Our region is seeing an increased number of cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and Arlington County Government is taking steps to help mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19.
While events and public gatherings are hallmarks of our community, they also are opportunities for a virus to spread quickly among event workers and participants. Moving forward, many events or meetings will be cancelled, postponed, or modified to better protect our residents and County staff.
“This is a time for us to be proactive – and take the necessary precautions needed to slow and minimize Coronavirus from spreading across our community,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “We are examining our activities to determine which are essential and which are non-essential. If they are non-essential, they will be cancelled or postponed. If they are essential, they will be modified to minimize physical contact among those attending. This is an important step for the health and well-being of our community.”
The County has created a set of guidelines to help determine which of its events and gatherings are essential, and which can be postponed or conducted with modifications. (Note: As the situation with coronavirus shifts, these guidelines may also change.) View the guidelines for meetings and events. We strongly encourage businesses and organizations across our community to use these guidelines. They address questions, along with examples, such as:
- Does the gathering meet a statutory requirement? Is the work of the group required for business continuity? Would not having the event cause undue hardship?
- Is the meeting non-essential or does it pose a risk to likely attendees? Can the gathering be rescheduled, in whole or in part?
- Can the experience be offered in a virtual format? Does the event’s target population include people in the high-risk categories? Are there accommodations that can effectively reduce risk?
In addition to these important questions, the guidelines include an “Event Checklist for Essential Meetings and Gatherings.” The checklist provides tips for the venue setup, signage, attendee education, and more.
Additional Actions by the County
- Public Health staff have been contacting, assessing and monitoring any returning travelers from areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak since early February 2020 and are continuing to do so. They are also providing guidance to the hospital and healthcare communities, government, community partners to respond to this outbreak.
- At County facilities, staff are ordered to practice everyday preventive behaviors – and signage is posted public spaces with tips and guidelines. We also have ensured our cleaning materials and practices are as robust as possible and have increased cleaning of high-touch areas, including doorknobs, buttons, front desk counters.
- Arlington Transit is deep cleaning and sanitizing all buses thoroughly at the end of each night by using approved disinfectant to wipe down all stanchions, handrails, passenger seats, windows and all components in the driver’s area (see details). You can also learn more about what actions Metro is taking.
- At libraries, staff are cleaning and sanitizing as much as possible, removing shared toys and other high-touch items and making hand sanitizer available for library users. With a library card, the public also can use the library’s digital services (eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines, online classes and more). Learn more.
How to Stay Informed
- Visit the County’s coronavirus website for situation updates, tips on for staying safe, resources for businesses, printable fact sheets in multiple languages, and more.
- Go to the CDC website for extensive information and resources for different audiences.
- Contact the Virginia Department of Health public information line at 1-877-ASK-VDH3.