COVID IS SURGING IN ALEXANDRIA:
WHAT CAN BUSINESSES DO?
Get vaccinated and get your booster and encourage all employees to do the same is the #1 message coming from the Alexandria Health Department as COVID-19 cases rise to record highs in the community.
In a webinar for the local business community, Rachel Stradling, environmental health manager with the Alexandria Health Department; Karl Moritz, director of the Department of Planning and Zoning; Ann Horowitz, principal urban planner for the Department of Planning and Zoning; and Kendel Taylor, director of the Department of Finance, joined AEDP President and CEO Stephanie Landrum to review the public health situation, current employer requirements, and answer any questions.
While COVID is surging across the country, no shutdown or lockdown mandates are coming. President Joe Biden reiterated a commitment to keeping businesses and schools open this week, and Virginia is similarly leaving decisions up to individual jurisdictions.
Mandates Are Not Expected
At this time, the City is not imposing any capacity or operating restrictions or mask mandates. As Rachel Stradling of the Alexandria Health Department noted during the webinar, her department is looking at the best strategies for our community and will make recommendations and advice, especially on bigger events, as necessary.
In the meantime, current advice boils down to, in her words, “common-sense measures.”
- Get vaccinated and get boosted and encourage your employees to do the same. (Employers with more than 100 employees are now required by OSHA to implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement.)
- Wear masks indoors during periods of substantial or high transmission (like now), regardless of vaccination status.
- View the Alexandria COVID dashboard for the City’s latest data.
- Download “Wear It Well” signage to encourage mask-wearing at your business.
- Get tested if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, after large gatherings, and after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Tests are in extremely high demand at this time, so please be patient
- Do more activities outside.
- If you are sick, stay home. Require your employees to do the same.
What Can Businesses Do?
Webinar panelists encouraged businesses to reinstate or emphasize some of the preventative measures they put in place early in the pandemic to help navigate this surge, especially since many customers are likely feeling nervous right now. Recommendations include:
- Put additional distance between tables in restaurants
- Encourage outdoor dining
- Open windows when possible
- Provide hand sanitizer for patrons
- Encourage curbside pickup. Contact the Department of Planning and Zoning if you need new curbside pickup parking signs.
- Encourage or require masks indoors
- Recommit to or take the ALX Promise Gold pledge
The Health Department offers signage that businesses can download and post in their windows, and they also offer free bathroom signage and coasters that businesses can hang up and distribute to help educate their customers.
Additional Resources for Businesses
- Amanda Gamble with the Alexandria Health Department is available to work directly with businesses on questions or training in best practices.
- City COVID-19 resource page
- Alexandria SBDC COVID-19 resource page
- Testing protocols from the Alexandria Health Department
- The Alexandria SBDC also has a list of lawyers who specialize in small businesses and have been recommended by our clients. This list is not exhaustive.