Reston, VA

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

0 Comments

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 

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

Fairfax County announced today (Wednesday) that it will start rolling back some COVID-19 restrictions on Friday (May 29).

The announcement follows Gov. Ralph Northam saying yesterday (Tuesday) that Northern Virginia localities are ready to join the rest of the state with the first reopening phase.

“The Forward Virginia plan provides guidelines that all businesses must follow in the first phase but eases previous restrictions on restaurants, fitness facilities, barbers and beauty salons, other retail businesses and houses of worship,” according to the county.

Here’s what will happen in Fairfax County starts reopening on Friday:

  • movie theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys, indoor entertainment will stay closed
  • social gatherings of more than 10 people will still be prohibited
  • “safer at home” recommendation will still be in place
  • restaurants may reopen at 50% of indoor capacity with tables spaced 6 feet apart
  • restaurants’ bars will remain closed
  • restaurants must use disposable menus and require servers to wear face coverings
  • gyms, recreation centers, sports centers and pools may open outside
  • indoor pools and spas and outdoor basketball and racquetball courts will stay closed
  • salons and barbers can open at 50% capacity and require appointments
  • retailers may reopen at 50% capacity and employees must wear face coverings
  • houses or worship may hold services at 50% capacity, face coverings encouraged

joint letter sent Monday from officials in Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, said that their health directors’ assessment of the pandemic supports the partial reopening.

“[The public health directors] have noted the regional attainment of four of the critical metrics and assessed the need for continued focus on expanding our contact tracing capacity and developing sustainable supplies of PPE,” the letter said.

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

Updated at 12:15 p.m. on May 28 —  Though no one was injured, three people were displaced by the fire. 

Fire crews brought a townhouse fire under control yesterday afternoon in Herndon, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Units that first arrived on scene reported signs of fire from the two-story building at 13300 Schwenger Place.

Crews worked to extinguish the fire. No injuries were reported.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Twitter

0 Comments

At a time when other industries are cutting back, Microsoft Corp. will invest $64 million to establish a new research and development hub in Reston Town Center.

The move will create 1,500 new jobs as the software giant occupies 400,000 square feet in Two Freedom Square (11955 Freedom Drive) in Reston Town Center. The company will retain 153,000 square feet of space it currently occupies at 12012 Sunset Hills Road.

Terrell Cox, Microsoft’s general manager said the company’s expansion in Reston will allow the company to “deliver even more solutions from a region known for its innovation and passion for technology.”

“One of Microsoft’s core principles is actively listening to our customers, so we can build and improve our technology based on their feedback. Being close to our customer base is extremely important to our ongoing collaborations,” Cox said.

Here’s how local and state elected officials responded to the news:

“Virginia, like the rest of the nation, is facing unprecedented job loss due to COVID-19, so this announcement couldn’t come at a better time,” said Governor Northam. “Microsoft Corp. and Virginia share a strong history, and we are proud that this major operation in Fairfax County will add to the company’s significant job count across our Commonwealth. Virginia is a leader in the information technology industry, and Microsoft’s continued investment here is a testament to our top-ranked business climate, infrastructure, and world-class workforce.”

Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill thanked Microsoft for its vote of confidence in Fairfax County and noted that he and Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, have made diversification of the local economy a priority.

“We are very excited about Microsoft’s expansion in Fairfax County,” Hill said. “This investment further strengthens our reputation as a business-friendly community and showcases our ability to attract the country’s top companies, even in these turbulent times. Chairman McKay, the Board of Supervisors and I are thrilled with this news, as we continue to work to diversify our economy.”

“Microsoft can choose from any number of technology hubs for its operations, and we are so pleased that the company chose to expand its operations in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia,” said Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “Because of our wealth of technology talent and the tech ecosystem here, this area is a great match for the company’s talent needs as well as its business goals.”

“Reston is proud to welcome Microsoft’s expansion in our Town Center,” said Senator Janet Howell. “Microsoft Corp. has been an important corporate citizen for many years. The decision to grow here is yet more proof that our region is a major technology hub.”

“I am thrilled that Microsoft has chosen to locate this significant operation and create 1,500 new jobs in Fairfax County,” said Delegate Kenneth Plum. “The Commonwealth and the County have a longstanding relationship with Microsoft, and this operation will only strengthen it. We look forward to welcoming the software development and R&D regional hub to the Reston Town Center.”

Microsoft will be eligible for a $22.5 million grant from the state once it completes the project. Some of that money will be used to fund partnerships with local colleges and universities to “develop the tech talent pipeline for cloud computing and related degrees to support its local expansion,” according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

The company has been in Reston since 2002. The initiative is expected to go live in summer 2021.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments

Confusion Over Governor’s Mask Order — “At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized that Virginia’s new indoor mask requirements weren’t intended to be criminally enforced. But the text of the order (released ~3 hours later) defines a violation as Class 1 misdemeanor.” [Virginia Mercury]

Police Arrest Naked Man in Parking Lot — Local police have arrested an Ashburn man who was running through a parking lot on the 2400 block of Centreville Road on May 22. Carlos Ashe, 35, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and drunk in public. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Staff Conduct Virtual Inspections — The Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health has been conducting virtual inspections for restaurant owners who are applying for permits for newly built or renovated establishments. [Fairfax County Government]

Foundation Pitches Funding to FCPS — “Ferrovial has contributed $67,500 to the Access for All Fund to support students in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the Foundation in response to the pandemic and school closings, the Access for All fund is supporting Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) by assisting local food banks with food distribution to FCPS families, providing grocery gift cards to homeless and unaccompanied youth, delivering school supply kits, and providing technology access for distance learning.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

0 Comments

Gov. Ralph Northam said today that Northern Virginia localities may start to roll back COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.

The rest of Virginia has already started phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, but Northern Virginia officials asked for a delay, which Northam granted.

Now, Northam is pointing to the latest data on the virus, highlighting that the numbers have been “directionally correct” since Friday (May 22).

A joint letter from head officials in Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, sent to Northam on Monday (May 25) said that they are preparing to start the first phase on Friday, including a note from their corresponding health directors.

“[The public health directors] have noted the regional attainment of four of the critical metrics and assessed the need for continued focus on expanding our contact tracing capacity and developing sustainable supplies of PPE,” the letter said.

Additionally, Jeff McKay, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, released the following statement:

Northern Virginia’s Health Directors tell me that we have met four of the critical criteria required to move forward to Phase I of Governor Northam’s plan to reopen. One of the two areas we don’t meet is contact tracing, but we are finalizing a contract hopefully this week to provide recruitment and staffing for the hundreds of contact tracers and investigators that we will need to increase our capacity of contract tracing. The other is PPE and we have sufficient supply for hospitals, but are working to increase in other areas and hope the Governor will be able to help us do that. My colleagues and I have provided this information to the Governor and look forward to hearing his decision based on that data.

I share our community’s desire to reopen our businesses in the safest way possible. Fairfax County has made significant preparations should the Governor decide that Northern Virginia has met his criteria to reopen this Friday. Regardless, we will continue to monitor our local statistics to ensure Fairfax County doesn’t see spikes in cases and be transparent with the public on our progress.

Northam said that he has been communicating with the Northern Virginia officials.

“The virus clearly is still here, but overall, these numbers are trending in the right direction,” Northam said. “That is the assessment of our state team and it is the assessment of the health district directors across Northern Virginia.”

Northam said that he is “not comfortable” starting the second phase yet for the state and will reevaluate later this week.

“I want to emphasize that while phase 1 loosens some restrictions, it does not require any business or place of worship to open until they are comfortable that they can do so safely,” Northam said. “Just because you can open doesn’t mean that you have to open.”

Mask Controversy

Northam also responded to criticisms after photos surfaced of him without a mask at Virginia Beach this weekend, which intensified due to Northam saying on Friday that he planned to announce a statewide mask policy soon.

“People held me accountable, and I appreciate that,” Northam said. “In the future when I am out in the public, I will be better prepared.”

Northam said that “well-wishers” asked to take pictures with him while he was en route to speak to reporters. “I was not prepared because my mask was in the car,” he said.

Northam announced the face-covering rules today.

Starting this Friday (May 29), people age 10 and older will need to wear face-coverings when they are inside a public place, including retailers, barbershops, restaurants, public transportation, government building and place where people congregate. Exceptions include people who are exercising, eating or drinking or have a health condition that makes wearing a face-covering difficult.

“This is a matter of public health,” Northam said.

Image via Governor of Virginia/Facebook

0 Comments

Financial hardship created COVID-19 has forced a local beauty spa and studio in North Point Village Center to shutter its doors.

Ellada Studio (1458 North Point Village Center) closed its doors after the owner struggled to pay $20,000 in monthly rent and other expenses. The owner told Reston Now that the business received no relief from its landlord despite promises of receiving a lower rate before the COVID-19 crisis.

In a May 15 letter to the tenant, Lerner Corp stated that the business’s “obligation to pay rent is unaffected by the current circumstances or any event of force majeure.”

“Then they changed their mind and demanded the difference and the dollars for the time [we were closed],” Aidana Ablyazova, the co-owner, told Reston Now. She partners with her mom, Nurgul, to run the business.

Although the U.S. Small Business Administration offered a $10,000 grant, that amount was nowhere near enough to cover half of the studio’s rent or payroll. The owner applied for other federal grants, but received nothing. The owner and employees will now move over to Taaj Beauty Lounge, a beauty salon in Tysons Corner.

“The business itself is dead,” Ablyazova said. “But my employees are coming with me and I’m going as an employee to now.”

She says it doesn’t make sense to rent or have a business during the public health crisis.

The mother-daughter duo first opened Ellada Studio at North Point Village Center in November 2016.

Hair Cuttery, which is located at 1434 North Point Village Center, also appears to have closed, according to a message posted on its storefront.

Photos by Laura Crielly

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list