Information and resources for City businesses affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.
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