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City of Falls Church COVID-19 & Urgent Updates

Posted on: June 12, 2020

COVID-19 Central Information

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COVID-19 Update Newsletter with Case Numbers

Situation Update

You can find the most current case, hospitalization, and death data via the Fairfax Health Department and Virginia Department of Health.

Temporary Park Permit, Zoning Regulations for Businesses (updated July 29)

Temporary Outdoor Commercial Activity Park Permit: To help businesses and non-profits cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department has created the Temporary Outdoor Commercial Activity Permit. Certain parks and amenities can be rented for commercial activities like exercise classes and children’s entertainment. The permit program is scheduled to end on October 1, 2020, but could be continued. The permit does not apply to outdoor dining or service of food or alcohol and is not intended as a replacement of the City’s Special Event application. All requirements of Governor Northam’s Executive Orders -- including social distancing, use of face coverings, and cleaning and disinfection -- must be followed. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. While there is not a specified limit for use, the Recreation and Parks Department will balance community use of facilities with permitted use.

For $20 per hour, a City business or non-profit can rent one of eight areas in City parks:

  • Roberts Park Field
  • Roberts Park Picnic Shelter
  • Cavalier Tail Basketball Court
  • Cherry Hill Park Basketball Court
  • Madison Park Basketball Court
  • Designated grass area Cherry Hill Farmhouse/Park
  • West End Park Open Space
  • Mr. Brown’s Park

Temporary Zoning Regulations: To help businesses and support the public’s access to food and retail services during this pandemic, the City Manager can do the following:

  • Allow Certain Temporary Signage without a Permit: Businesses can use temporary signs and banners that promote a drive-up, carryout-style of food and beverage without a permit, provided that no vision or safety obstructions are created. See requirements here.
  • Allow Certain Business to be Conducted Outside: Businesses can take and deliver food and beverage orders from the immediate vicinity of the business entrance or within its parking lot. See requirements here.
  • Allow Temporary Conversion of Parking Spaces for Certain Uses: Businesses can convert their assigned parking spaces to use for ease of carry-out. In the future, should the Governor’s Orders allow, parking spaces could potentially be used for tents and outdoor seating. (See Governor Northam’s Current Executive Order FAQs.)

Phase Three: Business Information

The City of Falls Church and all of Virginia are in Phase Three as of July 1. Please remember you are Safer At Home, and there is risk every time you leave your home.

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General Guidelines for Phase Three

  • You will still be "Safer at Home," especially if you are vulnerable; stay home whenever possible.
  • Telework or working remotely will be strongly encouraged.
  • Practice strict social distancing when you are outside of your home.
  • Wear a face covering whenever you are outside of your home. Face coverings will still be required while inside public buildings.
  • Social gatherings will be able to have up to 250 people (up from 50 in Phase Two).

Business-Specific Guidelines for Phase Three

  • Restaurants will no longer have to restrict the number of people in their restaurant, but social distancing and face coverings will still be required. Bar seating is still not allowed.
  • Non-essential retail businesses will no longer have to restrict the number of people in their stores, but social distancing and face coverings will still be required
  • Entertainment establishments like museums and zoos may open at 50% capacity, but they will be capped at 1,000 people.
  • Gyms may open at 75% capacity or 250 people, with 10 foot social distancing requirements.
  • Salons and barbershops will continue as in Phase Two.
  • Overnight summer camps will still closed.
  • Recreational sports attendees (including both participants and spectators) cannot exceed the lesser of 50% of the occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable, or 250 persons; For sports played on a field, attendees are limited to 250 persons per field.
  • Pools will be able to open at 75% capacity, with 10 foot social distancing requirements.
    • Related: Hot tubs, spas, saunas, splash pads, spray pools, and interactive play features must remain closed. 
  • Entertainment and fun -- performing arts venues, concert venues, movie theaters, drive-in entertainment, sports venues, botanical gardens, zoos, fairs, carnivals, amusement parks, museums, aquariums, bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, carnivals, arts and craft facilities, escape rooms, trampoline parks, public and private social clubs, and all other entertainment centers and places of public amusement: open with occupancy at 50% of the lowest occupancy or 1000 patrons; 10 foot social distancing requirements.

Phase Three: City Government Programs and Services

City of Falls Church Farmers Market
The "to go" format is the preferred shopping method of the market manager and vendors -- order ahead, and pick up at the market. Face coverings are required. Additional guidelines have been adopted and posted to the website, www.fallschurchva.gov/FM

Park Playgrounds and Amenities Open

  • Athletic Fields – Athletic fields will open for individual use by the community. Organized use by Recreation and Parks sponsored or permitted programs will follow governor’s and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines pertaining to use of athletic fields. As always, fields will close for inclement weather. All users must obey field closed signs when on display.
  • Basketball Courts, Volleyball court and Skate Park – Facilities will open, but users must stay 10 feet apart.
  • Playgrounds – Playgrounds in City parks will open. There is no special cleaning; visitors should use at their own risk and must adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Picnic Shelters – Picnic shelters will open; visitors should use at their own risk and must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Rentals for picnic shelters are not being accepted at this time.
  • The Community Center remains closed to the public, but is open for Summer Fun camp program registrants only. Bathrooms are not available to the public.
  • Tennis courts are open by reservation for City residents; visit www.fallschurchva.gov/Tennis to make a reservation and read the guidelines and restrictions.

Individuals who use the equipment do so at their own risk. The Recreation and Parks Department does not sanitize park equipment. It is impossible for crews to disinfect park equipment and furnishings in a manner that totally eradicates the potential spread of COVID-19. The safest ways to avoid COVID-19 are to: 

  • Stay Home: Phase Three of the Governor’s reopening plan emphasizes that you are Safer At Home.
  • Wash Your Hands: Wash or sanitize frequently and avoid touching shared surfaces.
  • Cover Your Face and Maintain Your Space: Wear a face covering or mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others.  

Governor Northam Requires Masks in Public Places as of Friday, May 29 

We will release details once we have them, but residents and businesses should prepare to use masks when in public buildings as of Friday, May 29.

Message from Mayor Tarter and the City’s Local Emergency Declaration (posted March 17)

The Falls Church City Council has declared a local emergency in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The declaration is effective as of 10:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16. This activates the City Emergency Operations Plan and authorizes the provision of aid and assistance as prescribed by State law and City Code and the ordinances, resolutions and approved plans of the City of Falls Church, in order to mitigate the City’s response to the pandemic. This emergency declaration shall remain effective until rescinded by a separate action.

Mayor David Tarter released a video addressing the residents and businesses of the City of Falls Church. He asks that residents support one another, although from afar. "We understand that this situation presents significant difficulties for our community," Mayor David Tarter said. "All of us will face challenges. The Little City must pull together for the health and future of all our treasured residents and businesses." Read the full Local Emergency Declaration News Release here


COVID-19 Information and Resources

City Information and Resources

Fairfax County Health Department
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