Here are a few things to pay attention to this week in Alexandria:
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city will receive the city manager’s new $743.5 million fiscal year 2021 budget request on Tuesday.
City Council will not be discussing the matter until next Tuesday, and will be the latest effort by the city to deal with the effects that the virus is having on the city government — namely huge revenue losses as a result of shuttered businesses not able to pay taxes and a host of new expenses, including the hiring of $2.5 million worth of new employees with the health department.
City staff have been tasked with finding $100 million in budget cuts, and the budget has been set on an accelerated schedule, since it had to be completely reworked before it is approved on April 29.
In the meantime, there are now 104 COVID-19 cases in the city. So far this month, Alexandria has seen 60 new cases, with double-digit increases every day. The city is now recommending that residents wear cloth face coverings in public, and is providing updates on its website every evening after 8 p.m.
Additionally, Mayor Justin Wilson will conduct an hour-long virtual town hall meeting at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
Alexandria City Public Schools will continue offering free meals for families this week at T.C. Williams High School during spring break. The grab-and-go meals will be available on the Chinquapin Park and Recreation Center side of T.C. Williams High School on Wednesday, April 8, and Friday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The Planning Commission meeting set for Tuesday has been canceled.
Javier Groisman’s sweet shop Kilwin’s is open at 212 King Street, and for the last week he’s been busy filling Easter orders for families.
“I sell comfort food, and for some people it helps them during a time of need,” Groisman told ALXnow. “My store technically counts as retail, so we’re open. I’ve been shipping a lot of orders for folks who can’t see their grandkids this Easter.”
More updates on the city’s eateries can be found here.
On Tuesday, the West End Business Association will host a webinar on receiving COVID grants, loans and incentives.
The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce is also planning a webinar with elected officials this week. Anyone with questions is asked to complete a survey by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Alexandria Hospital Says it Can Handle Surge
Dr. Stephen Motew, chief of clinical enterprise for the Inova health system, said on April 2 that Inova can handle a surge of COVID-19 cases.
“Is Inova’s team prepared, both now and for the anticipated surge that we expect to see with regards to patients requiring care within Inova’s geography? The answer is we are,” Motew said in a recent video.
The hospital has restricted visitation, and is asking that anyone feeling symptomatic should call ahead to warn staff. Uninsured patients will also be admitted, as their costs will fall under charity care for the nonprofit hospital system.
Uninsured residents can visit CommonHelp to see if they are eligible for low-cost health insurance.