Newsletter

Independence Day is coming up this Monday, so here’s a look at what’s open and what’s closed that day.

On the bright side for those looking to visit Old Town or see some historic sites, a few local museums will still be open.

“On Monday, July 4, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (134 N. Royal Street); Freedom House Museum (1315 Duke Street); and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax Street) will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.” the city said in a release. “All other City of Alexandria museums will be closed.”

The city’s outdoor pools will also be open. The Memorial Pool (901 Wythe Street) will be open from 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m., while the Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street) and Warwick Pool (3301 Landover Street) will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The Potomac Yard Park Interactive Fountain (2501 Potomac Avenue) will be open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

The Alexandria Police Department will suspend some parking enforcement.

“On Monday, July 4, the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions for metered spaces, residential permit parking districts and other areas with signed parking time limits,” the release said. “This suspension of enforcement, which applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces, does not permit parking in any location where it is normally prohibited (for example, ‘no parking’ zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities). Temporary ‘no parking’ signs will be enforced on July 4.”

Trash, yard waste and recycling will not be collected on Monday, with collection delayed by one day next week.

The city’s bus service, DASH, will operate on a Sunday schedule. The King Street Trolley will be operating every 15 minutes from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

For other closures:

  • All city government offices will be closed
  • The various city courts will be closed
  • The all Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in the region, including the one at 2681 Mill Road, will be closed
  • The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) will be closed, but anyone with an animal emergency or wildlife concern can still call 703 746 4444
  • The Health Department and Teen Wellness Center will be closed
  • All Alexandria library branches will be closed
  • The city’s impound facility (5349 Eisenhower Avenue) will be closed
  • All recreation, art and nature centers will be closed
  • All ACPS schools will be closed
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Freedom House Museum, staff photo by Vernon Miles

Along with the grand opening for the Freedom House Museum, there are a whole host of events scheduled around Alexandria later this month to recognize Juneteenth.

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Visit Alexandria has put together a roundup of events and programs around Alexandria marking the occasion, including:

Steps Toward Freedom: A Juneteenth Remembrance — June 16, 2022, at 5 and 6:30 p.m.
Admission: $25 to $45 per person
The Secret Garden at the Rectory, 711 Princess St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-683-6040
classicalmovements.com/secretgardenconcerts

Exciting artists and a powerful program of beloved spirituals, incredible songs, narration, storytelling and lyrical dance bring to life this new American holiday. After presenting its first Juneteenth concert just a day after Congress voted to make Juneteenth a national holiday, Classical Movements and the Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts partner once again to celebrate this day of joy and liberation. Enjoy a Juneteenth cocktail during this performance.

Juneteenth at the Torpedo Factory Art Center — June 19, 2022, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: Free
Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N Union St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4570
torpedofactory.org

America’s second Independence Day is a time to celebrate, reflect and learn about the end of slavery in the United States. It’s a celebration of freedom and also an opportunity to deepen our awareness of the nation’s legacy of systemic racism and oppression. Join artists at the Art Center for a shared community space in the Grand Hall to create artistic messages with your loved ones.

Juneteenth Celebration at Carlyle House — June 19, 2022, from Noon to 4 p.m.
Admission: Free
Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-2997
novaparks.com/parks/carlyle-house-historic-park

Presented in collaboration with C. Alexandria-Bernard Thomas and The Athenaeum, the event will be held outside in the gardens, on the lawn and the tented terrace of the Carlyle House, located in the heart of Old Town. Discover the history of Juneteenth through live music, hands-on activities, art, history and poetry readings. Activities are part of the planned offerings for the day that marks the liberation of Black Americans on June 19, 1865.

Manumission Tour Company: African American History Bus Tour — June 20, 2022, at 1 and 3 p.m.
Admission: $29 until June 1; $35 after June 1
Meets at the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314
manumissiontours.com

On Monday, June 20, when the Juneteenth holiday is observed, join Manumission Tour Company for a 90-minute African American history bus tour to visit sites around the city such as the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, the African American Heritage Park, Alfred Street Baptist Church, Barrett Library and more. The tour will leave from the Alexandria Black History Museum at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Purchase your seat online.

Other events around town include events at the Lee-Fendall House from June 3-Nov. 13 and tours at the Carlyle House. There are also events including presentations about Civil Rights available through the Alexandria Library.

Meanwhile, the new Freedom House Museum opened last week but has a larger grand opening celebration scheduled for Monday, June 20.

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SoberRide program for Cinco de Mayo, image via WRAP

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) has announced a SoberRide program for Cinco de Mayo next month, part of an ongoing mission to curb drunk driving by offering free rides through Lyft.

The program starts at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, and will run until 4 a.m. on Friday, May 6. Residents over 21-years old can enter a SoberRide code into the app’s payment tab and receive a voucher of up to $15 for a trip home. The code will be posted at 3 p.m. on May 5.

In 2019, 792 people in the area used the SoberRide program during Cinco de Mayo, and WRAP said in the release that the program was curtailed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. The program has provided 82,127 rides since 1991.

SoberRide is available throughout the region, Alexandria included. The program is also available on St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween and the winter holidays.

“Over a third of U.S. traffic deaths during Cinco de Mayo involve drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said WRAP President Kurt Erickson in a release.

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(Updated 11:50 p.m.) Alexandria will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a virtual program on Friday, Jan. 14. It’s the 49th annual celebration commemorating the civil rights leader, and speakers will include U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Mayor Justin Wilson and retired City Councilwoman Del Pepper.

Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — a national holiday all across the country — and Alexandria has recognized the fallen civil rights leader every year since 1973.

This year’s theme is “It Starts With Me: Shifting Priorities to Create the Beloved Community,” and the program also includes a performance by the Alexandria City High School Orchestra, and a presentations by activist Rosa Byrd and outgoing City Manager Mark Jinks.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. virtual event and can be seen on the City’s website, social media and cable channels 70/1084.

Photo via National Park Service/Flickr

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Despite high numbers of new COVID-19 infections, Alexandria City Public Schools plan on fully reopening from winter break on Monday, Jan. 3.

“ACPS continues to use the current health and safety guidelines provided on our 2021-22 Health & Safety Guidance web page,” Julie Crawford, ACPS Chief of Student Services and Equity, told ALXnow. “At present, there is no change to our return plans after winter break.”

As of today (Wednesday, Dec. 29), there have been 18,319 cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, which is an increase of 505 cases since Monday, according to the Virginia Department of Health. There were 174 cases of COVID-19 reported in ACPS in December, and 411 total cases reported since school started in August.

The seven-day average of daily new cases in the city is now 261, up from 248 on Monday. The number of deaths has risen by four to 161, although the Alexandria Health Department says the new fatalities were city residents who died out of state in 2020.

Just as with Thanksgiving, the Alexandria Health Department recommends avoiding crowds, getting COVID-tested three-to-five days after returning from the winter holiday and getting vaccinated.

Additionally, the Alexandria Health Department released the following quarantine guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • For people who are unvaccinated or not recently vaccinated (more than six months after their second mRNA dose or more than two months after the J&J vaccine), CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days. If the recommended five-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have received their booster shot or are recently vaccinated (less than six months after their second mRNA dose or less than two months after the J&J vaccine) do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for ten days after the exposure.
  • For anyone who is exposed, is it best to get tested for COVID-19 on the fifth day after the last known exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms that symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
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It was a warm holiday for Friends of Guest House residents in Alexandria, as a local realtor more than doubled her goal by receiving more than 130 sets of new pajamas and warm socks from the community.

The Friends of Guest House reentry programs help women transition back to the community from prison, and the pajamas and socks were given to 30 women in both of the nonprofit’s facilities.

“It was amazing,” said Kathy Goode, a program assistant at Friends of Guest House, who delivered the presents on Christmas day. “They were ecstatic. Most of them put on their pajamas and wore them for the day.”

Maureen Clyne wanted to deliver at least 65 sets of pajamas and just as many pairs of socks, which is about how much she was able to get a few years ago. After a story with ALXnow, she says that her office at Coldwell Banker Realty in Old Town and her Del Ray home were deluged with donated gifts.

“A lot of times there’s not a lot of thought and attention given to previously incarcerated women,” Clyne said. “A lot of them are coming out with their prison clothes, they don’t have a whole lot, and pajamas are something everyone can relate to. It’s much more personal than writing a check. Everyone likes new pajamas.”

The remaining pajamas and socks have been stored away to give to new residents as they enter the residential program in 2022.

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New Year’s Day is right around the corner, and a number of Alexandria government offices are closing early on Friday (Dec. 31).

The city’s New Year’s Eve celebration has been canceled due to rising COVID numbers, but if you’re looking to get out on Friday, the Torpedo Factory Art Center will be open from  10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Charles Houston and Patrick Henry Recreation Centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., as will the Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics facility.

The city has listed the following closures and other changes planned for this week:

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA): On Friday, December 31, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (4101 Eisenhower Ave.) will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., by appointment only, for both virtual and in-shelter animal visiting opportunities. To make an appointment, visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-by-Appointment. The shelter will be closed Saturday, December 25 and Saturday, January 1. For animal emergencies or wildlife concerns, call 703.746.4444.

Courts: The Alexandria Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will be closed Thursday, December 30; and Friday, December 31. The Court Service Unit will be closed Friday, December 31.

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): All DMV customer service centers in Northern Virginia (including 2681 Mill Rd.) will be closed Friday, December 31 and Saturday, January 1, 2022.

Health Facilities: The Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.), Flora Krause Casey Health Center (1200 N. Howard St.) and Teen Wellness Center at Alexandria City High School (3330 King St.) will be closed Friday, December 31.

Historic Alexandria: All City of Alexandria museums, with the exception of the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, will be closed on Friday, December 24; Saturday, December 25; Friday, December 31; and Saturday, January 1. The Alexandria Archaeology Museum (105 N. Union St.) will be open Friday, December 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday, December 31 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 703.746.4554 or visit alexandriava.gov/Historic and follow Historic Alexandria on social media.

Hotlines: All emergency hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including the child protective services hotline at 703.746.5800; the domestic violence hotline at 703.746.4911; the emergency mental health services or substance abuse crisis hotline at 703.746.3401; the adult protective services hotline at 1.888.832.3858; and the sexual assault hotline at 703.683.7273.

Impound Facility: The City’s Impound Facility (5249 Eisenhower Ave.) will be closed on Thursday, December 23; Friday, December 24; and Friday, January 1. Fees will accrue while the facility is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but will not accrue on holidays.

Libraries: All Alexandria Library branches and the Alexandria Law Library (520 King St.) will be closed Thursday, December 23 through Saturday, December 25, December 31 and January 1. Visit alexlibraryva.org for more information.

Old Town Farmers’ Market: The Old Town Farmers’ Market will be open Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24, from 7 a.m. to noon with free parking at Market Square Parking Garage (108 N. Fairfax St.), under Market Square Plaza, from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Farmers’ Market will be and will be closed Saturday, December 25, and will open as usual on New Year’s Day, Saturday, January 1, 2022, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Parking: The Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces, residential permit parking districts and other areas with signed parking time limits Thursday, December 23 through Saturday, December 25; and Saturday, January 1. This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces, and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited (for example, no-parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities). Temporary no-parking signs will be posted and enforced on the holidays.

Recreation, Nature and Art Centers: On Thursday, December 23, Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility (3210 King St.), Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe St.) and Patrick Henry Recreation Center (4653 Taney Ave.) will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and all other facilities will be closed.

On Saturday, January 1, all recreation, nature and art centers will be closed. View the City’s recreation center operating schedule for more information.

Resource Recovery:

Christmas Tree Collection: Christmas tree collection will begin Monday, January 3 and will be collected through the whole month for residents who receive City trash collection services. The last day of tree collection will be Monday, January 31. Visit alexandriava.gov/YardWaste for preparation information.

Leaf Collection: Leaves will be collected on Thursday, December 23 and Friday, December 24. There will be no leaf collection on December 31 in observance of New Year’s Day. Visit alexandriava.gov/LeafCollection for more information.

Trash and Recycling: Residential refuse, yard waste and recycling will be collected on the regularly scheduled day during the weeks of December 20 and December 27; there will be no “holiday slide.” The Household Hazardous Waste Electronic Collection Drop-off Center (3224 Colvin St.) will be closed Saturday, December 25 and Saturday, January 1. Visit alexandriava.gov/ResourceRecovery for more information.

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Alexandria’s COVID-19 infections jumped after Thanksgiving, and the numbers continue to rise going into the winter holidays.

There were 116 new cases reported in the city today (Friday), which is the most single-day cases reported since January 2021. There have been 301 new cases reported in the City in the last three days alone, and this “exponential” jump in COVID-19 cases, as described by the Health Department Thursday night, has stretched to Alexandria City Public Schools, as it waves farewell to 15,000 students for the two week winter break starting Monday.

There were 32 new cases reported across ACPS on Dec. 15 (Wednesday); 52 cases reported between Dec. 14 and Dec. 16, and more than 40 new cases reported last week, the Alexandria Health Department reported to the School Board on Thursday night.

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. told the Board that ACPS will not revert to system-wide virtual learning, and will monitor rising numbers to determine if individual schools need to shift back to an all-virtual environment on a case-by-case basis.

Hutchings also told the Board that the ACPS COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated more regularly to provide current numbers, which will be used to “determine if we need to revert to a virtual setting.”

Earlier this week, the Dashboard showed only 19 infections in the month of December. That has since been changed to 59 reported cases, significantly below the 122 cases reported since Dec. 6.

The Virginia Department of Health reports that 56% of the city’s 5-17-year-olds are fully vaccinated. In ACPS, 120 staffers are not vaccinated due to religious and medical exemptions, but they are being tested weekly and none have been fired because of refusing to take the vaccine, Hutchings said.

Alexandria’s transmission rate went from “Substantial” to “High” at the end of November, and the numbers of new infections have climbed at rates not seen since January of this year.

Consequently, ACPS recommends the following travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated
  • Check your destination’s COVID-19 situation before traveling. State, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place
  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports)
  • Do not travel if you have been exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, or if you test positive for COVID-19
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, get tested both before and after your trip

ACPS also asks families to check their emails and answer phone calls, since callers could be contract tracers with the Health Department or ACPS informing of an exposure.

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It’s the holiday season, so expect a series of closures and reduced services toward the end of this month.

In a press release, the City of Alexandria ran offered an overview of what services will be open and when.

“All City of Alexandria government offices will be closed Thursday, December 23 and Friday, December 24, in observance of the Christmas holiday; and Friday, December 31, in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday,” the city said.

What follows is a rather lengthy list of openings and closings that will be included verbatim at the end of the article.

Some of the highlights are that the Old Town Farmers’ Market will be open on Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24, from 7 a.m. to noon. Free parking will be offered in the Market Square Parking Garage (108 N. Fairfax Street) from 5:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The market will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 25, but will be open as usual on New Year’s Day, Saturday, Jan. 1.

Speaking of parking: the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces, residential permit districts, and other areas with signed parking time limits from Thursday, Dec. 23, through Saturday, Dec. 25, and on Saturday, Jan. 1.

“This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces, and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited (for example, no-parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities),” the city said. “Temporary no-parking signs will be posted and enforced on the holidays.”

For those looking for something to do on Christmas Eve, the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24.

In terms of transit, on Friday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 31, DASH bus will operate on a Sunday service schedule. On Saturday, Dec. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 1, DASH will operate on a regular Saturday service. The King Street Trolley will continue to operate through the holidays.

Visit Alexandria has also put together a small guide to local restaurants continuing to serve food on the upcoming holidays.

The full list of closures is available below the jump:

Read More

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After an online celebration last year, Alexandria’s First Night celebration is back, fireworks and all on New Year’s Eve.

“I’m thrilled First Night is back,” said Laverne Chapman, chair of the board of First Night. “It took us two years to come back, and we’re ready to come back.”

On Tuesday, City Council made its proclamation recognizing the upcoming event and thanking its organizers.

“This is the city’s great party and you don’t want to miss it,” said Councilwoman Del Pepper.

Today, Dec 15, the Virginia Department of Health reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria. That’s the most single-day infections reported since January.

“We’ve taken all the COVID precautions,” Chapman said. “Masks will be worn at all the events. We’ll be doing cleaning between the events.”

The First Night schedule starts with activities for seniors and kids from noon to 5 p.m., followed by an evening schedule of events that lasts until the fireworks finale over the Potomac River.

Tickets for each event range from $5 for kids to $20 for adults and seniors.

Below are First Night Alexandria’s daytime and evening schedules:

Daytime schedule

  • 12-2 p.m. — Kids celebrate NYE at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
  • 12-2 p.m. — Seniors celebrate NYE at the Oswald Durant Center, 1605 Cameron Street
  • 3-5 p.m. — Kids celebrate at the George Washington Masonic Memorial
  • 3-5 p.m. — Seniors celebrate at the Oswald Durant Center

Evening schedule

  • 6-6:30 p.m. — Welcome and kickoff at Market Square, 301 King Street
  • 7-8:30 p.m. — Battle of the buskers, various locations in Old Town
  • 7-8:30 p.m. — Early shows at select venues
  • 8-10 p.m. — Teen showcase at the Oswald Durant Center
  • 9:30-11 p.m. — Late shows at select venues
  • 10-midnight — Countdown to 2022 street party at Market Square
  • Midnight — Fireworks finale over the Potomac River

Via First Night Alexandria/Facebook

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