Police, hazmat crews, and other first responders are on the scene of a death in the Town of Herndon.
The Town of Herndon Police Department is advising people to avoid the 500 block of Florida Avenue while the investigation is underway.
“There is no threat to the public,” the department says.
INCIDENT ALERT: Police, rescue, and HAZMAT crews are in the 500-block of Florida Avenue investigating a death. There is no threat to the public. Please avoid the area while the incident is being investigated. Updates as available. #HerndonPD pic.twitter.com/RjaKwcS0iz
— Herndon Police (@HerndonPolice) May 9, 2022
As Herndon’s manager and council consider the upcoming budget, a six-year plan of infrastructure projects is up for discussion again.
The list could contain 55 projects, including seven new ones, that would collectively require $177 million.
Numerous sources would cover the costs, such as nearly $53 million from Virginia Transportation Department Smart Scale funding, $17.3 million from federal funding, nearly $14.6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, nearly $13.9 million from town enterprise funding (consisting of user fees for services such as water and sewer) and $11.1 million from government bonds, according to a town presentation.
Town manager Bill Ashton is compiling the list for the town council, which would approve it for the upcoming 2023 fiscal year that starts July 1, 2022.
While a rolling list of projects was approved last year, new projects could include:
- $1.6 million for the municipal center’s fire alarm system due to a fire marshal directive.
- $225,000 for upgrading a police records management system that can address evolving data mandates and technology standards. The town says a vendor is moving away from an outmoded product line to a new dispatch-records system, and the cost would cover purchasing the new system, vendor support and data migration.
- $200,000 for a Herndon Metrorail promenade. A 500-foot-long gateway plaza some 60 to 70 feet wide would connect the new Metro stop to Herndon Parkway. The town expects developer contributions to assist with the project.
- $200,000 for upgrading council chambers’ technology equipment, such as gallery audio and additional lighting for improving webcasts and recordings.
- $100,000 for updating an aquatic office to expand and split a small shared office space for three full-timers into separate work areas.
- $30,000 for Center Street culvert improvement to improve a pedestrian route, barriers and fencing across from the Herndon municipal garage near the library.
- $25,000 for converting a softball field at Bready Park into eight pickleball courts.
Town guidelines call for contributing about $1 million in general funds from fiscal year 2024 to 2028.
Photo via Google Maps
Heading into this weekend before Valentine’s Day, here are the top stories on Reston Now from this week.
- Clyde’s in Reston Town Center is closing after 31 years
- Fairfax County Board to consider bus service changes for Silver Line extension
- After decades of business, The Bird Feeder appears to have closed
- No injuries reported in Herndon house fire
- WETA to feature Reston in upcoming show
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 plans, or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.
A developer wants to repaint buildings and add a bike locker station if the town allows the company to redevelop the Herndon Residence Inn into multifamily housing.
The Denver-based hospitality business Stonebridge Companies bought the nearly 6.5-acre Residence Inn property in February 2020 for $17.25 million and has been working for over a year to get the property approved for reuse as multifamily housing. It would include affordable (so-called “workforce“) housing and market-rate units.
The town’s Architectural Review Board is reviewing proposed exterior changes and is slated to meet tonight (Wednesday) at 7:30 p.m.
A town memo provides the following context on how the review board’s decision will affect the application:
The board’s preliminary review and feedback is part of the official review process of a Zoning Map Amendment (ZMA) land use case currently in review for the conversion project. Following board review, the ARB chair will produce a report of the Board’s findings and provide it to the Planning Commission for consideration during its deliberation of the ZMA case. The project will return to the ARB as a formal item following approval of the ZMA and a site plan.
Among the changes, the bike locker station would be about 24 feet wide by 24 feet long and 6 feet high. Additionally, a refuse and recycling station would be added, but the applicant didn’t provide renderings at this point, according to the town.
Town staff said the proposed exterior changes are both acceptable and would help with the general improvement of the “out-of-date” hotel.
Following longstanding and growing complaints over parking issues, Town of Herndon officials adopted an ordinance yesterday (Tuesday) to restrict how close drivers could park to driveways, one of several changes to overhaul parking rules.
“This is the number one issue in the town of Herndon,” Councilmember Pradip Dhakal said of parking problems, referring to commercial vehicles parking in the town as well as vehicles with expired tags.
The changes, approved by Herndon Town Council, go into effect immediately. Among the new rules, the ordinance:
- bans various vehicles — such as those weighing more than 12,000 pounds or being longer than 21 feet — from parking in residential areas for more than two hours at a time
- restricts recreational vehicles from temporarily parking longer than 72 hours on a residential street
- allows the town to impose $50 fines on motorists who block curb ramps; it also allows officials to fine drivers $50 if they park within 5 feet of a driveway
Herndon police had recommended restricting parking within 10 feet of a driveway, but council revised a proposed ordinance following a public hearing. Previously, the town could only fine vehicles $50 if a vehicle blocked access to a driveway.
Police Chief Maggie DeBoard said people recognized how Herndon’s parking was considerably less restrictive than neighboring Fairfax and Loudoun counties. She said one person defiantly challenged the town’s parking enforcement officer regarding how close a vehicle could be to a driveway.
DeBoard said last week during a work session that the town’s first approach is educating drivers before issuing tickets.
During the public hearing, homeowner Pat Voltmer of Missouri Avenue said she and neighbors have been filing weekly complaints since August due to large six- to 10-wheel vehicles taking up overflow parking on streets. The parking problems also made turning around on streets difficult and dangerous for service trucks, she said.
Residents also had voiced a safety issue over limited visibility when leaving driveways due to jam-packed streets, and frustrations also came from parked vehicles interfering with trash pickup.
“It makes me feel that now is the time to act. Probably before was the time to act,” Councilmember Sean Regan said.
Council members suggested further parking issues could be explored, such as adding more stop signs in the town.
Herndon Town Council again examined the issue of parking restrictions as big box trucks and other vehicles have found a haven for street parking between neighboring Fairfax and Loudoun counties in the area.
While neighboring jurisdictions have more restrictions on parking, Herndon’s lax rules have meant vehicles block areas, are abandoned on streets and interfere with drivers’ visibility, according to town officials.
“Herndon has become a place where people can park these vehicles all through our residential areas without any restrictions,” police Chief Maggie DeBoard said.
But while the town has been exploring town-wide parking issues since 2019 and DeBoard presented on the issue last year and this year, efforts have continued to stall.
Council brought up the issue yesterday (Tuesday) during a work session, leading multiple council members to ask if staff could determine what kind of impact a proposed ordinance would have on parking.
Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila said it was unclear to him what kind of impact restricting vehicles from 5 feet or 10 feet from a driveway would have. He suggested that the town further look into what would happen in Precinct 2 neighborhoods (an area that spans from Rock Hill Road to Elden Street west of the downtown) where there are dense cul-de-sacs.
“I think this is definitely needed,” del Aguila said, adding that he was not saying that he doesn’t support this.
A proposed ordinance would have to go before the council at a regular meeting, but its future was unclear. The staff’s proposal called for:
- restricting vehicles from parking within 10 feet of a driveway
- banning various vehicles — such as those weighing more than 12,000 pounds or being longer than 21 feet — from parking in residential areas for more than two hours at a time
- restricting recreational vehicles from temporarily parking longer than 72 hours on a residential street
- strengthening the town’s ability to remove abandoned vehicles from streets
- giving the town the ability to fine motorists who block curb ramps
DeBoard said that parking near driveways can create safety issues, and some homeowners are moving vehicles from driveways or garages to the streets to try to address access or visibility issues, further exacerbating the problem.
She also noted that parking enforcement’s mission is to first educate drivers before fining them.
But amid the work session, Mayor Sheila Olem, who has previously shared concerns about parking problems, halted the discussion after directing Councilmember Jasbinder Singh to ask a question as opposed to giving lengthy opinions on the matter.
Singh had suggested piloting the change in one area of the town, prompting town officials to note they couldn’t single out one area with a law but must apply it uniformly.
The clocktower plaza in McNair will have a new Mexican street food restaurant, aiming to open this summer.
Taco Bamba, which has locations throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland, has signed a lease for a new eatery in Village Center at Dulles (2445 Centreville Road), a representative told Reston Now.
“I believe Herndon is a true melting pot of cultures and people from different backgrounds,” award-winning chef Victor Albisu said in a statement. “It is the type of area where Taco Bamba can thrive creatively.”
The 2,850 square-foot space will feature 20 to 30 indoor seats, including bar seating, as well as a seasonal patio.
A spokesperson for the company, Justin Rude, said it’s going to replace Rubino’s Pizzeria but will require work to make it ready.
“Like all Taco Bamba locations, the menu of traditional tacos will be supported by a list of creations honoring the surrounding neighborhood,” the company said in a news release. “The German-style clocktower center will also play a role as we create odes to various ethnic offerings around town.”
Foodies will remember that Albisu competed on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” in 2015 and won with a steak and eggs dish. He also appeared as a guest judge on Telemundo’s “Top Chef Estrellas” and “Hell’s Kitchen.”
Albisu noted that the company has its eyes on national expansion, but the Northern Virginia-based concept and brand believes in growing locally.
The Herndon restaurant’s menu will be unique, with neighborhood-specific empanadas and feature tacos, tostadas, and super tortas. It will also have free coffee until noon to accompany its all-day breakfast items, according to the news release.
Albisu, a Vienna resident, opened the first location of Taco Bamba in Idylwood in June 2013. With an Alexandria restaurant expected to open early this year, the Herndon location will give Taco Bamba a total of seven sites in Northern Virginia.
Photo via Google Maps
Plans for an environmentally friendly farm in Herndon are starting to take shape.
The company started with a farm in Newington, creating a system that uses 95% less water than a field to grow lettuces and other food by keeping machinery stationary and moving plants through its growing process, its website explains.
Beanstalk announced plans to expand to Herndon last year, using the location for a scaled-up version of its farm with growing, package and research operations.
Beanstalk makes baby kale, spring mix salad greens and baby romaine as well as baby arugula and spinach. Customers can get the products in stores, at farmers markets and online.
Herndon spokesperson Anne Curtis said the town’s community development staff approved a zoning permit for the business in December 2020.
Beanstalk is looking to have an internally lit letters by an entrance of the building, and a public hearing will occur before the town’s Architectural Review Board at its 7:30 p.m. meeting today (Wednesday) in the police department’s community room (397 Herndon Parkway).
Ringing in the new year, Herndon High and Herndon Middle will host a concert with a nationally recognized guest ensemble.
The Dallas Brass musical ensemble will visit with the bands from the two Herndon schools and hold workshops before joining the school bands for the last part of their Jan. 4 concert.
Since its founding in 1983 in Dallas, the ensemble has blended traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion. In addition to solo performances, the ensemble has performed with symphony orchestras nationwide, including the Cincinnati Pops conducted by Erich Kunzel, New York Pops conducted by Skitch Henderson and the Philly Pops conducted by Peter Nero.
The partnership blossomed partly because of familiarity between band director Kathleen Jacoby and the ensemble. Jacoby and the Herndon HS Band Parent Association also sought to provide this experience to the students after a virtual school year.
“I sought out a performance with Dallas Brass because one of my former students, Buddy Deshler, is a trumpet player in the group,” Jacoby wrote. “Buddy tours with the group when he is not teaching at the Crane School of Music as the trumpet professor. We have kept in close touch over the years and been fortunate to have him solo with Herndon on three separate occasions. Getting the full Dallas Brass experience will be like Buddy times six!”
Tickets are available for purchase online for $10 to the general public and are non-refundable. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.
Per Fairfax County Public Schools COVID-19 policy, masks will be required indoors.
The concert is a portion of Dallas Brass’ “American Musical Journey” program which incorporates a full complement of brass and percussion for a musical travelogue through American history.
Musical selections come from a variety of traditionally recognized composers: Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, John Williams, John Philip Sousa. Selections also include from bands such as Tijuana Brass and Chicago, as well as styles that include Dixieland, swing, Broadway, folk, patriotic, pop and hip-hop.
In addition to its work with school bands, Dallas Brass has also performed at Carnegie Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center, and toured in Europe and parts of Asia. Past performances include playing for Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, appearing on the CBS “Early Show,” and their music has also been used numerous times on the television show, “The Young and the Restless.”
Image via Dulles Brass
My Dr.’s Pharmacy is looking to move next year to a bigger space to house its existing setup involving two separate locations in the same plaza.
The business (412 Elden St.) features pharmacists and nutritionists and added a COVID-19 clinic nearby during the pandemic in Herndon Centre (the temporary clinic is at 388 Elden St.).
But it’s hoping to consolidate those two footprints and feature a wellness center under the JunoWellness brand by June, president and pharmacist Omar Shoheiber of the company said in an email.
“The new location will become a retail based wellness hub where a team of pharmacists, nurses, clinical nutritionists, and physical therapist work together,” he wrote. “The focus will not only be on caring for the sick but also to help the healthy stay healthy.”
The business provides nutritional and herbal wellness consultation services, supplements and prescriptions. Its clinic has been delivering COVID-19 vaccines as well as testing, delivering results within two hours or the next day, depending on the type of test.
Shoheiber described the new location as a retail-based wellness hub where a team of pharmacists, nurses, clinical nutritionists and a physical therapist work together. He likened it to a Home Depot for health care services.
The business is currently looking to get signage for the new location approved through the town. The existing locations will be vacated.
Photo via Google Maps
An apartment fire that displaced 44 people Dec. 2 in Herndon has drawn responses from numerous services and community members to help as families embrace a holiday season much different than they expected.
Help has come through an outpouring of donations as well as help in staying in hotels for the short term, following the fire that officials say was linked to a charging cable.
“We are working to help make sure that these families have all of their short-term and long-term needs placed,” Cornerstones spokesperson Margaret Ann Lara said.
The nonprofit Cornerstones has been working with the Fairfax County Emergency Operations Center, county schools, a helpline for residents known as Coordinated Services Planning (703-222-0880), the American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region and other safety net providers to address the “devastating impact of this fire,” Lara also said in a statement.
Cornerstones, the social services organization known for assisting homeless individuals and families, has also provided gift cards so victims can purchase food, clothing and transportation. It’s also working with other agencies to provide support for many suffering from emotional and physical trauma, Lara wrote.
“In that same light, the community’s support is extraordinary. We’ve received generous offers of clothing, furniture, toys, appliances, etc.” Lara said in the statement. “Household and personal items will definitely be needed in the future. But for now, the greatest community support opportunity is to donate gift cards or make direct financial donations through Cornerstones, as we coordinate resources to help with short-term needs and anticipate the long-term supports required for these families over the next 8-12 months.”
The organization plans to partner with local nonprofits, faith and civic groups and corporate as well as individual advocates to help fulfill families’ needs for household goods, furniture, appliances and more.
When Herndon mayor-elect Sheila Olem was sworn in last December, the traditional ceremony was much different than usual: It took place as a private affair with attendee limits due to COVID-19.
“We all got individually sworn in,” she said Monday, reflecting on her time in office. “It’s been a year.”
Olem previously listed COVID-19 as her top priority for her term, which lasts for two years. Since starting her new role, the town has scaled back from the staggering of schedules for public works crews, which began in 2020, to mitigate and help control the spread of the virus.
With vaccines now readily available and Olem fully vaccinated with a booster, all Pfizer-BioNTech shots for COVID-19, some pre-pandemic routines are returning. In June, meetings went back to in person. And in August 2020, the Herndon Community Center reopened.
Much has changed, but the pandemic’s effects still linger in this town of nearly 25,000 people. The Town Council is back to meeting in person, but face-mask-required signs still cover government buildings.
About 75% of the town’s costs are personnel, and town leaders, including the mayor, have sought to help keep their morale up, Olem said. The vacancy rate for the town’s 200-plus positions is 10% or higher, she said, noting that she and town Manager Bill Ashton will deliver meals to town departments to thank them for their service, although a holiday celebration with awards will have to be done virtually.
The town is also getting $25.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act money, so staff are reviewing how the funding could help with one-time expenses that they’re allowed to be used for, such as infrastructure costs. Olem noted money could be used for a pool-cleaning system at the Herndon Community Center.
The pandemic’s uncertainty comes as the town is still waiting for the Herndon Metrorail Station to begin serving the yet-to-open Silver Line Phase II extension, which would include service to the Dulles airport.
Mayor discusses development, parking and future
During Olem’s time as mayor, the town has begun moving forward with a proposal for three developers to pay $500,000 to help study an area for redevelopment. The review, within 1/4 to 1/2 miles of the Metro station, would cover an area mostly north of Herndon Parkway. A committee that will include a representative for each developer has not yet formed, but Olem said the town is in no way bound to the committee’s recommendations.
However, there is still no firm groundbreaking date on the delayed redevelopment of downtown Herndon by Comstock.
Meanwhile, the town considered in August whether rules should be changed to address off-street parking, which isn’t metered. Olem said other areas have done so and noted how commercial trucks can sit in areas in the town.
“We’ve got to bring this back,” she said. “If we don’t have anything on the books, there’s nothing we can do.”
The Town Council considered a proposal to allow $50 fines against drivers who park within 10 feet of driveways to help with safety due to traffic visibility and to help with access for trash pickup, but it decided during an Aug. 10 meeting that it would hold off on the matter. Council members asked for more information on neighborhoods affected and possible consequences.
For the remainder of her term, Olem, who has been on council since 2010, said she’s interested in maintaining Herndon’s sense of place and historical homes where possible.
Herndon is moving toward examining mixed-use possibilities near the pending Herndon Metro station and expects to use money from private landowners to “study” the area.
Under the agreement, certain property owners would pay the town up to $500,000 for planning consultant services for preparation of a Transit-Related Growth Area Plan, which the town has studied previously.
The new development area, within 1/4 to 1/2 miles of the Metro station, would cover area mostly north of Herndon Parkway from Haley M. Smith Park and also extend southeast of Herndon Parkway to the Fairfax County Parkway.
Two different property owners approached the town and proposed ideas for funding the hiring of consultants to create the plan, deputy attorney Lauri Sigler said yesterday during a town council work session.
According to the town:
The Town Manager received a letter dated May 5, 2021, in which Herndon Van Buren LLC and Herndon Hotel Ownership LLC, who are owners of several properties located in the Transit-Related Growth (“TRG”) Area, made a proposal to the Town where the property owners would provide the funding for the Town to hire a planning consultant for the preparation of a TRG Small Area Plan. The Town was also approached by an owner of additional properties, MBC Property Owners LLC, who is also interested in contributing funds for this effort.
The town would hire a consultant or consultants through a request for proposals and contract directly with the consultants, Sigler said.
The town asked for proposals on Oct. 12, and they’re due Nov. 12. “According to the terms of the agreement,” the town must select the consultant no later than Jan. 31, Sigler said.
The town plans to appoint a seven-member advisory committee, consisting of two of those property owners funding the effort, two planning commissioners, a town planning staff member and two Town of Herndon residents.
Town manager Bill Ashton said the town would get varying points of view in advising how the project develops.
He said the advisory group is only advising on the “mechanics of how this is going to unfold” and added that the request for proposals identifies a “lot of collaboration … that’s going to be expected out of the consultant to collaborate with neighbors.”
“This advisory committee … will act as almost as a liaison with the consultant,” Sigler said. “They don’t have any, um, real voting rights to make final decisions, but they will help guide the consultant through the long planning process.”
The property owners would make the half million dollar payment in four installments, which would pay the consultant in phases. The plan is slated to take 18 months.
“Them paying the fee, does that create any sort of conflict of interest?” town council member Pradip Dhakal said.
Ashton said he’s very cognizant of the ethical ramifications of things like this. He said it’s an arm’s length transaction.
“They’re paying it,” he said. “We’re managing it.”
The town is slated to go before the town council for approval on Tuesday on its consent agenda, meaning there won’t be as much discussion than a regular board item.
Town Mayor Sheila Olem noted that it “doesn’t etch us in stone on anything.”
When Herndon resident John Gluck heard that he had gotten the part on NBC’s new drama “Ordinary Joe,” he freaked out.
The local-student-turned-television-star had never auditioned for a role like this, but he had always been a singer, a piano player, and a movie-lover. So, when NBC put out a casting call in early 2020 looking for a young actor with muscular dystrophy, then-11-year-old Gluck knew he had to go for it.
“The [casting call] is perfect for me and I’m probably not going to get another opportunity like this,” now 13-year-old Gluck tells Reston Now, reminiscing about the moment that changed his life. “Well, I guess I’ll give it a shot.”
He sent an audition tape and got a call a few weeks later to do another audition via Zoom with producers, writers, and potential co-stars. Two days later, he was told he was officially casted on the NBC show.
“[The producers] really liked my energy, enthusiasm, and passion,” says Gluck, from Atlanta, Georgia, where he’s in the midst of production on the show. “I am very energetic.”
After a long COVID-related delay, “Ordinary Joe” finally premiered to big ratings last week on NBC and will have new episodes on Monday nights at 10 p.m. for at least the remainder of the year.
Gluck plays “Christopher,” a co-starring role though to reveal the specifics of the character would be a bit of a spoiler.
“It was very surreal to see my name in the credits [last week].” he says. “I screamed. I’ve been waiting like two years to actually see that. So, the fact that [the show] is out there for the world to see is really awesome.”
Gluck was in second grade, at Crossfield Elementary School, when he caught the acting bug, making short films that “really helped me come out of my shell.”
He started taking classes at Lopez Studios, a 25-year-old performing arts school in Reston.
“John is great talent, great voice, overall personality, and has been in several of our mainstage performances,” Victor Lopez, the owner and founder of the school, tells Reston Now. “John is a model student, does his homework, and now we are seeing it pay off.”
Gluck is a lifelong musician, singing and playing the piano. Performing is nothing new for him, but auditioning for an acting role was.
“My acting coach had to explain how to do an [acting] audition. I didn’t know all of the vocabulary,” Gluck says.
However, in another stroke of destiny, he saw the sides (portion of script used for auditions) and it included belting out “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel. He sang a rendition of the song for his audition and the producers were very impressed.
“They told me the second they heard that, they thought ‘Oh my goodness, we need to keep him,'” he says. “Now, I’m singing in every other episode, which is incredible.”
Over the summer, he drove with his family from his Herndon home to Atlanta, where he’ll be staying until December as the show wraps up production. While he’s living his dream, he admittingly misses home and knows this wasn’t an opportunity he could ever pass up.
Gluck has muscular dystrophy and understands that this is a special chance to be a role model.
“There’s not a ton of representation for muscular dystrophy on screen. The few movies and shows that I’ve seen where they do have a character with muscular dystrophy, they aren’t actually played by somebody with muscular dystrophy,” Gluck says. “I know I’m representing lots of people that are just like me and they’re going to see someone like themselves on TV.”
As a newbie to television acting, he was surprised about a few things on set. For one, how many camera angles and takes they do for every single scene. Also, there are television monitors everywhere, showing producers and actors scenes as they will look to the viewer at home. For Gluck, it kinda feels like getting sucked into the television.
“There’s a lot of monitors everywhere and I’m watching what’s going on… like I’m watching on TV,” he says. “Then, I literally roll right into the scene, which is a very crazy feeling.”
Gluck explains his acting style as one that fully understands the context of the scene, realizing that what’s written in the script isn’t always the only things that need to be communicated.
“If a character is asking a question, I’ve got to realize what they are actually saying? They are not just asking this one question, I have to know what they are truly meaning to say. This has to come not just through my words, but the way I act.”
All of this is truly impressive for any actor, much less one who’s 13 and new to the business. But Gluck certainly has the “it” factor, that special something that makes it clear someone is a star. He hasn’t thought specifically about what’s coming next for him, other than he wants to continue to work in the television business, perhaps behind the cameras as well.
For young actors like him, who are thinking of auditioning for a role that they may think is out of their reach, Gluck’s advice is simple.
“Go for it. It never hurts to try,” he says. “[If you don’t], you could be missing out on something really big. With your acting, just leave it all out there. Give it all you got.”
Herndon Prepares for Metro — Town officials reflect on how they’re preparing for Metro’s arrival. The town has 38 acres of developable land north of the new Metro station. [Washington Business Journal]
Aslin Beer Co. to Expand — The brewery, which has locations in Alexandria and Herndon, is opening a 7,000-square-foot taproom in The Terminal, a large redevelopment of Pittsburg. [Washington Business Journal]
QR Codes Now Available to Verify Vaccine Status — The state’s health department has announced that QR codes are now available to verify an individual’s vaccination status. Virginia is now the fifth state in the country to adopt the QR code method. [Fairfax County Government]