Arlington, VA

By: Signature Theatre

March 23, 2020

In response to guidance from the CDC and state and local authorities, Signature Theatre has made the decision to close its doors to the public through the beginning of June.

“We are grateful to everyone for working with us to minimize the financial impact on the Theatre, our artists and our staff,” said Signature Theatre’s Managing Director Maggie Boland. “This is a rapidly evolving situation and Signature will update our plans as necessary. We will continue to follow the guidance of local and state authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“We look forward to producing again at the appropriate time and I know that Signature will be stronger than ever,” said Signature Theatre’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. “We have survived a lot over the past 30 years and look forward to opening our doors to everyone in the near future as we navigate these uncharted territories.”

Patrons who hold tickets for cancelled performances of Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes will be able to experience this sold out production in an innovative way with streaming video. In the coming week, Signature Theatre will release a high-quality video of the production that was filmed at the final performance.

The remainder of the 2019/20 Season is impacted as follows:

Camille Claudel will be moved to the 2020/21 Season. Dates will be announced later this spring/summer.

Nijinsky’s Last Dance will be postponed to this summer. Dates will be announced at a later time.

Hair will be postponed to this summer. Dates will be announced at a later time.

Not A Day Goes By: Signature Turns 30 cabaret originally scheduled in June/July 2020 has been cancelled due to the other changes in the schedule.

Several other public events and education programs have been postponed or cancelled. For more full details about the closure, including options for current ticket holders please visit SigTheatre.org/COVID19

Due to cancelled and postponed programming, ticket sales have been impacted, and a gift of any size will help Signature Theatre pay its dedicated staff as they work throughout the closing. To make a donation contact us at 571 527 1828 or [email protected] or donate online at SigTheatre.org/Support

By: Marymount University

March 20, 2020

This Wednesday, Marymount University announced to students, faculty and staff that the online-only class period that started this week will be extended through the end of the spring semester, including final exams.

It was also decided that the traditional commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 2020 would be canceled in order to best protect the health and safety of the greater Marymount community, as cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) increase throughout the region. However, the University is reaching out to graduating students to receive their input on how they would like to celebrate this milestone and their achievements at Marymount, whether through a postponed commencement to be held at a later date or a virtual commencement ceremony. More details on an alternative commencement option will be forthcoming.

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Marymount community. Nevertheless, the University is taking proactive steps to limit any potential spread of the virus in the future. This includes recommending that students who are residing on main campus move out by March 29 and return to their homes. Those who are unable to leave may still remain in student housing. The University is also exploring options for providing prorated credits/refunds, with further details on this process to be provided at a later date.

As for Marymount Athletics, the difficult decision was made to cancel the remainder of the spring season and all recreational activities. This is in line with the NCAA’s cancellation of all remaining winter and spring championship tournaments. Marymount’s athletic conference, the Atlantic East, has also canceled the remaining spring season for all of its teams as well.

By: U.S. Dept. of Justice

March 20, 2020

In response to the increased threat of fraud presented by the coronavirus, federal and Virginia state law enforcement leaders announced today the formation of the Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force.

The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force is a joint federal and state partnership that will be led by Assistant United States Attorneys from both the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, in partnership with experienced fraud investigators from the FBI and the Virginia State Police. The mission of the task force is to identify, investigate, and prosecute fraud related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Virginia.

“Exploiting a global pandemic for financial gain is not only morally reprehensible, it is likely criminal,” said Thomas T. Cullen, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. “Federal prosecutors in Virginia are working closely with the FBI and the Virginia State Police to identify individuals who are engaging in coronavirus fraud, in its various forms, and preying on vulnerable populations. We are focused on the fraud, not the amount of the loss, and will utilize all available tools and statutes to put bad actors in federal prison.”

“Fraudsters are already attempting to use the coronavirus pandemic to scam vulnerable victims,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency here in Virginia and around the world. Under Attorney General Barr’s leadership, this partnership with U.S. Attorney Cullen and our federal and state law enforcement agencies will ensure we are doing everything we can to protect Virginians around the Commonwealth from falling victim to these scams. For anyone victimized by a COVID-19 scammer looking to profit off of this pandemic, our office remains steadfastly committed to pursuing justice on your behalf.”

“The FBI is fully committed to address criminal activity during this unprecedented time – especially cybercrime,” said David W. Archery, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “We encourage the American public to continue being vigilant, and take steps to protect themselves against those that may exploit the concerns surrounding COVID-19 as a means to steal your money. Consider these tips: Do not open attachments or click on links from senders you do not recognize; Verify the information being shared actually originates from a legitimate source; Do not share your logins, banking information or other personal information in response to an email; and only visit websites that you have manually typed their domains into your browser. If you believe you are a victim of an internet scam or want to report suspicious activity, visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.”

“The Virginia State Police remains committed to ensuring the Commonwealth and its citizens safely navigate these uncertain times,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This task force enables state police to more efficiently and effectively collaborate with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to best protect Virginians from predatory and, potentially criminal, practices.”

The task force will review and investigate all credible leads of fraud associated with the coronavirus pandemic, regardless of the loss amount, focusing on schemes to exploit vulnerable populations, including the elderly, and concerned citizens. Federal prosecutors from the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia will meet and confer with their agency counterparts from the FBI and Virginia State Police on a regular basis to prioritize cases and surge resources where needed.

In the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin G. Cooke will serve as the COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Baudinet will serve as the COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator for the Western District of Virginia.

Some examples of coronavirus and COVID-19 scams include:

  • Treatment scams: Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19.
  • Supply scams: Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.
  • Provider scams: Scammers are also contacting people by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.
  • Charity scams: Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
  • Phishing scams: Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
  • App scams: Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.
  • Investment scams: Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.
  • Price Gouging scams: Individuals and businesses may sell essential goods, like hand sanitizer, for significantly higher prices than in a non-emergency setting. It is legally considered price gouging when the price of one of these products increases more than 20 percent its price one week prior to an emergency declaration from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Timothy R. Slater, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Martin Culbreath, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Division, joined U.S. Attorneys Cullen and Terwilliger, Special Agent in Charge Archey, and Colonel Settle in making the announcement.

If you believe you have been victim of fraud, or need more information about COVID-19, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/covid-19-fraud

For more information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva

To report fraud directly to the FBI, please visit their website at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

By: Starry, Inc.

March 19, 2020

At Starry Internet, we have seen significant increases in usage and traffic on our network as our customers shift to working and learning from home in response to COVID-19. As social distancing practices become more fully implemented, broadband will be the essential bridge that keeps us all connected and productive. That’s why we joined the FCC’s pledge to “Keep Americans Connected.” This was an easy decision as we are already committed to best practices that keep our customers connected. We have never had data caps, late fees or additional fees. As part of the pledge, we will suspend cancellation of service due to nonpayment as it relates to COVID-19.

We are continuing our efforts to maintain and expand our network to connect as many Americans as we can to high-quality and affordable broadband. In addition, we are actively working to expand our Starry Connect program for residents of affordable and public housing to ensure communities with already low connectivity have reliable internet access. We are also providing our Starry Connect customers with free internet service until the end of May.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to set up a time to talk about Starry, our network or our current connectivity efforts.

By: 32BJ SEIU

March 18, 2020

The following statement is attributable to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Montgomery County Executive Mark Elrich, Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol, and Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott:

“32BJ members are the office cleaners and security officers, among others who are on the frontlines of the Coronavirus crisis, keeping buildings clean and safe for everyone. The work they do every day is invaluable and now more than ever, their hard work can literally save lives. These men and women are the unsung heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic and they can least afford to lose wages and benefits during this crisis.

At the same time that cleaners and security officers have stepped forward to do their jobs during this outbreak, they are now being threatened with layoffs and reductions. The metropolitan Washington area has the healthiest real estate market in the country and tenants continue to pay the highest rents in the country. During this temporary change, where tenants continue to pay rent, the owners and their contractors have a responsibility to their cleaners and officers. These men and women have performed their jobs admirably under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency for these workers to maintain health care that enables them to see a doctor, a crucial public health necessity that prevents the spread of any illness. Building owners can and must ensure the well-being and health of workers and their families.”

32BJ SEIU Vice President Jaime Contreras added: “Building owners, who are trying to profit on the backs of workers already living paycheck during this time of crisis, is shameful and immoral.”

The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued an order declaring a judicial emergency and suspending all non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings for the next 21 days, including new eviction cases, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“It would be an absolute outrage for Virginians to be evicted from their homes during this emergency, especially as we are asking them to practice social distancing and stay home to prevent further spread of COVID-19,” said Attorney General Herring. “This temporary eviction suspension is particularly important for hourly wage earners who are more likely to lose income and not be able to pay their rent because of business closures. I want to thank the Supreme Court of Virginia for making this important decision to protect Virginians during these unprecedented times.”

Additionally, following Attorney General Herring’s request, the State Corporation Commission ordered a halt on disconnections by regulated utilities for 60 days during the state of emergency. Last Friday, Attorney General Herring filed an emergency petition requesting a freeze on disconnections.

By: Marymount University

March 17, 2020

In order to continue ensuring the health and safety of the campus community, Marymount University will extend its online-only class period to Tuesday, April 14 (previously March 30), as the greater Washington region sees increased cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).

As the situation connected to the spread of the virus evolves, there is the possibility that the online-only period will be extended again if necessary. Marymount’s Spring Break, which was extended by two days, will conclude with the beginning of online-only classes this Wednesday.

There have still been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Marymount community. The campus has undergone deep cleaning and disinfection during Spring Break, and continues to remain open and operational. Students have been encouraged to stay off campus if possible, but are able to stay in residence halls if they cannot return home.

Please see the University’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources webpage for full updates and information on Marymount’s response to this fluid and quickly changing situation.

On Monday, March 16, 2020, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, issued a video message to the faithful in the Diocese in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). In the video, Bishop Burbidge announced that the public celebration of all Masses in the Diocese is suspended until further notice. Please click here for the video. The text of this message is below.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Please know I am aware of how the spread and growing concerns of the coronavirus are impacting all of you. Many are teleworking, schools are canceled, travel is restricted, and we have taken extraordinary precautions in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus within our parishes, schools, ministries and charities.

During this time, I have been praying for each of you every day. I ask that you also keep in prayer those most impacted by the coronavirus: first and foremost, those who have died and their families, those diagnosed with the virus, those with loved ones suffering from the virus, and those who are enduring tremendous financial hardship as a result of the changes within our society. I also want to extend my appreciation and pastoral support to caregivers and those in the medical profession working to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As a many of you are aware, we have been communicating with the faithful and the public almost every day about updates and the latest news related to our response to the coronavirus. We have posted statements on our website, and used social media, podcasts, emails, and other tools to bring you the latest information we have.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force recommends limiting gatherings to 10 people or less. This recommendation is consistent with CDC guidelines for events that serve “high risk” populations. That would certainly include public Masses.

Therefore, it is with great sadness that I announce that as of today, I am suspending the public celebration of all Masses in the Diocese of Arlington until further notice.

Suspending Masses may safeguard our physical health, but I understand that our spiritual health must also be maintained to the best of our ability. For that reason I have asked our pastors to keep our churches open to the public, so that those who choose to pray, are welcome to do so in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, while keeping a safe distance from one another and not exceeding the 10-person limit.

I encourage you to go to ArlingtonDiocese.org for the latest changes and updates related to our parishes, schools, ministries and charities. If you sign-up for our e-newsletter, you can get those updates sent to you directly. For updates unique to your parish, please visit your parish’s website.

As some of you know, the Diocese co-sponsors a televised Sunday Mass with the Archdiocese of Washington. It takes place at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, and is available at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays on two local TV stations as well as online. Go to ArlingtonDiocese.org/TVMass for more information or to view the Mass.

While this is clearly a confusing moment, we must remember Our Lord tells us: “Be not afraid!” We must remain rooted in, and unified by, prayer! We published a “Prayer to Jesus for Healing and Guidance” that is available on the diocesan website. I ask each of you to pray that prayer with your family each day during this situation. And know that your priests will do everything they can to provide for your spiritual needs.

Also consider how you can use your time. Many people at home have more free time than before; ensure you use this time productively. Find ways to spend time alone in prayer and silence with the Lord. Pray with your children. Teach them more about the Faith. Spend quality time as a family. Get some exercise. It is important that we not simply sit and worry. We must be active in keeping our bodies and our souls healthy until the coronavirus passes. And it will pass.

In the midst of this pandemic, God is with us! Draw near to him, the one who promises to deliver and to protect his people.

May our Lord Jesus bless you with his healing love, and keep you steadfast in faith and joyful in hope, now and always.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington

By: Arlington Thrive

March 11, 2020

Arlington Thrive is pleased to announce the largest private grant ever awarded in its history from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst). The $60,000 grant will be used to provide emergency funding for Arlington County residents in need of critical prescription medicines as well as dental and medical care.

Shandra Niswander, Arlington Thrive’s Director of Development explained, “It’s an honor to partner with CareFirst and address these critical emergency needs in our community during these uncertain times. This emergency medical assistance will ensure our most vulnerable neighbors can remain secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive.

The grant funding will enable Arlington Thrive to provide same-day emergency medical, dental, and prescription assistance to an additional 1,400 adults through its Daily Fund Program. Executive Director Andrew Schneider noted, “The Daily Fund Program was Arlington Thrive’s first program and continues to be its flagship program. The goal of this program is to prevent eviction, job loss due to untreated medical conditions, and other catastrophes by providing critical same-day emergency financial assistance to County residents who cannot pay for their basic needs.”

CareFirst is the region’s largest not-for-profit healthcare company and provided funding to 341 nonprofit organizations in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia communities totaling $43 million dollars in 2019. CareFirst’s community giving strategy funds innovative programs working to improve health care delivery systems, promote change on broad health initiatives, address health care disparities that target high-risk populations, and improve the overall, long-term health in these communities. In 2019, key areas of focus and funding for CareFirst were maternal and child health, safety net health services, and behavioral health care needs. “As a not-for-profit company, CareFirst is dedicated to improving access to healthcare for individuals and families throughout our service areas, including those who live, work, play and seek care in Northern Virginia, Jeanine Finch, Community Affairs Liaison for Northern Virginia at CareFirst noted, “We are proud to support Arlington Thrive and help remove some of the financial barriers to care for Arlington residents so that they can continue to thrive in their jobs, health and homes.”

Arlington Thrive delivers same-day emergency funds to our neighbors in crisis, so they can be secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive in a caring community. Our vision is an Arlington community where all have homes, are financially stable, and thrive. Last year, Thrive provided $765,400 in emergency financial assistance across all of our programs and helped 1,419 households (including 2,383 adults and children) stay safe and secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive. Thrive prevented the eviction of 490 Arlington households and kept 219 households from enduring utility disconnection. To learn more, visit www.arlingtonthrive.org

By: Catholic Diocese of Arlington

March 11, 2020

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington (CDA) announced additional precautions it is taking with regard to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in response to active cases present in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia.

The CDA has been in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is actively coordinating with county public health departments to ensure that all diocesan parishes, schools, ministries, and charities are responding appropriately to the spread of the coronavirus.

See below for information related to CDA parishes, schools, charities and additional overall precautions.

Parishes:

Along with our previous recommendations to help prevent further transmissions, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, directs all parishes, and high school and campus ministries to take the following measures:

  • Suspend the use of a common chalice during Holy Communion
  • Omit or suspend the Sign of Peace
  • Empty Holy Water fonts
  • All liturgical vessels should be cleaned with soap and water after each Mass, including any pyx that will be taken to a nursing home, hospital, the homebound, etc.
  • Surfaces in our churches, offices, and other facilities are to be cleaned as frequently as possible

(Public health experts assisting the Diocese have advised that receiving Communion on the tongue does not pose a greater risk of spreading illness than receiving Communion on the hand. As such, this matter is left to the discretion of the pastor.)

Pastors have also been instructed to encourage parishioners who are showing common symptoms of illness (fever, cough, body aches) to avoid coming to Mass or any parish activity until 24 hours after symptoms abate.

Until further notice, Bishop Burbidge has granted dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation for those segments of the community who are most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus (those 60 years old or older, those with chronic illness, and those with immune system deficiencies), as well as those who provide for the care of a person with such a condition. Those who are exempted should check with their parish or the diocesan website regularly for updates.

Note: Those who refrain from attending Mass due to illness should, if possible, devote time to prayer, observe Mass on television or the internet, and/or pray a Rosary. While nothing can replace attending and participating in Sunday Mass or receiving Holy Communion, those who refrain from Sunday Mass due to illness have not committed a mortal sin. When sick, observing the Sabbath with another holy devotion and prayer demonstrates good will and sincerity.

Diocesan Catholic Schools:

Diocesan Catholic schools have been instructed to cancel all school-sponsored international travel through June 30, 2020, and all domestic overnight travel from March 11 through May 1, 2020, will be canceled. Day trips will proceed as scheduled, except for trips to New York state.

Catholic Charities:

Catholic Charities is actively coordinating with each of its 20 programs and 16 stand-alone locations to ensure that critical services to the poor and vulnerable are delivered consistent with guidelines and best practices prescribed by the CDC relating to the coronavirus.

Preventative Measures:

All expert opinion highlights the critical need to wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible; and covering your mouth with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing.

Diocese of Arlington leadership is coordinating actively with public health officials. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and will take additional measures as circumstances change.

March 10, 2020

Today, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, as well as Representatives Connolly, Scott, Wittman, Griffith, Beyer, McEachin, Cline, Riggleman, Wexton, Luria and Spanberger sent a letter to Secretary Chao in support of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s (DRPT) application for an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for the Long Bridge Project.

“Long Bridge, the most heavily traveled railroad bridge connecting Washington, D.C. to Virginia and other southern states, is one of the most significant chokepoints for the East Coast’s rail transportation system,” the members wrote.  “The Long Bridge Project would double the capacity of the Potomac River rail crossing by adding a second two-track bridge adjacent to the existing bridge.”

“Building a new Long Bridge, which will double rail capacity at the major rail bottleneck on CSX’s main route from the Port of Virginia to the Midwest and the northeast, is imperative to the Port’s and Virginia’s economic growth strategies. As such, it is a leading infrastructure priority for the Commonwealth,” the members added. “Please accept this letter of recommendation for this vital project, which aligns with and helps maximize Virginia’s ongoing investments in freight and passenger rail operations.”

The full text of the letter can be found… below.

Dear Secretary Chao,

This letter is to express our support for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s (DRPT) application for an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for the Long Bridge Project.

Long Bridge, the most heavily traveled railroad bridge connecting Washington, D.C. to Virginia and other southern states, is one of the most significant chokepoints for the East Coast’s rail transportation system. The bridge connects the northeast and southeast freight rail networks and extends the spine of the nation’s intercity passenger rail system from the Northeast Corridor to the Southeast. The existing bridge, which is at 98 percent capacity during peak hours, is used by CSX freight trains, Amtrak long distance and state-supported trains, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter trains. The Long Bridge Project would double the capacity of the Potomac River rail crossing by adding a second two-track bridge adjacent to the existing bridge.

This project, which supports projected increases in freight and passenger rail traffic along this corridor, is crucial to continued economic growth and enhanced mobility in Virginia.  It will also increase the capacity of the rail network for the Port of Virginia, where 37 percent of goods move in and out by rail. The Port of Virginia will need to increase this share to 45 percent by 2040 to handle a threefold increase in shipments. Building a new Long Bridge, which will double rail capacity at the major rail bottleneck on CSX’s main route from the Port of Virginia to the Midwest and the northeast, is imperative to the Port’s and Virginia’s economic growth strategies. As such, it is a leading infrastructure priority for the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is committed to expanding service and increasing the reliability of its rail lines, as evidenced by the recent landmark rail agreement between the Commonwealth and CSX. The agreement includes Virginia’s acquisition of more than 350 miles of railroad right-of-way and 225 miles of track, construction of 37 miles of new track improvements, and increased passenger and commuter rail service. The agreement also provides a pathway to the separation of passenger and freight operations along the corridor, which will improve safety, service, and reliability and support regional growth. The Long Bridge Project is an important part of this agreement and is vital to transforming rail operations in the region.

Please accept this letter of recommendation for this vital project, which aligns with and helps maximize Virginia’s ongoing investments in freight and passenger rail operations. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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