City of Alexandria Provides COVID-19 Updates; Phase Two Begins; Outdoor Amenities Reopening; Using Playgrounds and Parks Safely
For Immediate Release: June 12, 2020
The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) remind everyone that you are safest at home except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care. If you must leave your home, wear a cloth face covering around others and keep at least 6 feet apart from others whenever possible. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Northern Virginia Enters Phase Two
Starting today, Northern Virginia has joined the rest of the Commonwealth in Phase Two of the Forward Virginia reopening blueprint. Under Executive Order 65, Phase Two increases the number of people allowed to gather in groups from 10 to 50; allows restaurants to offer indoor dining with 6-foot distances between groups and at up to 50% capacity; opens fitness and exercise facilities at 30% capacity; opens swimming pools for indoor and outdoor fitness and instruction purposes only; and more. Restrictions on religious services, non-essential retail and personal grooming services remain the same as Phase One. Overnight summer camps and most indoor entertainment venues remain closed. Executive Order 63, which requires face coverings to be worn in indoor public settings, remains in effect. For more information, view a Phase One / Phase Two comparison chart and read Frequently Asked Questions about Phase Two.
City Begins Reopening Outdoor Amenities
City outdoor amenities will begin reopening today, and most are expected to be fully reopened by Monday, June 15. These include parks, playgrounds, trails, paths, fields, dog parks, restrooms, parking lots, park roadways, and most sport courts. The playground at the Charles Houston Recreation Center will remain closed to complete necessary repairs. An amenity should be considered closed if it still has signs indicating closure, locked gates or doors, temporary fencing or tape, or barricades. Playgrounds are reopening earlier than previously anticipated because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance. For additional information about phased recreation reopenings, visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation. Note that playgrounds and fields operated by the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will not reopen until announced by ACPS.
Using Playgrounds and Parks Safely
The Alexandria Health Department reminds everyone there is still community spread of COVID-19. Children can catch the virus when they touch contaminated objects and then touch their mouths, noses or eyes, as well as when they have close contact with others who may have the virus. Each family must weigh the risks and benefits of going out in public, and of using public equipment. Risks include contracting the illness and becoming severely ill, as well as the potential for spreading the virus among family and household members who may be at high risk (for example, those 65 and older and with underlying medical conditions). Benefits include the physical, mental and emotional rewards of getting outdoors and being physically active.
Families should use playgrounds and parks only if they are not sick. They should frequently use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. In accordance with CDC guidance, AHD reminds everyone that face coverings are essential when physical distancing is not possible, but they should not be used by children younger than 2 years of age or by anyone who has trouble breathing. AHD advises families to only use parks and playgrounds that are not crowded. Based on guidance from Executive Order 65 for fitness and exercise equipment, families using parks and playgrounds are advised to always remain 10 feet apart from those outside their household, and to clean and disinfect playground equipment before and after each use. It is not practical for the City to disinfect playground equipment between each user.
1 New COVID-19 Case and No New Fatalities Added in Alexandria
The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Alexandria is now 2,128, including 48 fatalities. Detailed data is available through the links at alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. Now that Northern Virginia is in Phase Two of the Forward Virginia blueprint, it is important to note that there is still community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and everyone is safest at home. This is especially true for persons at higher risk for severe illness, including those over the age of 65 and those with underlying medical conditions. Those who do go out are reminded to remain 6 feet apart from others; wear a cloth face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained outdoors and at all times in indoor public spaces; and wash hands frequently.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/116037.