Do you operate a small business in Arlington that is open but struggling amid the coronavirus shutdown?
We know the feeling. And we want to help.
For now until whenever things get back to mostly normal, ARLnow is offering free Community Posts to locally-owned businesses that need a bit of a boost.
Here are some ways you can use a Community Post:
- Let the community know you’re still open
- Promote a new online ordering page
- Tell local customers about specials you’re running
Community Posts stay on ARLnow’s homepage and email newsletter for up to 7 days.
This is being provided as a free service to local businesses. We ask that submitters limit posts to 150 words or less and refrain from promoting treatments or services related to COVID-19.
There are now 128 known coronavirus cases in Arlington, the second-highest total among Virginia localities.
Only neighboring Fairfax County, with 328 cases, has more. That’s according to the latest Virginia Dept. of Health data, which today (Thursday) reported 1,706 cases statewide, along with 246 hospitalizations and 41 deaths.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said yesterday that the Commonwealth’s projections anticipate “a surge in the number of people who test positive between late April and late May.” With the worse yet to come — and coronavirus-related medical dispatches seemingly on the rise in Arlington — there is an increasing urgency to have plans in place in Arlington and across the state to deal with the potential for overflowing hospitals.
Officials, however, are staying mum on many of the details.
It was reported yesterday that the former ExxonMobil campus in Fairfax County, now owned by Inova Health System, “is one of three sites the state has identified for alternative care facilities if hospitals become overcrowded due to the coronavirus pandemic.” George Mason University’s main campus in Fairfax could also be used in a later stage of the response.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported over the weekend that other aspects of the planning are “mostly under wraps as some projections anticipate a shortage of intensive care beds, tens of thousands of sickened Virginians needing hospitalization and a climbing death toll in the coming months.”
“The state has also shirked repeated questions about how it will approach offering guidance to hospitals on criteria for rationing health care should the need outstrip the supply, as it did in Italy and as it threatens to in New York,” the paper said.
In Arlington, we asked the county’s Dept. of Human Services about the potential use of hotels — or even the former Virginia Hospital Center auxiliary campus on Carlin Springs Road, now owned by Arlington County and slated for demolition — as possible COVID-19 patient overflow or quarantine sites.
A spokesman did not provide specifics, only saying last week that the county was “exploring options.”
“Public safety and public health is our top priority. Our dedicated staff continues to work with local, regional and state partners to explore options for quarantine, isolation, and other measures to support an unprecedented response to COVID-19,” said Kurt Larrick. “We are following plans and protocols we have previously developed, as well as the actions and progress of communities across the country, including those in New York, Louisiana, California and elsewhere, and prudently planning to protect the health and safety of all our community.”
Billy Bayne, owner of the Highlander Motel in Clarendon, told ARLnow that the county has asked about possible use of the hotel, which has separate outdoor entrances and HVAC units for each room.
Arlington is “preparing for the worst” and looked at the Highlander as an “alternate site,” said Bayne, who also owns a pair of restaurants in Crystal City. He noted that there’s plenty of availability — he only had five paying guests to start the week.
In addition to details about the county’s plans, it has also been difficult to gather more information about COVID-19 cases in Arlington beyond the daily numbers provided by the state health department.
Virginia Hospital Center, which has implemented strict visitation policies as part of its COVID-19 response, declined to answer questions from ARLnow about how many confirmed and suspected cases it’s currently treating.
“Virginia Hospital Center is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and complies with all applicable laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. As always, the Hospital does not share patient-specific information without prior authorization,” said Maryanne Boster, the hospital’s Director of Corporate Communications. “We are collaborating with public health authorities, including the CDC and local public health authorities, as appropriate. These authorities are best-positioned to provide public health information.”
Firefighters battled an apartment fire in the Penrose neighborhood Thursday morning.
The fire in a second floor unit of a three-story, garden-style apartment building on the 2000 block of 4th Street S. was first reported around 9:45 a.m. Firefighters from nearby Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall encountered heavy smoke upon arriving on scene, but were able to quickly extinguish the flames.
Residents in the apartment were able to get out as the fire spread and there were no injuries to the occupants or firefighters, we’re told.
A dog that was inside the apartment, however, was not able to get out. Firefighters attempted CPR after removing the dog from the apartment, but it succumbed to its injuries, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli. The dog’s body was wrapped in a blanket by rescue personnel.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
Correction on address 2000 blk of 4th st S
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) April 2, 2020
Map via Google Maps. Staff photographer Jay Westcott contributed to this report.
(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) Signs are up for a pair of new businesses in Crystal City, even as the coronavirus outbreak has left others closed and fighting for survival.
Bowlero — a bowling alley, arcade and restaurant — was hoping to roll into an empty retail space at 320 23rd Street S. in June. It’s not clear whether the opening will be further delayed amid ongoing social distancing measures; Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s new stay-at-home order is tentatively set to expire on June 10.
Nonetheless, construction is continuing and within the past few days a bright blue “Bowlero” sign went up outside its future home.
Also this week, signs for The Freshman went up.
When it opens, The Freshman plans to offer “high-quality coffee, teas, and craft cocktails,” in addition to “breakfast, lunch and dinner options made in-house with fresh local ingredients.”
Owner and local restaurant veteran Nick Freshman tells ARLnow that interior construction stopped as the signs went up and he has no idea when the restaurant will open.
“We’re just trying to lay low and allow this thing to pass, then be one of the first ones to open,” he said. “We’ll meet the community on the other side of this.”
Freshman said that delays that set back the planned Valentine’s Day opening of the restaurant by a few months may end up saving it.
“We’re very fortunate we’re not open,” he said. “The effects of this are going to be devastation. A lot of businesses that people know and love will not return. Businesses that make up the fabric of the community, that people rely on, will close.”
Freshman declined to say how many restaurants he thinks will close permanently, but said others in the industry he’s talked to are predicting anywhere from 10% to 75%.
“It’s real and painful,” he said. “It breaks my heart.”
On the plus side, at least two long-time Crystal City restaurants are planning to reopen when the time comes. Billy Bayne, co-owner of Crystal City Sports Pub and owner of the Crystal City Restaurant gentleman’s club, says both of the 23rd Street S. establishments will be back open.
The Sports Pub, like many local restaurants, has pivoted to offering curbside pickup and delivery, but ultimately it’s game day crowds sipping beers and munching on nachos that pays the bills.
“The restaurant business is a tough business to begin with — this will be devastating,” he said. “Ultimately, the strong will survive. The Sports Pub and Crystal City Restaurant will survive.”
Bayne predicts that 30-40% of all restaurants will close as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.
More Coronavirus-Related Dispatches — ARLnow is starting to hear the Arlington County Fire Department responding to more suspected COVID-19 cases. Medics were just dispatched to assist a 44-year-old woman with severe trouble breathing and other symptoms consistent with the disease.
May Could Be Worse Than April — “It could still be weeks before the worst of the coronavirus crisis hits Virginia. State officials are preparing for a surge in the number of people who test positive between late April and late May, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that analysis of the latest models shows. Northam told residents he was planning for the worst and hoping for the best.” [NBC 4]
Prosecutors Have Video Evidence in Store Shooting — “The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office showed the judge security video from the Shirlington Road business, which prosecutors said captures Abushariah shooting one of the burglars ‘point-blank in the back…’ The prosecutor called the case a ‘callous disregard for human life’ because Abushariah had other options, such as hiding in the backroom and calling the police. Or running to safety out the back door.” [WJLA]
Arlington Resident’s YOLO Money Diary — “We then took some mushrooms around 12 PM and went on a long, trippy, and fun-filled walk through Rosslyn. We stopped at Northside Social for some pastries and a Bitburger beer while on our walk–more illegal public drinking, but we kind of just don’t care anymore.” [Washingtonian]
Two Green Pig Employees Test Positive — “We regret to inform you that two of our employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Both… had been working with customers assisting with order-pickups. Neither were working in the kitchen or with food prep.” [Instagram]
Bakeshop Now Mailing Some Items — Bakeshop in Clarendon is now taking orders of cookies, cream pies, bars and bread slices online. Orders are shipped on Mondays to ensure freshness. [Bakeshop]
Marymount Prof is 3D Printing Face Shields — “Marymount University professor Dr. Eric Bubar is getting in on the action, with hopes of utilizing his unique skills to make a difference. A longtime provider of 3D printed upper-limb assistive devices, he is now shifting his focus to creating 3D printed, reusable face shields for use at hospitals in Washington, D.C., New York and beyond.” [Press Release]
APS to Distribute Week of Meals to Families in Need — “On Fri, April 3, APS will provide a week’s worth of meals to families who come to one of the five grab-and-go meal distribution sites to ensure students have food during spring break. There will be no APS meal service provided April 6-10… Meal services will resume on Mon, April 13, with an expanded list of sites to include Key and Hoffman-Boston elementary schools. Additionally, the USDA has provided a waiver to the rule that children must be present to receive meals.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Today we’re recognizing our sponsor Classic Cottages. The company, which focuses on Northern Virginia, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in June.
Ask a real estate agent to compare and contrast local homebuilders, and they’ll probably tell you that Classic Cottages stands out for its commitment to quality. And that commitment has paid off: you don’t have to go too far in Arlington to encounter a home built by Classic Cottages.
“Classic Cottages is passionate about building high quality homes that meet modern lifestyle needs,” the company says on its website. “Our fully integrated in-house team of architects, designers, sales, marketing, and construction professionals consistently reinvent our beautiful models to adapt to industry trends and meet market demand. When you build with Classic Cottages, you can be confident you will receive a quality home that will last for generations. Build well. Live well.”
If you’re considering buying a new home, or just want to take a gander at some HGTV-worthy interiors, you can see some of Classic Cottages’ recently-completed homes, home models and photo galleries on its website.
Editor’s note: In lieu of Chris Slatt’s Modern Mobility column today, ARLnow is running an edited version of a press release issued today by the small, Arlington-based business he and his wife run.
Perfect Pointe Music & Dance Studios, with locations in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center in North Arlington and the Saratoga Shopping Center in Springfield/Fort Belvoir has acted quickly to respond to the needs of its community amidst COVID-19 closures and concerns, moving all of its over 250 weekly classes, lessons and rehearsals to an online platform, plus offering bonus content to keep students and families active and engaged while social distancing, and offering full scholarships to those whose finances have been adversely affected by the crisis.
“Now more than ever, we know how important it is for us to offer our community the connections and positivity our studio is known for,” says founder and CEO, Kendra Slatt. “We all need some sense of normalcy and routine. The last thing we all want is for our children to play video games and watch YouTube all day, or to become depressed because of lack of social interactions, lack of goals, or lack of positive activities to look forward to. We need them to be active, use their mind and still interact socially with their peers. This is exactly what our online platform is providing during the closure of our physical location, and no students will be turned away due to inability to pay.”
- The online platform uses private Zoom links to facilitate live classes with teachers and students on their normal weekly schedule.
- In addition to weekly classes, students are encouraged to take advantage of bonus content, tailored to their specific age and level including coloring and activity sheets, dance history and nutrition lessons, recommended playlists, extra practice videos, and much more.
- Community building activities and events like virtual dance parties, story times, social media challenges, photo sharing, parent meet-ups and more keep community relationships strong and morale up while maintaining safe social distancing
- “THANK YOU Mr. Philip and all of our amazing dance teachers at Perfect Pointe Dance Studio, Arlington, VA for bringing rays of sunshine and at least part of our ‘normal’ routine into our living room during this unprecedented time of physical distancing! Your enthusiasm is infectious and the Zoom sessions are producing a lot of laughter along with the conditioning. So grateful for all of you! #LiveLoveDance #PerfectPointePride”
- “You all are great! I really appreciate you working hard to keep the students moving. Katy is enjoying tuning in to her classes. Great job on pulling this all together.”
- “I just want to thank you (and Mr. Chris) for so quickly switching classes to Zoom. And all the teachers for using it so well. It is amazing!!!! It has made this crazy (and scary) time so much better. Both kids love being able to take their classes. So it’s trifold — exercise, regular routine and social. Such a wonderful way to stay connected to our dance family. I can’t say enough positive things. Thank you!!!”
Perfect Pointe Dance Studio was founded in Arlington in 2007 and expanded to Springfield, adding music to its offerings in 2016. Throughout that time, they have become known as a leader in high-quality arts education with a strong focus on community and customer service, as well as health and positivity for their students, families and staff.
Update on 4/2/20 — The repairs were completed and the roadway is back open.
Update at 4:50 p.m. — Walter Reed Drive is now closed in both directions while crews work to stop the leak and repair the line.
Earlier: The southbound lanes of Walter Reed Drive are blocked due to a significant outdoor gas leak south of Columbia Pike.
The leak was reported shortly before 2:30 p.m., near the intersection of Walter Reed and 11th Street S. Arlington police and firefighters are on the scene.
Initial reports suggest a gas line larger than 2 inches was struck by a construction crew, prompting the closure and extra precautions. First responders are now checking natural gas levels on the ground floor of the adjacent apartment building while awaiting the arrival of Washington Gas.
INCIDENT: BROKEN GAS LINE
LOCATION: COLUMBIA PIKE AND WALTER REED
IMPACT: SOUTHBOUND WALTER REED FROM COLUMBIA PIKE TO 11TH ST SOUTH IS CURRENTLY SHUT DOWN DUE TO A BROKEN GAS LINE, WASHINGTON GAS HAS BEEN NOTIFIED, UNK ETA FOR CLOSURE pic.twitter.com/WtWtRjv92r
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) April 1, 2020
Arlington’s newest Pet of the Week is Steven, an igneous rock that was rescued from a gravel mine.
Here is what Steven’s owner had to say on his behalf:
Hello! My name is Steven and I’m an igneous rock (part quartz and feldspar) rescued from a high-crush gravel mine! I’m a sprightly 570 million years old. While the first couple hundred million years of my life have been pretty rough and tumble, I’m living in Arlington now and taking nothing for granite! My favorite activities include sunbathing, skipping on smooth bodies of water, and holding down papers for my mom. I’m not that good at fetch, but I love being held in a warm, comfortable hand or occasional pocket. I’m learning a few new tricks but so far all I’ve mastered is “sit” and “stay.” I love music (rock, of course) and have been told I’m a great listener!
Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!
Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of eight consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.
Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.
That’s the message from a new music video uploaded to YouTube last night, featuring teachers dancing in their homes and yards to a cover of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”
“Check out this amazing video that our music teacher put together to bring some smiles to our students and their families,” Marissa Mulholland, a special education teacher at the school, told ARLnow. “It was so fun to be a part of this video… almost like music therapy for us teachers!”
Top local officials have been pushing for more Census participation, to help Arlington achieve greater congressional representation and receive more federal aid.
“As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, America gets just one chance each decade to count its population,” the county noted. “The collected data help to determine things like the number of seats Virginia has in the House of Representatives, and how to distribute federal funds to local communities like ours.”
More on Census Day from a county press release:
April 1 is Census Day! It is vital for all Arlingtonians to respond to the 2020 Census as the data are used for planning and providing community services, including planning for emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly half of Arlington’s residents have already been counted in the 2020 Census. We’re aiming for 100% and we need your help!
Join us for a Census 2020 Twitter Town Hall: #ArlingtonCounts: Take a Break, Take the Census
- On April 1 from 12:30-1 p.m., join us on the @ArlingtonVA Twitter page and use the #ArlingtonCounts hashtag.
- Interact with local leaders like County Manager Mark Schwartz and County Board Chair Libby Garvey as they take the census, nominate others to do so, and share information about why it’s important.
- Share your own stories, pictures, or videos showing how you’ve been helping amplify the census and/or why it’s important to take the census. Then nominate three other Arlington Individuals, organizations or businesses to do the same.
- Fill out your census today at my2020census.gov