Reston, VA

Fairfax County government offices will be closed tomorrow (Friday) due to Juneteenth.

The move comes after Gov. Ralph Northam declared Juneteenth a state holiday earlier this week.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Texas, the last of the former Confederate states, finally heard the Civil War ended and that the Emancipation Proclamation had made slaves free nearly two years earlier. It is formally considered the official commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.

Although the state has marked Juneteenth via proclamation, the date has not been previously declared a state holiday.

“Fairfax County is moving forward and our holidays must reflect that. I am committed to our values that include a diverse, inclusive and equitable society.,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “I asked that the County Executive commemorate Juneteenth because that commitment requires listening to diverse voices and acknowledging the shared history of all Americans.”

All government offices will be closed. But employees who staff essential around-the-clock county operations will work as scheduled, including public safety and trash collection.

Here’s more from Northam’s statement:

“Since 1619, when representative democracy and enslaved African people arrived in Virginia within a month of each other, we have said one thing, but done another. It’s time we elevate Juneteenth not just as a celebration by and for some Virginians, but one acknowledged and commemorated by all of us. It mattered then because it marked the end of slavery in this country, and it matters now because it says to Black communities, this is not just your history–this is everyone’s shared history, and we will celebrate it together. This is a step toward the Commonwealth we want to be as we go forward.”

Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill also encouraged residents to reflect on this day and take actions to “promote the unity we embrace here in Fairfax County.”

File photo

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Though Fairfax County is known as a hot-bed for government contract work, non-profit news organization ProPublica discovered that over $560 million in contracts were awarded to five Reston and Herndon based companies working to combat COVID-19.

This dedicated money will go towards a variety of research and response types, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, including relief programs.

For example, Herndon based RER Solutions, Inc. was awarded the highest amounts of money in Fairfax County. With the $500 million contract, the woman-owned small business will help the U.S. Small Business Administration with data analysis and loan-recommendation services, the Fairfax County EDA said in a press release.

“The SBA is administering several emergency relief programs for small businesses, including the Payroll Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program,” the EDA press release said.

Other contracts in the area include:

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Fairfax County’s top official is stressing the importance of equity and justice as nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd continue.

A viral video captured Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

In a newsletter to constituents, Jeff McKay, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, stressed the county’s focus on equity with the One Fairfax policy, saying that he will soon announce ” a blueprint to double down on our commitments.”

McKay also addressed the recent protests in D.C. after reports on Monday of police using tear gas and rubber bullets to dispel protesters from the area around a church where President Donald Trump then posed for a photo.

“I’m angry and disgusted that today, for the third time in as many days, we saw peaceful protestors tear-gassed and shot with pellet guns as they chanted for peace and change,” McKay said.

McKay’s full statement:

To the Fairfax County Community,

Over the weekend, millions marched the streets across the United States mourning the death of George Floyd and rightfully protesting the injustices and systemic racism experienced by generations of African American men and women in this country.

I’m angry and disgusted that today, for the third time in as many days, we saw peaceful protestors tear gassed and shot with pellet guns as they chanted for peace and change. Simultaneously, COVID-19 continues to showcase and exacerbate the disparities that exist in our most vulnerable communities.

Now more than ever, we know it is the role of our local government to achieve true structural change in our communities. We in Fairfax County must honestly ask ourselves, what actions are we taking?; what voices are we lifting up?; and for me as your Chairman, are our policies affecting systemic change in our community?

We are lucky to live in Fairfax County. Our Government has a team of employees who dedicate themselves to making us better every day. Our residents are diverse and challenge us to do more. Each member of the Board of Supervisors believes that we can always improve.

It is our commitment to our diversity that created our One Fairfax policy, which makes equity a requirement and recognizes that disparity is a fact. The Board of Supervisors and School Board adopted it to ensure that it is intentionally applied to all the work we do – not just reflected on when we are in crisis.  In the coming days, I will announce a blueprint to double down on our commitments.

We have work to be done. In the days, weeks, and months ahead of us, we will continue to listen, encourage healthy dialogues, and have the courage to fight for what’s right.

On Friday, Fairfax County Police Department Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. talked about the police department’s community policing efforts and addressed eroding trust in law enforcement.

“We shall have faith the local and federal justice systems will navigate toward justice for the Floyd family, the communities impacted, and our entire nation,” he said. “However, we must be mindful there is a healing process where righteous anger needs to be constructively exercised through the right to free speech.”

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

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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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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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Thursday Morning Notes

Local Company Tapped for Contact Tracing — The Indiana State Health department has hired Maximus Inc., a Reston-based company, to begin contact tracing for its 92 counties. The company will begin the laborious process of reaching out to people who have tested positive and determining who they have been in contact with over the last two weeks. [Indiana Business Journal]

Herndon Cares Seeks More Support — The initiative has provided more than 1,000 community members with takeout dinners fro local restaurants. The four-week-old program is made possible with partnerships with local faith communities. [Reston Patch]

Local Restaurant Offers Food for Front Line Fighters — Pica Deli, a Reston-based restaurant, raised $2,600 to help fund costs to donate deli sandwiches to frontline hospital medical staff and first responders. [The Connection]

Reminder: County Small Business Loans — Small businesses based in Fairfax County are eligible for up to $20,000 at zero percent interest through the county’s recently established Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Association Annual Meeting is Today — The annual meeting is set for 7 pm. today and will be held via Zoom. The meeting will also be streamed online via YouTube. [Reston Association]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Monday Morning Notes

Gov. Ralph Northam Outlines Blueprint for Reopening — “The lifting of restrictions will include a phased approach based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond a steady decline in new cases, the state will also have to increase testing and contact tracing, while ensuring hospitals have the necessary capacity, Northam said.” [Inside NOVA]

Meat Company Offers Free Delivery — D’Artagnan, a purveyor of “sustainably raised” meat, is offering free delivery for Reston residents via its refrigerated trucks. More information on the program is available online. [D’Artagnan]

Rumor Control: Don’t Swallow Cleaning Products — “Drinking bleach and other cleaning product will not kill the virus inside your body, but it could result in serious illness or injury.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Beth Allgaier

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Health Alert Kit On the Way — Households in Fairfax County and the Town of Herndon will receive a COVID-19 toolkit in the mail that includes instruction on what to do if you’re sick, what to do if you’re in contact with someone who is sick, and how to talk to close contents if you are sick. [Fairfax County Government]

Attempted Robbery at Exxon in Great Falls — A man attempted to rob the Exxon gas station on 9829 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls on April 10. Police said the man left when the clerk told him there was no money. [Fairfax County Police Department]

What’s Happening Today — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will meet electronically today beginning at 1 p.m. to discuss next year’s revised budget and other coronavirus-related items. [Fairfax County Government]

Plans for Non-essential Businesses — “As the end date approaches for the Gov. Ralph Northam’s order that closed non-essential recreation and entertainment businesses, the governor plans to extend the date. Northam has not set an end date for that extension, but an announcement is expected. Wednesday.”  [Patch]

Photo by Bryan Harrell/Twitter

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Friday Morning Notes

Weird Brothers Adapts to Coronavirus — The local veteran-owned coffee shop has adapted to takeout curbside pick up and is offering local deliveries in the Herndon and Reston area. The owner says he’s seen a 50 percent drop in sales. [Patch]

Reston IT Company Names New CFO — “Reston-based information technology company Contegix announced Thursday that it has named Mike Dunn as its new chief financial officer. Dunn was most recently the CFO of systems integrator and managed hosting provider NeoSystems LLC.” [Virginia Business]

More Postponements for County Dockets — Although the Fairfax County Courthouse remains open, the Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court have changed their bond and arraignment schedule until further notice. [Fairfax County Government]

Verisign Inc. Donates $500,00 — The Reston-based company has donated the money to Northern Virginia’s COVID-19 response fund “as part of a broader effort to support those in the region.” [Community Foundation for Northern Virginia]

Metro Scales Back Service — “Metro will operate significantly reduced rail and bus service on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5, maintaining a core network of 27 “lifeline” bus routes and providing twice-hourly rail service on all lines for the region’s essential travel need.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Blood Drives in Fire Station Parking Lots — “Several Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Volunteer Fire Departments are partnering with Inova Blood Donor Services to hold blood drives in their fire station parking lots. Due to current events, blood supplies in Fairfax County and the nation are at dangerously low levels and dropping.” [Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department]

County Buildings to Close to Public — All government facilities and buildings will be closed to the public beginning Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m. The county government remains open for business online and by phone and email. [Fairfax County Government]

Metro Closes More Stations — “Metro’s Pandemic Task Force today announced the strategic closing of 17 additional stations, effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, in an effort to conserve critical resources and protect the health and safety of Metro employees and the public. This follows drastic measures already taken to reduce travel on Metro to essential trips only, leading to a Metrorail ridership decline of 90 percent.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Economic Injury Loans for Small Businesses — Small businesses in the state can apply for low-interest Economic Injury Loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Businesses can get up to $2 million in working capital loans. [SBA]

Don’t Use Drug Take-Back Boxes  The boxes at the county’s police district stations will be closed until further notice to protect residents and first responders. [Fairfax County. Government]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Monday Morning Notes


Fairfax County Announces First Coronavirus-related Death — “The tally of known coronavirus cases in the District, Maryland and Virginia reached 447 on Saturday as Maryland added 42 cases Friday and another 41 cases on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 191. Virginia reported a third death, a Fairfax County man in his 60s. On Saturday, Virginia reported another 38 cases for a total of 154. The District reported 21 new patients Saturday evening, including two girls, 9 and 11-years-old. There are now 102 cases in D.C.” [Washington Post]

Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force Created — State authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigations are collaborating to form the task force, which aims to identify, investigate and prosecute fraud related to the coronavirus pandemic in the state. [U.S. Department of Justice]

Local Volunteering Opportunities During COVID-19 — “The COVID-19 emergency has affected us all. Many nonprofits and organizations are working to meet the needs in our community, but there is a larger demand for services and a need for volunteers (in consideration of CDC regulations).” [Fairfax County Government]

Updated: Local Takeout, Delivery, and Dine-in Options — We’ve updated our roundup of local dining, delivery and takeout options. [Reston Now]

Photo via vantagehillFlickr

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Alcorn Postpones Budget Town Hall — Hunter Mill District Supervisor has postponed an upcoming town hall on the 2021 budget “due to the uncertainty of the impacts of coronavirus on county operations and resources.” [Fairfax County Government]

Northam Pushes 10-person Limit at Gyms, Restaurants — “Restaurants, gyms, and theaters in Virginia will not serve more than 10 customers at a time under an order the governor issued Tuesday in response to the coronavirus. Gov. Ralph Northam also urged Virginians to comply with new federal guidelines not to gather in groups of more than 10 and for people older than 65 to self-quarantine.[U.S. News & World Report]

Juvenile Robbed in Herndon — A juvenile was robbed and assaulted by another juvenile on the 600 block of Dulles Park Court on March 11. The case is under investigation. [Herndon Police Department]

Department of Motor Vehicle Centers Close — All state DMV centers are closed until April 2. Driver and vehicle credentials have been extended for 60 days. [Virginia DMV]

Balducci’s Reserves First Hour of Shopping for Seniors — Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market in Reston Town Center is reserving the first hour of shopping for elderly and high-risk customers. [Balducci’s]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider plans to declare a state of local emergency tomorrow (Tuesday) due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, Jeff McKay, the board’s chairman, said the board is expected to hold an emergency session tomorrow at 10 a.m as part of its next phase of emergency response.

The institution of a local emergency declaration activates the county’s Emergency Operations Plan and allows the county to quickly mobilize county resources. The board must vote to pass the declaration.

So far, all county agencies have been direct to shift to core functions. Residents are strongly encouraged to conduct any needed business online. All county parks, libraries, and school buildings are closed for two weeks beginning today.

The meeting will be broadcast on Fairfax County Government Channel 16 and streamed online. State Gov. Ralph Northam also banned public events of greater than 100 people.

As of Saturday, March 14, the county has identified 10 presumptive cases of coronavirus.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Senior centers and adult health care centers operated by Fairfax County are closing today until further notice, according to a press release issued today (Sunday).

The news comes as fears of an outbreak of coronavirus continue. So far, the county has documented 10 presumptive cases. That number is expected to increase over the coming days, according to health officials.

County officials say that the move was motivated by “an abundance of caution.” The respiratory disease is especially dangerous for seniors and those with preexisting medical conditions.

The county is expected to offer meal delivery services to registered participants on an as needed basis.

“We apologize for any disruption this may cause but believe that it is prudent to take this additional precautionary measure to ensure the health and well-being of older adults in our communities,” the statement reads.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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The real estate tax could increase by three cents in the next fiscal year if the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors accepts a budget proposed by County Executive Bryan Hill.

Hill pitched the budget to the board at a meeting today (Tuesday). One cent of the proposed tax, which increases the annual tax bill by roughly $346, will be earmarked for affordable housing initiatives. The remaining two-cent increase will go toward the general fund and other board priorities.

The increase is expected to bring in nearly $80 million to the county’s coffers.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide appropriate levels of funding in these areas with no adjustments to our tax rates,” Hill wrote in a statement.

Hill is also proposing a four percent tax on tickets for movies, theater, and concerts. If approved, the tax would take effect in October. County officials say that the move could bring in $2.3 million in revenue to the county that would fund arts and tourism efforts.

The $4.6 billion budget represents a nearly four percent increase over last year’s budget. Although Fairfax County Public Schools would receive 3.7 percent more county funds than last year, Hill’s budget leaves $4 million in unmet needs for the school system.

Hill anticipates that the school system can make up the difference between what was requested and what will be allocated through expected increases in state funding this year.

At the meeting, Hill also unveiled the county’s new strategic plan, which outlines nine priority areas that will guide the county’s decision-making over the next 30 years.

Highlights of the plan are below:

Funding to expand school readiness programs like the new Early Childhood Birth to 5 Fund and a recommended $25 million bond referendum for early childhood facilities in 2020 in the Lifelong Education and Learning priority area.

Dedicating one cent of the proposed tax increase to affordable housing under Housing and Neighborhood Livability.

Body-worn cameras and staff for the new Scotts Run Fire and South County Police stations under Safety and Security.

Funding to expand environmental initiatives, Diversion First and the Opioid Task Force under the Health and Environment priority area.

Funding for expanded library hours (11 of 22 locations will move to standardized hours), scholarship assistance for parks programs and use of admissions tax revenue to increase funding for the arts under the Cultural and Recreational Opportunities priority area.

Public hearings on the budget are set for April 14-16. The board will make changes to the proposed budget on April 28, followed by adoption on May 5. 

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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