This afternoon, Governor Northam declared a State of Emergency in Virginia due to the COVID-19 virus. Arlington County began canceling all non-essential group activities yesterday, and I have postponed my upcoming fundraiser at Freddie’s and the Salsa lesson fundraiser we’d planned. Many of you were planning to hold coffees for me. I am very grateful, but we will suspend those for the moment as well. Townley will be in touch with you.
Although COVID-19 has only recently seemed important to many here in Arlington, our County Government have been working non-stop for about 7 weeks now planning, learning from what has happened in places like China and Washington State, and taking steps to help mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19 when it arrived here. I know how concerning it is to watch the incompetence of the current White House administration. It’s clearer than ever how important good local government is. I believe Arlington and the region are far better able to handle this crisis than our current national leadership.
As I am sure you know, we now have some cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) here. We need to increase our proactive measures to slow and minimize Coronavirus from spreading across our community. Non-essential activities will be postponed or canceled. Essential activities will be modified to minimize physical contact among those attending. This is an important step for the health and well-being of our community. Our County website has lots of information and is regularly updated: https://health.arlingtonva.us/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/
The County has created a set of guidelines to help determine which of its events and gatherings are essential, and which can be postponed or conducted with modifications. (Note: As the situation with coronavirus shifts, these guidelines may also change.) View the guidelines for meetings and events. Businesses and organizations across our community are strongly encouraged to use these guidelines, and I believe we should all use them for private gathering as well.
While it makes this email long I’d like to let you know about some additional actions we’ve taken.
- Public Health Staff have been contacting, assessing and monitoring any returning travelers from areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak since early February 2020 and are continuing to do so. They are also providing guidance to the hospital and healthcare communities, government, and community partners to respond to this outbreak.
- At County Facilities, staff are ordered to practice everyday preventive behaviors, and signage is posted in public spaces with tips and guidelines. We also have ensured that our cleaning materials and practices are as robust as possible and have increased cleaning of high-touch areas, including doorknobs, buttons and front desk counters.
- Arlington Transit is deep cleaning and sanitizing all buses thoroughly at the end of each night by using approved disinfectant to wipe down all stanchions, handrails, passenger seats, windows and all components in the driver’s area. You can also learn more about what actions Metro is taking.
- At Libraries, staff are cleaning and sanitizing as much as possible, removing shared toys and other high-touch items and making hand sanitizer available for library users. With a library card, the public also can use the library’s digital services (eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines, online classes and more).
I hope this information is helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have questions. I will continue to let you know about important developments. Finally…….
Freddie’s Fundraiser – March 15th
As I mentioned, our much-anticipated event at our friend Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant is postponed until later in the Spring. We’ll let you know about a new date when possible. Freddie is staying open for business but has stopped buffet service and is taking other measures to ensure the safety of his patrons. We wish Freddie and all our small Arlington businesses well during this health event.