Arlington County says it “strongly supports” a planning effort to “develop a coordinated, safe, and scientifically-informed strategy” to reopen the D.C. region.
In a statement Wednesday night, officials said there needs to be a unified plan for emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Working with our regional partners in a coordinated, intentional way is critical to ensuring the health and well being of everyone in Arlington and the region,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “We want to ensure our staffs work together so we are aligned on criteria and next steps when the time comes to reopen our County and the region.”
The effort is being coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which released the following statement (emphasis added).
While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across our region, it is also clear that staying at home and practicing social distancing have been working to reduce the spread of the virus. The best estimates still show that it will take more time before we can return to our daily routines, so we urge everyone to continue following the advice of public health experts and staying home.
In the interim, we are committed to working together to thoughtfully plan for the reopening of the National Capital Region when the time comes. It is our collective desire to work in close partnership with the leaders of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia to ensure a safe and effective reopening strategy informed by and consistent with the sound guidance of our health officials. Any strategy to reopen must be cautious and deliberate and must consider conditions across our entire region, including the number of new cases being reported, the availability and reliability of testing, the capacity of our health system to accommodate patients, and the ability of the region to take immediate action should a resurgence of the virus occur.
We live in an interconnected region where our residents cross our city, county, and state jurisdictional boundaries daily to live, work, learn, and play. We know that the unprecedented actions taken to respond to this public health emergency have exacted a tremendous economic toll for workers and businesses. It is essential that we continue to coordinate across borders to combat this virus and implement a reopening strategy for our communities that leads to a sustained economic recovery.
As we work through this difficult situation, we thank area residents for staying home, avoiding crowds, and practicing social distancing during the past several weeks and urge everyone to stay committed to these important actions. Your efforts and sacrifices are helping slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. And while we ask for you to continue doing your part, know that your leaders in local government are doing everything we can to protect your health and serve you during these challenging times.