Reston, VA

A customer at a local Reston restaurant left a big welcome gift on Northern Virginia’s first day of reopening on Friday (May 29).

The customer left a $1,000 tip for Founding Farmers’ opening day team in Reston Station (1904 Reston Metro Plaza). The order’s total was $213.59.

“Congrats on re-opening. We have missed you,” the customer wrote. “Please share with re-opening day team.”

The restaurant’s co-owner Dan Simons, who shared the receipt on Twitter, said he was moved by the customer’s generosity.

“Brought tears of appreciation to my eyes when I saw what one of our amazingly kind and generous guests left for our service team today,” Simons wrote.

Like other local businesses, the restaurant’s servers had been out of work after the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants and other businesses to switch to delivery, pickup or curbside service.

The restaurant’s patio is open, but reservations re required. The Reston location is also offering some grocery items for purchase.

The company also put together a reopening resource guide to detail protocols and procedures created due to COVID-19.

Photo via Dan Simons/Twitter

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Reston Association Meetings Coming Up — RA’s board operations committee will meet virtually on June 8 at 6:30 p.m. A special board governance committee is also set for June 9 at 6:3 p.m. [Reston Association]

Reminder: Free Grocery and Shopping Service for Older Adults — “In response to the increased needs of residents who are 60 years old and older and who require assistance, Fairfax County, through the Health Department’s Neighbor to Neighbor Program (N2N), has launched a free grocery shopping and pharmacy pick-up service. The service is provided to seniors at private residences by volunteers who have completed background checks.” [Fairfax County Government]

Outdoors Areas in County Schools Reopen — Outdoor areas like athletic fields on Fairfax County Public Schools’ grounds have officially reopened to the public. Playgrounds remain closed, however. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Phase 2 May Start Soon — “Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday that more of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted as soon as June 5… Northern Virginia leaders said earlier this week they’d be interested in moving to Phase Two at the same time as the rest of the state.” [Inside NoVa]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Before we head off into another weekend with a stay-at-home order in effect, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. BREAKING: Fairfax County to Start Easing Some COVID-19 Restrictions Friday
  2. Men Fire Shots at SUV in Reston Neighborhood
  3. Mother-Daughter Duo Loses Local Beauty Studio Due to Fallout of COVID-19
  4. JUST IN: Microsoft’s Expansion in Reston Town Center to Bring 1,500 Jobs, New Technology Hub
  5. As Fairfax County Reopens, More Space for Outdoor Dining and Exercise On the Table

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo via handout/Virginia Department of General Services 

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Restaurants in the Town of Herndon must apply for an outdoor dining permit as Northern Virginia’s reopening today opens up the opportunity for outdoor dining.

The move comes as Fairfax County moved to allow businesses to offer outdoor dining without applying for a permit by expanding outdoors at 50 percent of their indoor capacity.

The temporary permit, which was created specifically to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, will allow Herndon restaurants to reopen and operate with outdoor seating if rules are followed.

So far, several restaurants have been approved for temporary permits. More are expected to be ready to go by the wekeend.

  • Some conditions include:
  • Fencing and barriers must be installed
  • The area must be located next to or within 100 feet of the establishment
  • The location cannot “significantly interfere with pedestrian traffic or otherwise constitute a health and safety risk”
  • Hours of operation limited between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
  • No pets are allowed in temporary dining areas

In some cases, outdoor seating may be allowed on town property. No more than ten patrons may be seated as a party.

Photo via Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern/Facebook

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Local residents and family members are still searching for an endangered Reston man who went missing after walking out of Reston Hospital Center on May 10.

Despite several community-wide efforts — including a helicopter-assisted search — Michael Delaney, 75, has not been found.

“There has been not one positive sighting of him since he left Reston Hospital on May 10,” said Courtney Park-Jamborsky, Delaney’s stepdaughter.

The Fairfax County Police Department and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management plan to conduct another search for Delaney tomorrow (Saturday).

Local police suspended their search on May 13. Local residents have organized community searches and Facebook groups since then.

Delaney, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is 6-foot-3 and weighs 170 pounds. He has blue eyes and gray hair. When he disappeared, he was wearing a yellow hospital gown and jeans.

Anyone with information about his disappearance should call 703-691-2131.

Photos via Courtney Park-Jamborsky

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Vandalism and theft were reported at the Hunter Woods Garden Plots earlier this week, according to the Reston Association.

RA is encouraging residents to “be aware of your surroundings when at the plots.” Anyone who notices suspicious behavior should contact the Fairfax County Police Department’s nonemergency line at 703-691-2131.

Mike Leone, RA’s spokesperson did not detail the type of vandalism reported, noting RA’s Hunters Woods Garden Plots Coordinator noted that vandalism and theft had taken place in the past week.

In recent days, two separate incidents of vandalism were reported elsewhere in Reston. Last week, North Point Village Center was vandalized when red swastikas and the word “Lucifer” were spraypainted across sidewalks and buildings. Police also discovered a swastika drawing in a local garage this week.

Photo via Reston Association/Twitter

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Friday Morning Notes

New Webpage for Reston Association Updates — RA has created a new landing page specific to updates related to COVID-19. Member services will open to RA members on June 1. Appointments should be made over the phone or via email. Visitors to RA headquarters must wear masks. [Reston Association]

Outdoor Space for Restaurants, Exercise Approved — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved emergency rules today that will allow restaurants and exercise facilities to reopen outside under the state’s Phase I guidelines. The ordinance takes effect immediately now that Gov. Northam has announced the county will enter Phase One.” [Fairfax County Government]

Summer Concerts and Independence Day Celebrations Canceled — “The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Summer Entertainment Series will be canceled through July due to public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Fourth of July events have been canceled, too. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health-related guidelines continue to recommend against large gatherings.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Book lovers can check out books and pick up holds at Fairfax County Public Libraries beginning next week — albeit under different circumstances.

On Monday, June 1, FCPL will kick off a curbside pickup and grab bag program. Although libraries remained closed, patrons can park in designated areas, call the bank number and pick up any items on holds. Patrons must provide their library card over the phone. Once the items have been deposited on a designated pickup table and library staff has returned to the building, items may be picked up.

Over the phone, residents can also request a specific book or a grab-and-go bag prepared by staff based on reading levels and preferences.

All returned library materials, however, should be deposited in the library’s book drop. Returns will be accepted based on a staggered system since more than 500,000 items are currently are in the queue to be returned:

On Mondays we will accept returns from borrowers with last names beginning with letters A-H (Anderson, Daqqa, Howard, etc.). On Wednesdays we will accept returns from borrowers with last names beginning with letters I-Q (Jefferson, Nguyen, Park, etc.), and on Fridays we will accept returns from borrowers with last names beginning with letters R-Z (Rodriquez, Shen, Williams, etc.).

Staff will wear cloth face masks and all books will be packaged in a plastic bag in order to “streamline handling.”

More information about changes to services is available online.

File photo

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The COVID-19 dining experience in Fairfax County will change tomorrow as more parking lots and other outdoor spaces in Fairfax County could be used for dining and exercise under certain conditions.

As Northern Virginia begins phase one of its reopening plan tomorrow, Fairfax County officials are considering instituting a blanket approval of outdoor dining, fitness and exercise activities.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider the plan at an emergency session at 3 p.m. today (Thursday). Typically, approvals for outdoor dining and fitness activities require a range of applications for approval. If the county approves the emergency ordinance today, businesses would automatically be able to pursue outdoor dining and exercise activities.

The county will begun easing COVID-19 restrictions businesses tomorrow (Friday). Gov. Ralph Northam’s order limits phase one to specific activities. For example, restaurants can only operate at 50 percent of their interior capacity.

Here’s more from the proposal:

With the impending expiration of Phase Zero in Northern Virginia, the County 2 needs to be prepared for Phase One. Under current County ordinances and 3 regulations, business owners would typically be required to pursue a range of 4 applications to allow outdoor dining and outdoor fitness and exercise activities. 5 In the midst of the COVID-19 emergency, the cost and time to meet such 6 requirements would compound the stress on economically challenged 7 businesses, hinder the opportunity presented by Phase One to revitalize the 8 County’s economy, and likely result in a continued de facto closure of such 9 businesses. At the same time, processing and deciding such a multitude of 10 applications on an urgent basis would be virtually impossible for the County 11 government and would consume extraordinary amounts of time and attention on 12 the part of the County’s staff and its deliberative bodies, at a time when they are 13 also strained by the emergency. These factors, separately and collectively, 14 threaten the County’s continuity in government.

Conditions for outdoor dining include, but are not limited to:

  • No outdoor entertainment activities
  • Outdoor area must be kept free of trash and debris
  • Temporary tents must be open on all sides and less than 900 square feet in size
  • All tables, chairs and other items must be removable and in good “appearance and repair”
  • Adequate parking must be available for on-site users
  • Parking designated for individuals with disabilities must be maintained
  • The location cannot obstruct sidewalks, travel ways, fire lanes, any building entrance or exit, or interfere with street access for fire department response

The ordinance will not go into effect in the Town of Herndon until the Herndon Town Council approves the emergency ordinance.

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After revisions to its previous proposal, the Herndon Town Council formally adopted its budget for FY2021 this week.

The $61 million budget was scaled back to adapt to economic fluidity and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The town’s taxes and fees, including real estate and meals taxes, remain changed. But the town’s recycling fee doubled from $8 per quarter to $16 per quarter.

Unlike previous budgets, the document includes $11.5 million in immediately sequestered funds, $5.5 million of which will be attributed to the town’s general fund. Overall, the FY2021 budget allocates $38.8 million for the general fund.

Sequestered funds can be spent if the town achieves its revenue targets through the fiscal year. But if revenues fall below projections, the town may need to consider reductions in personnel costs.

 “While the adopted General Fund budget is $38.8 million, in practice it will be considered a $33.3 million budget,” said Mayor Lisa Merkel. “Sequestered funds may only be released if and when identified targets are met. This gives us latitude to adapt to the unstable and uncertain fiscal environment we are in. It also gives us the best chance to maintain our exceptional workforce.”

The adopted budget will be posted on the town’s website by July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Photo via Herndon Town Council/Zoom

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The neighborhood immediately around the Innovation Center Metro Station in Herndon could look drastically different once the Silver Line extension begins running.

Origami Capital Partners LLC and Timberline Real Estate Partners have a major redevelopment plan in the works for the Center for Innovative Technology campus, a 26-acre property in Herndon.

The companies bought the campus — which was once under consideration for Amazon’s second headquarters —  for $47 million. Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement earlier this month.

Currently, the property, which is near the Innovation Center Metro Station, includes a seven-story tower and three-story building, including the CIT, a publicly-funded corporation.

Origami is planning an “Innovation Station” that would include five residential buildings, a hotel, an entertainment facility and retail, in addition to existing office space.

Renderings submitted to the state describe the new district as a “mixed-use hub” with “bucolic urbanism” and a “connected lifestyle,” according to an application received by Reston Now.

Plans also include a central green park, a technology hub, a retail village, and a grand food hall.

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New-Grad Virtual Career Fair is Today — The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is holding a virtual job fair today for new graduations from 1-4 p.m.  Almost a dozen companies including Northrop Grumman, NTT Data Federal and Sparks will attend the event. [FCEDA]

Athletic Fields to Reopen Tomorrow — All outdoor athletic fields in Fairfax County will be open beginning tomorrow (Friday). This includes more than 850 athletic fields, including synthetic turf fields. At Fairfax County parks and public schools. [Fairfax County Government]

Honoring the Fallen in a Small Way — Members of the Post 184 Avenue of Flags Committee did not hold a Memorial Day ceremony at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Herndon. Instead, the group received permission to place small American stick flags with name cards indicating the fallen soldier being honored at the cemetery. [The Connection]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County surpassed 10,000 today (Wednesday). But the trajectory of cases appears to be on the decline as Northern Virginia gears up for phase one of its reopening plan on Friday.

According to data released by the state’s health department, a slowdown in the number of new cases emerged this week. Public health experts determine the trajectory of COVID-19 by charting the total number of confirmed cases against new confirmed cases per week.

Additionally, the number of new cases per week has decreased. In the first two weeks of this month, the county saw a weekly case count of between 1,200 and 1,300 cases. Last week, that number dipped to around 1,000 new cases.

Still, 365 people in the county have died from the respiratory illness. On Monday, a record number of new cases — 493 — was reported. Since then, the number of new daily cases dipped to 357 yesterday (Tuesday) and 230 today.

As the state’s testing capacity has expanded, the number of positive cases has also declined slightly since the week of April 19, county data show.

Overall, 40,439 cases have been confirmed statewide, resulting in 1,281 deaths. A surge in testing partly explains the increase in the number of cases reported daily on Monday and Tuesday.

Northern Virginia continues to account for a majority of cases.

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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Local police discovered another swastika in Reston  after several others were found in North Point Village Center roughly one week ago.

Police found the chalk drawing on a wall in the Reston Metro Plaza parking garage.

Fairfax County Police discovered the graffiti on Wednesday around 10:08 a.m. after receiving a report.

The discovery comes one week after swastikas were spray-painted on sidewalks and buildings in North Point Village Center.

Both incidents are under investigation.

File photo

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A local nonprofit organization will host a town hall with Fairfax County officials to discuss issues of resilience and recovery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cornerstones has planned the virtual event for Monday, June 8 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust are signed on as panelists, as well as Fairfax County Public Schools’ board members Melanie Meren (Hunter Mill District) and Elaine Tholen (Dranesville District).

Residents are invited to join the conversation about the county’s plans to rebuild economic stability and ensure the most vulnerable residents have the resources they need to regain independence and security.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Affordable housing
  • Extending tenant rights through recovery
  • Family resiliency and sustainability after the crisis
  • Learning loss and the digital divide
  • Getting back to work and a living wage
  • Opportunity Fairfax and the COVID-19 divide

The facilitators are Casey Veath, principal of Veatch Commercial Real Estate; Tracey White, Vice President of Reston Hospital Center; and Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones.

Members of the public can email their questions for consideration to [email protected]. Submissions must be received by Friday, June 5.

The meeting will take place via Zoom. Participants can register online.

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