Alexandria, VA

There are now 141 cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, an increase of 11 cases since yesterday.

The addition of 11 cases continues a streak of double-digit diagnoses every day since March 31, and there have been 97 cases in the first week of April alone.

The first death of a city resident due to the virus was also announced yesterday. The Alexandria Health Department did not release information to the public regarding the resident, other than the person was hospitalized.

In a news release, the department said that there has been a “lag in test results” from tests conducted four to eight days ago.

“The rise in positive cases is likely due to a combination of additional testing capacity through private healthcare providers as well as an increase in community transmission,” the department said. “This lag in test results underscores the continued need for all community members to stay home as much as possible, even if they don’t have a diagnosed illness.”

The full breakdown in Alexandria is below:

There have been 63 deaths and there are now more than 3,300 cases in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Alexandria’s music schools have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and are offering their classes online.

“Going online seem to be working out pretty well,” Rock of Ages Music owner John Patrick told ALXnow. “Generally speaking, it seems as if people are happy to at least have something for their kids to do that’s fun and educational.”

Rock of Ages Music (114 E. Del Ray Avenue) in Del Ray has moved hundreds of its students to online courses. The kids can’t play together, and Patrick has been unable to find the best software for such a collaboration, but in the meantime his business has remained steady.

“It’s been challenging, and we don’t know how we’re going to have our end of the semester concert,” Patrick said. “My 15 instructors have done a great job with their students.”

Let's spread the love of music, not this virus!ROAM is online! We have over a dozen instructors to choose from.

Posted by ROAM Rock Of Ages Music on Friday, March 27, 2020

School Of Rock at 3260 Duke Street has lost about 30 students since COVID-19 hit the city, and the school is currently maintaining more than 100 students with online classes. The franchise is taking advantage of master classes offered on all the School of Rock websites throughout the country, and the school’s instructors are conducting individual courses.

“I’ve got about 12 people I need to call to schedule their free trial,” School of Rock owner Steve Mckay told ALXnow. “That’s just in the last week. People are interested, because they’re getting bored or their kids are getting bored, and they’re tired of sitting and want to pick their guitar back up. and we’re getting some adults as well since they’re at home bored.

Contact us for more information about our Instructor led REMOTE lessons using video conferencing. 571-376-7625 Alexandria@schoolofrock.com

Posted by School of Rock Alexandria on Thursday, March 19, 2020

For players who are more classically inclined, the Del Ray School of Music shut down its physical location at 2405 Mount Vernon Avenue on March 25, and has also continued by offering online courses.

We are now offering On-Line Music Lessons, on numerous platforms to meet your needs. Our teachers have years of…

Posted by Del Ray School of Music on Friday, April 3, 2020

Photo via Rock of Ages Music/Facebook

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There are a few Alexandria restaurants and cafes currently selling groceries as a way to boost sales and minimize outdoor trips.

Here is a list of establishments that are also providing groceries at this time:

Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street) in Old Town has turned into a market, complete with discounted wine, rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, raw steaks and eggs for sale.

https://www.facebook.com/MiasItalianKitchen/posts/3037784802983412?__xts__[0]=68.ARC0RJ8MSQbOCz3-XT-in_dRYDoV38PLbTyXFEOG7U5h8FymZ9ckHQKaDtKjJyjewq08WPNLJATjgZSBOHURAE1pBm9IvC37j_Mx21rXoabvAuQXDktfGtHl6VK03nPE0F_oY14S5vKkbsA_ywVa9fjA4uziKYt7G6MWYxp_ef4qIA50VlLw6pEJsMKPOsYtd5dkLIROhf95hD-jAVbk7NAmJpnlcPdhMjQ_hx_a5CmduywiLBQUehFYuraMBW4X5fs5-eU6H9zrw1DAdCp3X6dNbPd1ZWONpO2Hz9dtdQDWd0TSSeGfHcetqNPkpux-h9jc6VxqEoosHhf5anvNqRQZuvjI&__tn__=-R

Junction Bakery & Bistro (1508 Mount Vernon Avenue) in Del Ray is also offering, in addition to its regular menu, household staples like toilet paper, fresh eggs, yeast, bread and more.

Good people of Alexandria and beyond — we have converted to a corner grocery + carry-out to serve your needs at this…

Posted by Junction Bakery & Bistro on Monday, April 6, 2020

Cheesetique (2411 Mount Vernon Avenue) in Del Ray is also offering household cleaning supplies, in addition to their regular menu of delicacies.

Household & cleaning supplies are back in stock in our online (and physical) store. Order for pickup or delivery.https://www.cheesetique.com/online-ordering/del-ray-retail/menu

Posted by Cheesetique Del Ray on Saturday, March 28, 2020

Photo via Junction Bakery & Bistro/Facebook

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Though restaurants across Alexandria are closed for traditional Easter and Passover meals due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are offering select take-out options available for pick-up or delivery.

Visit Alexandria, which has been running a series called ALX at Home to keep locals engaged during the quarantine, has put together a long list of local restaurants with special Passover and Easter options. Many of them do require pre-ordering the meals in advance.

Restaurants featured on the list include:

  • A la Lucia (315 Madison Street) — An Easter Family Dinner Special which includes either a braised lamb in red wine sauce or pork chop in peppercorn sauce, as well as a salad, a choice of sides and bread. Total: $75, serves 3-4.
  • Balducci’s Passover and Easter Catering (600 Franklin Street) — Passover and Easter catering is available for pickup, but orders must be placed 48 hours in advance.
  • Bastille (606 N. Fayette Street) — A French cuisine Easter dinner including salmon filet or lamb with additional wine available for $25. Total: $49, serves two.
  • Chart House (1 Cameron Street) — Easter family dinners include prime rib and roasted salmon. Total: $80, serves two-three.
  • Clyde’s at Mark Center (1700 N. Beauregard Street) — Clyde’s is offering four Easter entrees, from roast lamb to ribeyes, along with a sauce, sides, and brownies. Orders can be placed tomorrow (Wednesday) before 5 p.m. by calling 703-820-8300 with pick-up on Saturday (April 11) or Sunday (April 12).
  • Del Ray Cafe (205 E. Howell Avenue) — The local French cafe is offering an Easter brunch with a variety of vegetarian options. Pre-orders must be placed by Thursday (April 9) by calling 703-717-9151.
  • Elizabeth’s Counter (804 N. Henry Street) — Elizabeth’s Counter, né Sugar Shack, is embracing the donut origin a pick-up box of six Easter donuts. The menu — donuts included — is entirely vegan.
  • Hummingbird Bar + Kitchen (220 S. Union Street) — The restaurant in the Hotel Indigo on the waterfront is offering brunch, featuring ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls and salad. Total: $59, serves four.
  • Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (401 E. Braddock Road) — Lena’s is offering three-course Easter meals featuring spaghetti, chicken cacciatore and more. Orders can be placed on the phone at 703-683-5330. All menus will be available for pick-up via ChowNow, or for delivery via UberEats, Postmates and GrubHub. Total: $69, serves 4.
  • Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street) — Mia’s is offering a three-course Easter menu, including a Sunday salad with a choice of either Braciole di Manzo or chicken cacciatore rollatini. Total: $69, serves 4.
  • Oak Steakhouse (901 N. St Asaph Street) — The North Old Town steakhouse is offering an Easter at Home menu with steak, a burger, or portobello mushrooms. Orders can be placed by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-283-7645. Pick up will be Thursday (April 9) through Saturday (April 11) from 4-7 p.m.
  • Sweet Fire Donna’s (510 John Carlyle Street) — The barbecue joint is offering Easter Brunch To-Go including smoked ham with roasted asparagus and two eggs. Preorders should be placed by 10 p.m. on Saturday (April 11). Total: $15.95.
  • The Majestic Cafe (911 King Street) — the American comfort food eatery is offering pickup at Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street) for a three-course Easter meal. Options include prime striploin, leg of lamb, and others along with lemon icebox pie for dessert. Preorders should be placed at 703-997-5300. All menus will be available for pick-up via ChowNow, or for delivery via UberEats, Postmates and GrubHub. Total: $99, serves 4.
  • Union Street Public House (121 S. Union Street) — the waterfront pub is offering catered Easter meals with options like grilled asparagus, potatoes au gratin, and deconstructed carrot cake. The meals also come with selected wine pairings available for purchase. Preorders should be placed by 4 p.m. on Thursday (April 9). Total: $35 per person.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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On one video screen, local karate instructor Richard Romero initiates a kick, and in living rooms across Alexandria, dozens of children in his Seichou Karate school follow suit.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, Romero has been forced to take his school at 807 N. Royal Street into online Zoom conference calls. But for Romero, parents, and students in the classes: the online karate school has been a measure of stability.

Years ago, when a friend told Romero he should take his class online, he said it sounded like “selling the hole in a donut.” So far, the classes have been popular with the student body, with very few of those who had been attending in-person classes dropping out. For parents, the classes have been a welcome consistency for their children whose lives have been upended by COVID-19 and the shutdown of the schools.

“It’s been incredible that he’s been able to pull all of this together,” said Marc Abizaid, who has a five-year-old and a thirteen-yer-old enrolled in Seichou Karate. “I’m really thankful that he was able to do this. It’s pretty amazing. There’s a lot of kids who have nothing to do, so it’s great to make a schedule.”

Seichou Karate offers classes for kids, teens and adults.

Romero said he’d originally planned to keep the brick-and-mortar studio open, but was talked out of it by his wife. Fortunately, Romero said he’d had experience running classes from three years ago.

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Senior Services of Alexandria needs cloth face masks, as volunteers continue to deliver Meals on Wheels to senior residents seven days a week during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have hand sanitizer right now, we have gloves, but since the new directive came out we don’t want surgical masks because they’re reserved for medical professionals,” Mary Lee Anderson, director of Senior Services of Alexandria, told ALXnow. “I’ve tried sending out a couple of emails and thought I had had it down, but it fell through. I’m not a seamstress and can’t sew them myself.”

Anderson is asking anyone who can provide the masks to email her at [email protected]

Meals on Wheels has dramatically modified its delivery program to more than 100 senior residents. Usually, more than 250 volunteers from churches and businesses will deliver the meals (one hot meal, one cold meal) to homes over the course of the month. Now, SSA is utilizing a core group of 23 people made up of city staff, SSA staff and volunteers who are young and healthy.

“All of them have agreed to deliver at least two to three times a week,” Anderson said. “That way we’re able to drastically reduce the number of people involved in the process and really have much tighter control of it.”

Additionally, all pickups of food at Jeffrey’s Catering are being handled differently, with volunteers waiting in their cars with open trunks for the food, which is then delivered.

Anderson said she expects the numbers of meal deliveries to rise as more seniors will be homebound due to the pandemic, and she is asking for community donations in the upcoming online Spring2ACTion fundraiser on April 15.

Spring2Action is Here! For 52 years, Senior Services of Alexandria has been here-delivering Meals on Wheels 7 days a…

Posted by Senior Services of Alexandria on Friday, April 3, 2020

Photo via Senior Services of Alexandria/Facebook

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The number of unemployment claims in Alexandria climbed dramatically in the second half of March, as thousands of city residents lost their jobs over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alexandria Workforce Development Center is reporting that there were 33 unemployment claims on March 14. That number rose to 797 jobless claims a week later on March 21, and then more than doubled to 1,683 claims a week after that on March 28.

Across Virginia, there are 112,497 unemployed claimants for the week ending March 28, which is an increase of 66,220 claimants from 46,277 from the week ending on March 21, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. That’s a 5,000% increase, or 110,397 more claims, over the same time last year.

Learn more about filing a weekly or continued claim here.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Named Second Friendliest City in the U.S. — “Alexandria is ranked just behind Savannah, Georgia, and ranks above Boulder, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Asheville, North Carolina.” [Alexandria Living]

Safeway Hiring Assistant Store Director — “Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to: * Overall management responsibility for operation of retail grocery store, including store performance, control of cash, budget, inventory/security, customer services, and management of staff.” [Indeed]

Over $1 Million in SBA Loans Not Repaid Since 1987 — “@SBAgov has issued more than $1 million in low-interest disaster loans in #AlexandriaVA since 1987, and most of those loans were never paid back in full according to documents received through a #FOIA request.” [Twitter]

Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Puts Out Call For Donations — “YOU can support our Emergency COVID-19 Appeal for Funding for Scholarships for the Class of 2020.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Democrats Conduct First Monthly Online Update — Alexandria Democratic Committee Chair Clarence Tong and Mayor Justin Wilson talked about the upcoming presidential election and what it means for Alexandria. [Facebook]

Zebra Newspaper Goes Online For April, May, Possibly June — “There is no print issue this month. Because many of our distribution locations are closed and likely to be closed for several months, and I don’t want to put residents or my staff at risk to deliver to thousands of individual homes as we normally do, I have made the difficult decision to suspend publication of the The Zebra‘s print edition for the months of April and May, and possibly June.” [Zebra]

VIP Alexandria Magazine Launches GoFundMe to Pay Photographers — “Events were cancelled. Many of our advertisers were forced to temporarily close their doors and our distribution locations are no longer accessible. All of this, combined, has put our Independent Contractors – a team of talented photographers and writers – in a very difficult position.” [GoFundMe]

April 9 Last Day For Community Engagement on Oakville Triangle — “Stonebridge and Inova Health Systems will host a series of online community engagement opportunities regarding the proposed Oakville Triangle redevelopment, which will include recorded visual presentations to accompany materials posted on the project webpage.” [City of Alexandria]

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The first death in Alexandria due to COVID-19 has been reported by the health department, and the number of cases jumped by 26 for a total of 130 cases in the city.

“My colleagues and I are saddened by the first confirmed death of an Alexandria resident due to COVID-19, and our thoughts are with their loved ones,” Dr. Stephen Haering, the city’s health director, said in a statement. “The best way to honor our neighbor is to recommit ourselves to the most effective ways to stop this virus: stay at home as much as possible, wash hands frequently, and maintain six feet of personal space whenever you can.”

The patient was hospitalized, and died of respiratory complications associated with COVID-19, according to the health department. The city has withheld their age, sex and identity.

Haering added, “Everyone has a role in reducing the impacts of this pandemic. We must all be vigilant to protect ourselves and especially our most vulnerable community members.”

The 26 new cases is the largest increase in the city since the first case was reported on March 11. There have been 86 new cases in the month of April alone.

The full breakdown in Alexandria is below:

There have been 54 deaths and there are now more than 2,800 cases in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

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ALIVE! gave out 30,716 pounds of food to more than 1,000 Alexandria households on Saturday, and now its shelves are nearly empty.

The 50-year-old nonprofit’s next distribution of food will not be until the end of May, although ALIVE! will continue providing food to local pantries between now and then, said Executive Director Jennifer Ayers.

“People can continue to rely on ALIVE! to supply local pantries and community nonprofits,” Ayers told ALXnow. “We are working on increasing inventory and we have seen our referrals for home delivery triple since the shelter in place, and requests for financial support are rising.”

Food pantries around the city are still open, and Ayers encouraged residents to visit Hunger Free Alexandria to see the locations of food distribution points. Ayers is encouraging those who want to help to donate to the organization through the Spring2ACTion online fundraiser on April 15.

So far, ALIVE! has received $20,000 from the city to buy 17,000 meals worth of bulk food. The city also found storage space for the nonprofit to house all of the food. There were other notable donations in recent days, including $1,000 in gift cards from Elizabeth’s Counter.

Last Saturday, families received four bags of food at the drive-thru distributions at John Adams Elementary School and Cora Kelly School.

“A huge thank you to everyone in the community,” Ayers said. “This is truly a community effort.”

Ayers gave a shout-out to the following organizations and volunteers for their support:

  • Alexandria Transportation and Environmental Services
  • The Alexandria Police Department
  • The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office
  • The Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Volunteer Alexandria
  • Caring Transitions
  • The Salvation Army
  • Your Dog’s Best Friend
  • Affordable Signs
  • Minuteman Press of Alexandria
  • Del Ray Farmer’s Market
  • Elizabeth’s Counter
  • Old Blue BBQ
  • Lancaster Food LLC
  • Fresh Produce Association
  • Great Harvest Bakery
  • Jen Walker Team
  • Pat Miller
  • Alexandria City Public Schools
  • The Alexandria Department of Community and Health Services

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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The city is pleading for residents to minimize their trash after piles have steadily grown higher as people are staying at home during the pandemic.

Residential trash tonnage has increased by 40% over the last month, according to a press release.

“Refuse and recycling collection are vital to the region’s health and safety, and localities are committed to providing this essential service,” the city said in a press release. “Every morning, collection crews report to work while facing the same life challenges as the rest of the community.”

The issue also came up in a virtual town hall with Mayor Justin Wilson last week. Wilson advised that residents should try to cut back on the trash they produce and, for yard waste being produced by more Alexandrians gardening at home, that should be composted in back yards if available.

The city asked that local residents take the following precautions to help keep the garbage disposal teams safe:

  • Dispose of used wipes, tissues and paper towels in trash bags that are tied shut.
  • Refrain from generating large amounts of waste–wait to dispose of the bulk materials in your basement, attic or garage until normal operations resume.
  • Flatten cardboard boxes to create more room in recycling carts.
  • For customers with City-issued trash carts, bags and bulk material placed outside the carts will be left uncollected. This change will take effect Monday, April 13.
  • For customers who do not have City-issued trash carts, all trash must be contained within sealed or securely tied plastic bags (loose and bulk material will be left uncollected).
  • Yard waste pickup in Alexandria remains suspended until further notice; consider backyard composting or grasscycling lawn clippings.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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While many teachers are grappling with reshaping their curriculums for the new digital era, some Alexandria teachers have been making the most of the new situation and pushing the schools to embrace new teaching methods.

Gabriel Elias, a history teacher at T.C. Williams High School, has made national headlines for his morning show broadcast to the T.C. community and was singled out for praise by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“I feel like if we take this as an opportunity to make ourselves better, we’ll come back stronger and more connected, ready for a new style of learning and a new style of connecting and engaging students,” Elias said.

For Elias, and for other teachers in Alexandria City Public Schools, the new situation brought about by the pandemic is a chance to push the education system into a more well-rounded system that focuses less on a teacher at a whiteboard. Elias teaches in the school’s International Academy, a “school within a school” aimed specifically at helping international students who may still be learning English

“For their part, students will be ready to be leaders in the classroom for the new generation of IA students. It doesn’t have to be this negative situation and it doesn’t have to be a negative situation,” he said.

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