Press Club

Morning Notes

Big Ballston Restaurant Opening Today — WHINO, a 150-seat restaurant, craft cocktail bar and art gallery, is set to open its doors at Ballston Quarter today. [ARLnow]

County Considering Green Valley Curfew — “No arrests yet, but Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz says police are making progress after a June 6 shoot-’em-up in the Green Valley neighborhood… The matter became the topic of discussion at the June 12 County Board meeting, when one neighbor called on county leaders to impose a curfew at dusk for the park and school area. County Board member Katie Cristol has asked staff to return with an opinion on whether such an approach would be legal.” [Sun Gazette]

Police Planning for ‘National Night Out’ — “The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) invites community members and organizations to celebrate outdoor National Night Out (NNO) events on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. NNO is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our communities safer and improve quality of life.” [Arlington County]

APS Animal-Science Program Dwindling — “I am an 11th-grader at Washington-Liberty High School and a technical-animal-science student at the Arlington Career Center. The animal-science program is at risk. The number of animals in the program has been dwindling for years. The program has not been permitted to replace the recently deceased miniature horse. Only one goat is left, and he’s 17. The sole surviving ferret, at nine, is living on borrowed time. However, the administration wants to cut our programs even more, taking away our only goat and our four chickens.” [Sun Gazette]

W-L Student’s Vax Effort Lauded — “Before graduation, McBride spent countless hours convincing her classmates to get vaccinated against COVID-19. ‘I was making sure if vaccines were available for some of my friends, they were going to be able to get it and access it,’ she said. ‘I was very compelled by the thought that I want to be able to see my friends in the future, I want to make sure my friends are healthy, and the community is healthy, and their family is healthy in the future.'” [WJLA]

Man Arrested for Columbia Pike Robbery — “The female victim was walking to her parked vehicle when she observed the suspect sitting near by. As she approached the vehicle, the suspect allegedly ran towards her with his arms outstretched and demanded money. The victim backed away and the suspect ran across the street and approached another victim in a similar manner. Arriving officers canvassed the area and located the suspect.” [ACPD]

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(Updated at 10:25 p.m.) Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew in Arlington and Alexandria.

The governor says that there will be “limited exceptions” to the curfew. He has also declared a State of Emergency. The curfew matches that declared by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser amid chaos at the U.S. Capitol.

In a statement, Arlington County reiterated that during the curfew “it is illegal for any person to be present in any street, park, or other public place, unless an exception applies.” Those exceptions include “persons traveling to and from home, work, or places of worship; government, emergency services, and hospital personnel; members of the news media; and persons seeking emergency services. “

“Violation of the curfew order is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both,” the statement said.

All was quiet in portions of Arlington’s Metro corridors seen by ARLnow reporters after 6 p.m. In Rosslyn, a group of men gathered at the Marine Corps War Memorial dispersed as night fell. No crowds could be seen in Ballston, Crystal City and Pentagon City, though a few individuals were walking around, perhaps unaware of the curfew that had gone into effect less than an hour prior.

A few pro-Trump supporters, sporting MAGA hats, were seen on the street clutching bags of take-out in Crystal City.

The curfew has prompted some businesses to close early. Among them is District Taco, which is closing its Arlington and Alexandria at 8 p.m. A Safeway spokesperson retracted an earlier statement that Arlington stores were closing early.

Several Arlington County offices will be closed on Thursday, the county announced Wednesday night.

“In the interest of public safety and to allow law enforcement officers to continue a visible presence in the community, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church Circuit Court, General District Court, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court will be closed on Thursday, January 7, 2021,” the county said.

More police and fire department resources, meanwhile, have been heading from Arlington into D.C., including several Arlington medic units and a convoy of Virginia State Police cruisers.

Earlier, the County Board convened a closed meeting at 4:45 p.m. today (Wednesday) to discuss “the events that have occurred” in D.C.

The meeting was closed so that the Board can consult “with the County Attorney concerning authority of the County Board to protect public safety by restricting the assembly of persons and movement of people, and discussions to protect public safety as it relates to potential terrorist activity,” said newly-elected Chair Matt de Ferranti.

Also on the video conference were Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz, Alexandria City Manager Mark Jinks, and Arlington-Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti.

“Folks, please stay safe,” de Ferranti said at the conclusion of the closed meeting. “We anticipate that within the coming minutes to the next half hour, we will be coming forth with a County statement with respect to this evening. So, stay home, stay safe, take care of yourselves and take care of each other.”

After the curfew was issued, Dehghani-Tafti issued a statement via social media.

“Our overarching goal is to keep the community safe,” she wrote. “And, while we respect the right to peacefully assemble and protest, Arlington will not tolerate violence or disorder in our community. These are difficult and stressful times, in which we all need to play our part in maintaining calm. We have much work to do when we get through this, and we have the fortitude to do it.”

Jo DeVoe, Jay Westcott and Matt Blitz contributed to this report.

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(Updated at 8:50 p.m.) Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a new round of coronavirus-related restrictions this afternoon.

The changes, which are to take effect early Monday morning, include tightening the limit on social gatherings from 25 to 10 people, and a “modified stay at home order” between midnight and 5 a.m. daily.

The new restrictions come with some exceptions.

The social gathering rule does not apply to “religious services, employment settings, or educational settings.” The midnight curfew doesn’t apply to those “obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.”

Another change: a tightening of the state mask mandate, for those five and over. It will now apply “in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person.”

Despite the new restrictions, Northam said restaurants will be able to stay open with existing rules in place, including no on-site alcohol sales after 10 p.m.

During his Thursday afternoon press conference, Northam said coming COVID vaccines are cause for optimism, but with nearly 4,000 new cases and dozens of deaths per day in the Commonwealth, “hard realities” necessitate tighter restrictions.

Intensive Care Unit hospitalizations have been rising, Northam said, and nurses and doctors are becoming exhausted. Here in Arlington, the rate of new cases hit a new high on Monday.

“If you don’t have to go out, stay at home,” the governor said. “This is just plain common sense.”

The new rules will go into effect until Jan. 31, but may be extended beyond that.

Northam also took a dig at President Trump near the end of the press conference, saying that the president had “checked out” on the pandemic and “it’s time for real leadership.”

The full press release from the governor’s office is below.

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