Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

The Alexandria Health Department is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by coronavirus "COVID-19." Learn about the City's response and find information and resources related to COVID-19.

Page updated on Mar 27, 2020 at 7:20 PM

Latest on the COVID-19 Coronavirus

  • For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at  703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line at 877-ASK-VDH3. If you have chest pain or shortness of breath, call or text 911. 
  • To get alerts, text ALEXCOVID19 to 888777.
  • On the evening of March 25, the Alexandria Health Department was notified that a non-resident of Alexandria later confirmed to have the COVID-19 coronavirus spent time at Murphy’s Irish Pub (713 King St.). AHD’s investigation has determined that patrons at Murphy’s Irish Pub on certain dates and times may have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • On March 23, Governor Northam issued an executive order providing for many temporary restrictions.
  • All Alexandrians must be vigilant and act now to protect our community from COVID-19 coronavirus spread. The Alexandria Health Department strongly urges everyone to stay home except for essential trips such as grocery stores and medical care.   
  • Public health officials have noted evidence of community transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus in parts of Northern Virginia. Infectious diseases do not respect boundaries. Each individual is a critical part of slowing the spread of COVID-19, in addition to government action at the local, state and federal levels. 
  • Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a group of medical and non-medical volunteers who support the Alexandria Health Department in emergency preparedness, response and recovery. In response to COVID-19, new volunteers are urged to  join Alexandria MRC to help with staffing the call center and conducting community outreach to our most vulnerable populations. Training will be provided.
  • On March 27, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed four additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 24. AHD is identifying and contacting individuals who came in close contact with the confirmed cases. The close contacts will be asked to self-quarantine and actively monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. If they start experiencing symptoms, they will immediately undergo testing. As a result of the AHD’s case investigations and expanded testing through private providers, the number of positive cases is expected to continue to increase.
  • This is a rapidly and continuously evolving situation; guidance and updates on this page may change frequently. 

CDC & VDH Resources


Social Distancing

  • On March 23, Governor Northam issued an executive order providing for the following restrictions. Be sure to click the link to see the full list in each category of restriction.

    • All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.
    • All schools will remain closed through the end of this academic year. 
    • Non-essential recreation and entertainment businesses must close to the public beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.
    • Dining and congregation areas of food service establishments and farmers' markets must close to the public beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and takeout services. Visit Alexandria is helping everyone experience Alexandria’s restaurants, farmers' markets, shops and attractions via pickup and from the comfort of your own home.
    • Essential retail businesses may remain open during normal business hours, but must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. 
    • Non-essential retail businesses must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
    • Non-essential professional businesses must use telework as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such businesses must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.
  • The Alexandria Health Department encourages businesses and customers to use online or phone payments (rather than in-person credit card or cash payments) to avoid shared surfaces. Customers who pay in person should insert their own cards into readers when possible, and avoid sharing pens. Businesses should sanitize touch screens after each customer.
  • On March 17, Governor Northam recommended that individuals with chronic health conditions or age 65 or older should self-quarantine, because they are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. He encouraged neighbors and friends to stay in touch and regularly check in with high-risk individuals. 
  • Individuals should modify regular activities in public by practicing social distancing by maintaining six feet of personal space whenever possible, and frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitizer. Individuals should also utilize alternative greetings to handshakes, such as elbow bumps or bows.
  • City employees are working remotely to the extent feasible while maintaining core services. The City encourages all employers to maximize telework opportunities for employees whenever possible, both to increase social distancing and to help reduce the impact of school closures.
  • On March 18, the Virginia Department of Social Services issued  guidance that classroom childcare centers should limit capacity to 10 individuals per room to include staff. Parents looking for child care that remains open should call 866-KIDS-TLC.  
  • The CDC has issued detailed guidance for travelersbusinesses and employersschools and childcare; and community and faith-based organizations
  • Learn how you can protect your home and business. View one-page overviews of steps to take for homes, schools, businesses and commercial establishments.
  • Social distancing doesn't mean being anti-social. Learn how to avoid stigma and discrimination related to COVID-19.

If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are coughing, fever of over 100.4 F, and shortness of breath. Use the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker to review your symptoms.
  • If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, call your primary care physician to ask whether you should come for an exam or test before visiting in person. If you don't have a primary care physician or health insurance, call an urgent care center to check their availability and to ensure they are prepared for your visit.
  • Most people who get COVID-19 recover on their own at home and do not need testing or treatment. Anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness should isolate themselves; avoid contact with other people; wash their hands frequently; and disinfect surfaces regularly. 
  • If you have other questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line,  877-ASK-VDH3, for questions about the novel coronavirus situation.
    • The Alexandria Health Department does not provide COVID-19 diagnosis or testing.
    • If you need a letter about your health status, please contact your healthcare provider. If AHD has contacted you directly for active monitoring or quarantine, AHD can provide a letter for your employer clearing you to return to work once that is complete.
  • View updates from Inova Health System on hospital visiting hours and when to use the emergency room
  • On March 18, Mayor Wilson sent a letter to Vice President Pence (in his capacity as chair of the Federal COVID-19 Task Force), urging that the National Capital Region be added to the list of priority locations for federally-supported COVID-19 testing sites.


Protect Yourself and Those Around You

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, everyday preventive actions help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 as well as influenza and the common cold, including:

  • Wash your hands often by rubbing them together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain six feet of personal space whenever possible.
  • Stay home when you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Prepare for Possible Quarantine or Isolation

During a local COVID-19 outbreak, stores may run out of some supplies, and residents may be asked not to leave their homes for an extended period. Residents should plan and prepare by doing the following: 

  • Have on hand enough food, household and pet supplies to last for two weeks. 
  • Gather enough medical supplies to last for one month, especially prescriptions and other medicines you may need.
  • Identify a list of people who can help you or will need to be notified in the event of an emergency,  including family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department and other community resources. 
  • Identify people who may need help, like neighbors, friends, family and co-workers who are older adults, have limited resources, have special needs, don’t understand English well or are new to the area.  
  • Talk to your employer about changes at work, how family and sick leave will be handled and if there are plans to work from home or elsewhere. 

Grocery Stores and Farmers Markets

Check the website or phone number for grocery stores and farmers markets in case hours or policies have changed. While there is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through food or food from certain countries, any food can be a surface for the transmission of viruses if safe food handling practices are not followed.

To permit access to food while employing social distancing and hygiene best practices, merchants and customers at grocery stores and farmers markets should follow these guidelines in addition to the ones directly above:

  • Merchants should use gloves properly and in addition to washing or sanitizing. Change gloves frequently.
  • Everyone should maintain personal space of six feet whenever possible.
  • Merchants should discontinue sampling of cut or open foods.
  • Everyone should use non-cash forms of payment when possible. Wash or sanitize hands immediately after handling cash or payment devices.
  • Before preparing or eating, customers should wash all fruits and vegetables in accordance with FDA guidance for cleaning produce.

Guidance For...


Help with Jobs, Food, Housing and Human Services

  • View resources to meet basic needs for those impacted by COVID-19.
  • View information about unemployment benefits for  workers whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • View a letter from Mayor Wilson to landlords ( en Español) on March 16, requesting accommodations for tenants with difficulty making rent payments.
  • Mayor Wilson joined the mayors and chairs of Northern Virginia localities in a letter to Governor Northam on March 19, urging him to use his emergency powers to suspend foreclosures and evictions, waive late fees and penalties for rent, and reduce restrictions on human services programs.
  • Many grocery stores in the region are having trouble keeping up with demand for products. The City is relaxing regulations to allow grocery stores to receive extra deliveries of stock.  
  • On March 14, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a matching grant of $100,000 in City funds to the ACTNow Fund, to help solicit donations from the community. The fund, administered by the ACT for Alexandria community foundation, streamlines grants to nonprofit service providers to assist with food, housing, medical and other financial hardships.
  • On March 14, City Council unanimously approved a grant of $20,000 to the ALIVE! food bank, which will provide for bulk food purchases equivalent to 17,000 meals. 

Enforcement Changes

  • Parking: Effective March 17 at 3 p.m., the City has suspended enforcement of parking restrictions for residential street sweeping and for the prohibition on vehicles parking on the street for more than 72 hours. All other posted parking restrictions, including residential permit time limits and parking meters, remain in effect. Residents may continue to apply for guest parking permits online. The City is working in commercial corridors to establish temporary curbside loading and pickup to assist with an increase in pickup and delivery services.
  • Restaurant Operations: To support local business and access to food, effective March 19 and until further notice, the City has suspended enforcement of the following regulations and special use permit conditions that limit hours of operation, deliveries, off-premises alcohol sales, and outdoor sales/dining. The City will also begin work on legislation to implement temporary or, where appropriate, permanent changes to the City Code to allow these activities.
    • Restaurant Deliveries and Pick-up: Suspended enforcement of delivery regulations in order to allow all restaurants to provide delivery service and pick-up service. Delivery vehicles and customer pick-ups may use on-street parking subject to posted parking requirements.
    • Hours of Operation: Suspended enforcement of hours-of-operation restrictions on restaurants, convenience stores, catering operations and automobile service stations (gasoline stations).
    • Sidewalk/Parking Lot Vending: Restaurants and retail establishments may vend on adjacent sidewalks or parking lots.
    • Off Premises Alcohol Sales: Suspending enforcement of local restrictions on alcohol sales, including off-premises alcohol sales and delivery. Business remain subject to all VABC licensure requirements.
    • Outdoor Dining Expansion: There are no changes to outdoor dining regulation. Restaurants may not operate when more than 10 patrons are present between all indoor and outdoor areas.
    On March 17, the Governor and the State Health Commissioner issued an  order declaring a public health emergency in Virginia and prohibiting restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters from operating with more than 10 customers present. Violation of the order is a criminal offense. Businesses may continue to provide carry-out and delivery options. Visit Alexandria is helping everyone experience Alexandria’s restaurants, shops and attractions  from the comfort of your own home

Utilities and Telecommunications 

The following utility and telecommunications providers have announced that they have suspended disconnections due to nonpayment and are offering other special COVID-19 response services and policies. Details vary by provider; click the links below for more information. For questions, contact the provider directly.

Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) |  AT&T |   Dominion Energy | SprintVerizon Wireless |  Virginia American Water  |  Washington Gas

Comcast / Xfinity (includes 60 days of free internet service for low-income families who are new customers)


Avoiding Scams and Misinformation

  • Remain vigilant for scams related to COVID-19. You may receive fake phone calls or emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites, to try to trick you into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes.
  • Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.
  • Do not reveal personal or sensitive  information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails from unofficial sources, and be wary of email attachments.
  • Learn how to avoid social engineering and phishing attacks.
  • Use trusted sources, such as government websites ending in .GOV like coronavirus.gov (CDC), vdh.virginia.gov, and alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus.
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams for more information.
  • Businesses and organizations should review information about risk management related to COVID-19.

Phone Numbers

  • For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions about the novel coronavirus situation.
  • If you have chest pain or shortness of breath, call or text 911. 

Alexandria City Public Schools

On March 13, the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) announced that all ACPS schools will be closed from March 16 through at least April 13. All K-12 schools in Virginia are closed through at least March 27. For detailed information about Alexandria City Public Schools closures and COVID-19 response, including distance education and distribution of food, visit acps.k12.va.us/coronavirus.


City Government Operations, Meetings, Events and Programs

  • Operating Status: City government remains open, but there are many facility and service changes. See the "Cancellations & Closuressection below for more information.
  • Facilities: All City facilities are now either closed to the public or open by appointment only, until further notice. Customers may call 311 or 703.746.4311 to request in-person information or service. If the request cannot be resolved over the phone or online, the customer will be accommodated in person if possible. All City recreation, nature and art centers; museums and indoor historic sites; and library branches are closed to the public. All other facilities, including City Hall, are open by appointment only. City officials will continuously re-evaluate these plans based on the status of the outbreak and guidance from the Alexandria Health Department. Facilities that are not closed may have modified hours of operation. More information on closures, cancellations and other operational changes can be found at  alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus.
  • Recreation and Parks: The City and the Alexandria City Public Schools have closed the following public play spaces until further notice: recreation, nature and art centers; playgrounds; fenced fields; fenced basketball and tennis courts; fenced dog parks; and park amenities, including restrooms and parking lots. All unfenced parks, trails and fields remain open to the public. The City, ACPS and AHD believe that safe, socially distant opportunities for exercise are crucial for our community, to maintain both physical and mental health. Patrons are urged to practice social distancing and wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, to protect themselves and others. Signage with these guidelines is being posted at play areas.
  • Trash and Recycling:  To protect the health and safety of collection teams, residents should make sure all trash and recycling placed curbside is either contained within a can or cart, or in a tied or sealed plastic bag. Loose trash set out curbside for collection will not be collected.
  • Yard Waste: The City is suspending yard waste, bulk material, and metal curbside collection, effective immediately, for a period of at least two weeks. This change allows crews to continue to prioritize and safely collect residential refuse and recycling. Residents are encouraged to compost yard waste at home or wait to place it curbside until service returns to normal. Smaller amounts of yard waste may be collected with trash, but residents should expect larger volumes to be left uncollected.
  • State of Emergency: The City Manager has declared a local state of emergency in Alexandria, which provides streamlined regulations for logistics coordination and prepares for the possibility of federal and state reimbursement of emergency costs. A declaration of emergency does not mean that the level of risk from the virus has changed. 
  • Non-Essential Meetings: The City Manager has directed all departments to evaluate each scheduled internal and public meeting and event on a rolling three to four-week basis, to determine if it is essential. Non-essential meetings or events will be cancelled or modified in consultation with the City Manager’s Office and any applicable board or commission chairs.
  • Online Services: Many City services are available online at alexandriava.gov, including payment of taxes, fees and parking citations and vendor bid management.

City News Releases

All news releases are sent to the news media, emailed to subscribers to the "General City News Releases" topic on Alexandria eNews, and posted on Facebook and Twitter.


Cancellations & Closures

Please follow these links for details about individual activity, class, program, tour, and other service cancellations and changes related to COVID-19:

These changes will be re-evaluated on a rolling basis. For a list of individual meeting schedules and cancellations, visit  alexandriava.gov/Calendar and see below. 

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