Alexandria, VA

Del Ray eatery South China Restaurant (1302 Mount Vernon Ave) is now reopened for takeout and delivery.

Staff at the restaurant confirmed that the location reopened yesterday, Memorial Day, with a new menu available online.

The restaurant offers a variety of Chinese and Malaysian meals at relatively cheap prices, generally between $6-$10.

South China Restaurant is open from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Dine-in meals and pickup meals are available around an expected 15 minutes, with deliveries within 50 minutes.

While South China Restaurant has reopened, other restaurants in the area have not been so lucky. Last week, La Tasca (607 King Street) permanently closed, along with the locations in Arlington and D.C.

Other local restaurants, like Vola’s Dockside Grill and Virtue Feed and Grain have reopened over the last few weeks, with more likely to start opening as phased reopening starts on Friday.

Top photo via Google Maps

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Northern Virginia will join the rest of the state in reopening its economy on Friday, and that same day all Virginians will have to wear face masks in public, Governor Ralph Northam announced today.

“Everyone will need to wear a face cover when you’re inside at a public place starting this Friday,” Northam said at his weekly coronavirus press conference. “That’s at a store, a barber shop, a restaurant, on public transportation, at a government building or anywhere where people can congregate in groups.”

Northam said there will be exceptions for wearing masks, including eating or drinking at a restaurant, exercising, have a pre-existing condition, or for children under the age of 10. The order will be enforced by the Virginia Department of Health, and not any law enforcement entity, although Northam said he will discuss with the General Assembly this summer a potential civil fine for violators.

“I’m not looking for people to get in trouble by not wearing a mask, but I am looking for people to please do the right thing,” Northam said, and apologized for not wearing a mask this weekend in Virginia Beach. “I’m asking people to respect one another.”

Northam delayed the first phased opening of Northern Virginia’s economy from May 15 (when the rest of the state reopened) until May 29 after receiving a letter from regional leaders, including Mayor Justin Wilson. On Sunday, Wilson signed another letter with his regional counterparts stating that Northern Virginia has met four out of the six criteria necessary to move into phase 1 on May 29.

“The City has been planning for a transition to Phase 1 for several weeks now,” Wilson told ALXnow. “We will work with our businesses and residents to ensure that Phase 1 is a success and further loosening of the public health restrictions will be possible in the near future.”

As for the face masks, Wilson said that the city encourages residents to wear masks in all situations where social distancing is not possible, as a way to prevent community spread and protect our essential workers.

Under Phase 1, restaurants will be allowed to seat 50% of their outdoor capacity while remaining closed inside. Gatherings of 10 or more people would be prohibited, and churches and retail stores are allowed to open at 50% capacity and hair salons will be open by appointment only.

“I want to emphasize that while Phase 1 loosened some restrictions, it does not require any business, or place of worship to open until they are comfortable that they can do so safely,” Northam said. “Just because you can open doesn’t mean that you have to open.”

Some local civic and business leaders encouraged Alexandrians to comply with the new rules. Bill Blackburn is the co-founder of the Homegrown Restaurant Group, which includes Holy Cow Del Ray, Pork Barrel BBQ, The Sushi Bar, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco and Whiskey & Oyster.

“We strongly encourage our customers to wear masks, and it is required of our staff to do so,” Blackburn said. “If a customer arrives with no mask, it is more of a risk for us to argue with them about wearing a mask, refund their money and throw away their food, than it would be to put the bag on a table and let them leave… We want our customers to wear masks, period.”

Wayne Hulehan is the administrator of the Beverley Hills Listserv, and said the face mask mandate was a prudent decision.

“We are in a pandemic and face masks help to avoid the spread and flatten the curve,” Hulehan said.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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For Alexandria City Public Schools students this year, summer school is not exactly optional.

ACPS announced last week that students will be expected to participate in a summer learning program to compensate for time lost in classrooms in the latter half of the 2019-2020 academic year. Parents who do not want their children to participate will be required to submit a form explaining why they want to opt-out of the summer program.

“Academic loss during COVID-19 is real,” the school division said in its website. “This year, it has the potential to be combined with summer learning loss. It is important that we as a school division do everything within our power to ensure students’ learning needs are being met, especially during these unprecedented times. Therefore, to minimize summer learning loss, we are offering summer learning and enrichment for all students.”

All students are expected to participate and most classes, except a handful of programs at T.C. Williams High School, will be free.

The summer school will take place from July 6-31, with classes Monday-Thursday. Pre-K through eighth-grade classes will be held from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. while high school classes will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Individual summer program guidelines are available for:

According to the website:

The goal of summer learning is to engage, enrich, and prepare students for the anticipation of September 2020 and is based on the following principles:

  • Engaging content paced to afford students the opportunity to self-monitor and receive feedback and coaching. Feedback and coaching are essential for student success in the virtual context.
  • Preparation for the next grade level for all rising sixth grade students and secondary students through boost/prep course.
  • Pre-K through fourth grade students will continue using learning kits and Chromebooks with an additional feature of virtual check-in or phone support for our pre-K through second grade students.
  • Feedback and grading are essential to Summer 2020. Students will receive feedback and coaching or grades for credit-bearing courses that will go on transcripts.

Photo via ACPS/Facebook

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Carrie Beyer and Jeff Flannery considered it their civic duty to get tested for COVID-19 on Memorial Day. Along with thousands of Alexandrians on Monday, the couple took their 18-year-old son to get tested at Cora Kelly School.

“We look at it as our civic duty,” Flannery told ALXnow. “I don’t think we would have come out at all unless Carrie convinced us, because we need to collect the statistics and get an accurate database of what’s going on in the city.”

The tests were conducted at Cora Kelly School and Landmark Mall — and both sites are located in the city’s most high-risk areas in the 22304 and 22305 ZIP codes, which include the West End and Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods. Today, the Virginia Department of Health announced there were three more COVID-19 deaths and 1,785 cases in the city, an increase of 31 cases since yesterday.

Last week, Governor Ralph Northam announced that the 3,000 tests would be administered in Alexandria on Memorial day, and that state’s most impacted areas will get additional testing throughout the remainder of the month. Northam delayed the first phased opening of Northern Virginia’s economy from May 15 to May 29 after receiving a letter from regional leaders, including Mayor Justin Wilson.

Wilson said that the free testing needs to continue.

“So far in the city, we’ve done just under 6,000 tests since March, and we’re doing about 50% of that one day, which is a significant expansion of our testing capacity,” Wilson told ALXnow. “I think the message that we’ve delivered to the Commonwealth is that this is great, this is wonderful, we need to keep it up.”

Wilson added, “I think we are achieving the 14 days of reducing positivity in the testing that’s occurring. We are experiencing reductions in the hospitalizations and new hospitalizations.”

On Sunday, Wilson signed another letter with his regional counterparts stating that the region has met four out of the six criteria necessary to move into phase 1 on May 29.

Alexandria Health Director Dr. Stephen Haering said that there is a widespread availability of tests in the city for symptomatic individuals. He also said that test statistics only reveal the tip of the iceberg as to the rate of infections in the city.

“What we do know is that of the results that we’ve had where there’s been ethnicity reported, that 47% of all the results in Alexandria have been among those who are Hispanic or Latinx residents,” Haering said. “We continue to have more transmission, and we will throughout every phase of reopening the economy. So, our message has been, even though there was going to be different phases of reopening at different times that we have to all remain vigilant with social distancing and meticulous hand washing.”

Sabine Meade, a sophomore at T.C. Williams High School, got the test with her mother and brother. She said that staying home has been frustrating since she’s sees friends and neighbors ignore safety guidelines.

“Our family has been really strict about social distancing,” she said. “It’s actually been really frustrating to see other people go and hang out with their friends and blow it off as nothing when we’re taking it seriously.”

Vehicle-side COVID-19 testing is available at Inova Primary Care – Old Town by appointment only, and the Alexandria Hospital is preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients. Neighborhood Health has also pledged to continue free testing in Arlandria.

A huge thanks to city staff, Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, Mako Medical staff, and Virginia Army National…

Posted by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

‪If you are planning to get tested for COVID-19 in Landmark drive-thru, please plan accordingly. It’s well organized. Great to see this many people interested in testing. ‬

Posted by Mo Seifeldein on Monday, May 25, 2020

Staff photos by James Cullum

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Alexandria Police are investigating a report of shots fired in a residential area in the city’s West End on the early morning Sunday, May 24.

Police announced the incident at 2:16 a.m. via Twitter, and arrived at the 100 block of Ellsworth Street to find a number of spent shell casings from a handgun, Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow.

Ballantine said that a number of vehicles were also hit by bullets and that no suspects have been arrested.

The incident occurred a block away from Bishop Ireton High School and within walking distance to the Alexandria Commons Shopping Center on Duke Street.

The most recent call for shots fired occurred on April 11 in the 1000 block of Madison Street in Old Town. Bullets struck a building, and the shooting occurred less than a mile from where a 17-year-old resident was shot on a basketball court on Thursday, April 2. No suspects have been arrested for any of the incidents.

There was also a report of shots fired in March near Taney Avenue Park, which also in the West End. Before that, police responded to two report of shots fired in January, in a S. Reynolds Street Parking Lot.

Map via Google Maps

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Three more Alexandrians have died of COVID-19, and there are now 1,785 cases in the city, an increase of 31 cases since yesterday, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Two Alexandria men and a woman are the latest victims, and one resident was in their 80s and two were in their 70s. The deaths are the most recent since the death of a male resident in his 80s was announced on Saturday.

It is not clear how many residents have recovered since the first case was announced on March 11, though Mayor Justin Wilson noted in a town hall last week that hospitalizations have been either level or trending downward.

There have been more than 900 new cases and more than a dozen coronavirus-related deaths in the city this month alone. A large percentage of deaths have occurred at long-term care facilities, and there has been one death of a person in their 20s. There are now 18 reported deaths of residents in their 80s and 14 deaths of residents in their 70s.

Hispanic residents make up 17% of the population and are leading with the highest number of cases in the city, with 831 reported cases, six deaths and 75 total hospitalizations.

There have been 6,305 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests administered in the Alexandria so far, and the city’s seven day average shows a 21.2% infection rate of those tested. There have also been 1,118 antibody tests in Alexandria.

Statewide, there have been 1,236 reported deaths (28 since yesterday), and 1,175 of those deaths are confirmed to have been COVID-19-related, according to VDH. There are now 39,342 cases (37,440 confirmed, 1,902 probable) and 4,325 hospitalizations (including 31 probable cases).

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Family Recovers From COVID-19 — “In early March, 18-year-old Ana Murphy came down with a sinus infection. But as her symptoms persisted, her parents, Gregg and Monica Murphy, both became ill. It was then that the family began to suspect that this was not a normal seasonal virus.” [Gazette]

Beyer Criticizes Maskless President Trump at Memorial Day Ceremony — “It’s true today and every day: the President should lead by example instead of ignoring health precautions designed to protect the public.” [Twitter]

Pork Barrel BBQ Drops Off 300 Meals at COVID-19 Testing Sites — “This afternoon we dropped off 300 meals at the Landmark & Cora Kelly COVID testing sites. One of our more memorable jobs that’s for sure. THANK YOU to all the emergency responders and volunteers administering tests today, we appreciate you!” [Facebook]

Inova COVID Hospital Fund Gets $100,000 Contribution — “Twig’s contribution to this fund helps Alexandria meet the escalating needs of COVID-19 patients by providing for additional staffing, personal protection equipment for our front line heroes, specialized equipment for the unique needs of COVID-19 patients, increased services for homebound families, and other resources to address the rapidly changing situation.” [Zebra]

Here’s How to Get Rental Assistance in Alexandria — “Applications received through Friday, May 29 will be reviewed as part of the first application cycle, with priority given to applicants in the Tier 1 income range. Applications received after May 29 will be reviewed on a rolling basis contingent on funding availability.” [Facebook]

Jason and Loren Yates Donate $12K in Face Masks to Local Groups — “The masks were sent to the volunteers in local service organizations including Senior Services of Alexandria delivering Meals on Wheels, ALIVE, Carpenter’s Shelter, Casa Chirilagua, and the Grace Episcopal Food Bank.” [Zebra]

New Job: Alexandria Health Department Communications Officer — “The Communications Officer reports directly to the Population Health Manager, is AHD’s principal communications subject matter expert, and provides oversight of AHD’s internal and external communications. They plan, design, implement, and evaluate AHD public relations, publications, and promotional health and service communications.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria now has 1,754 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 21 reported cases since yesterday, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The latest figures daily figures come as Alexandria’s two poorest communities get 3,000 free tests today at Cora Kelly School (3600 Commonwealth Avenue) and Landmark Mall (5801 Duke Street). The tests are available until 6 p.m. and no registration is needed, although residents who walk to Cora Kelly are asked to wear sunscreen as there might be a considerable wait. Walk up testing is not available at Landmark Mall.

There are no known new fatalities due the the virus, and the death county remains at 38. The latest victim in the city was an Alexandria male in his 80s, whose death was announced on Saturday.

It is not clear how many residents have recovered since the first case was announced on March 11.

Over the three day weekend, Alexandria has widened the pedestrian areas on lower King Street in Old Town so that residents and visitors will keep their distances during what is usually a busy period in the Port City.

There have been more than 900 new cases and more than a dozen coronavirus-related deaths in the city this month alone. A large percentage of deaths have occurred at long-term care facilities, and there has been one death of a person in their 20s. There are now 17 reported deaths of residents in their 80s.

Hispanic residents make up 17% of the population and are leading with the highest number of cases in the city, with 819 reported cases, six deaths and 75 total hospitalizations.

There have been 125 cases associated with 11 outbreaks in the city, and 108 of those cases have been health care workers. Nine of the outbreaks occurred at long-term care facilities, and 15 deaths have occurred at such facilities, although that number has not been updated since the city’s release on May 2. The other outbreaks occurred at a “congregate” setting and an educational setting.

There have been 6,166 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests administered in the Alexandria so far, and the city’s seven day average shows a 22.7% infection rate of those tested. There have also been 1,106 antibody tests in Alexandria.

Statewide, there have been 1,208 reported deaths (37 since yesterday), and 1,158 of those deaths are confirmed to have been COVID-19-related, according to VDH. There are now 37,727 cases (35,890 confirmed, 1,837 probable) and 4,269 hospitalizations (including 30 probable cases).

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There are now 1,733 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 30 reported cases since yesterday, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

There are no known new fatalities due the the virus, and the death count remains at 38. The latest victim in the city was an Alexandria male in his 80s, whose death was announced yesterday.

It is not clear how many residents have recovered since the first case was announced on March 11.

Meanwhile, Alexandria has widened the pedestrian areas on lower King Street in Old Town so that residents and visitors will keep their distances during what is usually a busy weekend in the Port City.

There have been more than 900 new cases and more than a dozen coronavirus-related deaths in the city this month alone. A large percentage of deaths have occurred at long-term care facilities, and there has been one death of a person in their 20s. There are now 17 reported deaths of residents in their 80s.

Hispanic residents make up 17% of the population and are leading with the highest number of cases in the city, with 812 reported cases, six deaths and 75 hospitalizations.

There have been 125 cases associated with 11 outbreaks in the city, and 108 of those cases have been health care workers. Nine of the outbreaks occurred at long-term care facilities, and 15 deaths have occurred at such facilities, although that number has not been updated since the city’s release on May 2. The other outbreaks occurred at a “congregate” setting and an educational setting.

There have been 5,949 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests administered in the city so far, and the city’s seven day average shows a 23.7% infection rate of those tested. There have also been 1,021 antibody tests in Alexandria.

On Monday, VDH will administer 3,000 free tests at Cora Kelly School (3600 Commonwealth Avenue) and at Landmark Mall (5801 Duke Street) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents are encouraged to wear face masks and walk-up participants should wear sunscreen.

Statewide, there have been 1,171 reported deaths (12 since yesterday), and 1,135 of those deaths are confirmed to have been COVID-19-related, according to VDH. There are now 36,244 cases (34,451 confirmed, 1,793 probable) and 4,214 hospitalizations (including 29 probable cases).

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An Alexandria white male in his 80s is the latest victim of COVID-19 in the city as new cases have surpassed the 1,700 case mark.

There are now 1,703 total cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, an increase of 46 cases since yesterday. It is not clear how many residents have recovered since the first case was announced on March 11.

Meanwhile, Alexandria has widened the pedestrian areas on lower King Street in Old Town so that residents and visitors will keep their distances during what is usually a busy weekend in the Port City.

There have been more than 900 new cases and more than a dozen coronavirus-related deaths in the city this month alone. A large percentage of deaths have occurred at long-term care facilities, and there has been one death of a person in their 20s. There are now 17 reported deaths of residents in their 80s.

Hispanic residents make up 17% of the population and are leading with the highest number of cases in the city, with 800 reported cases, six deaths and 75 hospitalizations.

There have been 125 cases associated with 11 outbreaks in the city, and 108 of those cases have been health care workers. Nine of the outbreaks occurred at long-term care facilities, and 15 deaths have occurred at such facilities, although that number has not been updated since the city’s release on May 2. The other outbreaks occurred at a “congregate” setting and an educational setting.

There have been 5,758 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests administered in the city so far, and the city’s seven day average shows a 25.3% infection rate of those tested. There have also been 961 antibody tests in Alexandria.

On Monday, VDH will administer 3,000 free tests at Cora Kelly School (3600 Commonwealth Avenue) and at Landmark Mall (5801 Duke Street) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents are encouraged to wear face masks and walk-up participants should wear sunscreen.

Statewide, there have been 1,159 reported deaths (23 since yesterday), and 1,123 of those deaths are confirmed to have been COVID-19-related, according to VDH. There are now 35,749 cases (33,962 confirmed, 1,787 probable) and 4,181 hospitalizations (including 28 probable cases).

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