Five New Voting Sites—The Arlington County Board approved five satellite offices for early voting in the Nov. 3 Presidential election in order to offer more opportunities for voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Early voting will begin at the Ellen M. Bozman Governmental Center on Sept. 18. Dates for early voting at the satellite offices will be determined soon and are expected to open later in October. It is also possible for anyone registered to vote to vote absentee by requesting an absentee ballot application at the election website or picking up an absentee ballot application at county facilities. Ballots must be requested by Oct. 23.
The satellite locations include:
2200 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite R140
Aurora Hills Senior Center
Langston Brown Community Center
Madison Community Center
Walter Reed Community Center
Curbside Yard Waste Collection Resumes—Curbside yard collection that had been suspended since May due to manpower shortages related to COVID-19 is scheduled to resume Aug. 31. Customers are asked to limit their yard waste to the green cart and five paper organic bags for the first week of service restoration. A credit of $10.77 will be issued to the Household Solid Waste Rate.
Enforcement Begins on Social Distancing Ordinance—The Arlington County Board passed an ordinance July 31 that targets groups of more than four in public places who don’t adhere to social distancing requirements in areas where signs have been posted. A map is available on the County website indicating the areas on Wilson Blvd. and down the west side of N. Hudson Street, east side of 10th Street and west side of N. Fillmore Street where the signs are posted. This is an effort to limit significant crowding on sidewalks outside restaurants as a preventative measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Violation of the ordinance can result in a fine of $100.
More Funding to Prevent Evictions—More than 1,555 Arlington households applied for eviction prevention assistance in FY2020, and the County spent $2.7 million to prevent evictions. As the result of increased need due to this economic impact of the pandemic, the County Board recently approved an additional $1.125 million from the FY2021 budget. This came from the County’s COVID-19 contingent account bringing the FY2021 total allocated for rent assistance to $3.5 million. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) signed into law March 27 imposed a moratorium on evictions for rental properties with federally backed mortgages or that participate in various federal housing subsidy programs that expired on July 26. In addition, the moratorium imposed by Virginia on other rental evictions expired on June 29.
School Feeding Sites Expand—A school grab and go feeding program was set up at nine school sites to make food available to students when Arlington Public Schools (APS) closed in March due to the pandemic. Lunches will be available at these sites through Aug. 28. Beginning Sept. 8 the program will be expanded to 21 sites where lunches for two days will be available for all students Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Families must reapply for eligibility for the Free and Reduced-Price Meals benefit. Applications are available online with paper applications available at the APS sites. Families will have until Oct. 19 to submit their forms.
Arlington School to Open Virtually—Arlington teachers and ten-month employees have returned to prepare for the distance learning public school reopening on Sept. 8. Students will connect with their teachers and classmates online following their regular school schedule. The school superintendent has indicated they are staying in touch with state health officials and the Arlington County Public Health Division to monitor health data with the goal of transitioning to hybrid in-person instruction when it is determined to be safe. At that time in-person instruction will be prioritized to begin with students with disabilities first followed by students in preK-3 and English Learner students.
Overdose Rates Up—Overdose rates are up in Arlington County. In August the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) investigated five deaths as possible drug-related overdoses suspected to be heroin and prescription painkillers mixed with fentanyl. Total police investigated opioid overdoses have grown from 10 incidents in 2014 to 42 in 2019 to 45 incidents as of Aug. 11 in 2020. Arlington County first responders carry Narcan, which is a safe and effective medication that can reverse an overdose. Narcan is available over the counter without a prescription or free from the department of Human Services where Narcan training is also available. If you observe someone experiencing overdose symptoms, call 911. These symptoms include slow or shallow breathing, dizziness or confusion, cold or clammy skin, vomiting, blue lips, sleeping and cannot be woken up or deep gurgling or rattling snore.