October 29, 2020

Dear Neighbor,
This Saturday, October 31, is Halloween and we are recommending that Fairfax families celebrate a bit differently this year. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, traditional trick-or-treating and some other Halloween activities are not recommended, according to the Virginia Department of Health Guidelines. Be sure to check out some of these low-risk alternative options and continue to limit your contact with people not living in your household.
Early Voting

Saturday, October 31, at 5:00 p.m. is the deadline to vote early. You can vote at one of Fairfax County’s 15 voting locations, which includes the main Government Center and 14 satellite locations. On Thursday, October 29, and Friday, October 30, the 14 satellite locations will offer two extra hours to vote early by opening at 11:00 a.m. (instead of 1:00 p.m.) and closing at 7:00 p.m. The main Government Center’s voting hours remain this Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, October 31, all 15 voting locations will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Absentee Ballots

If you have received an Absentee Ballot by mail, we strongly recommend that you turn it in at a ballot drop box, rather than mailing it at this point. Ballot drop boxes are available:

  • 24 Hours a day at the main Government Center until 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, November 3.
  • At all satellite locations when they are open for voting.
  • At any polling place in Fairfax County on Election Day.

You do not have to wait in line to drop off your completed and sealed Absentee Ballot.

If you are mailing back your ballot, it must be postmarked by November 3. Make sure to watch this video if you need additional instructions on how to properly fill out your ballot.
Yours in service,
Supervisor James Walkinshaw
P.S. Forward this message to your neighbors in Braddock District! Residents can use our sign up feature or email braddock@fairfaxcounty.gov to subscribe to the monthly Braddock Beacon newsletter and Advisories like this.
Flood Watch in Effect Today
A Flood Watch is in effect today through this evening. A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding. When flooding occurs, you can assume there will be a few roadways in the area that will be impacted as well.

Fairfax County Firefighters and Paramedics often receive calls for help as people attempt to drive their cars through flooded, and sometimes closed, roadways, only to stall and become trapped. This puts both the driver, any passengers, and our firefighters and paramedics, in needless danger!

Don't drive through flooded roadways. Turn around, don't drown.
Watch this video to learn what to do if you encounter a flooded roadway.
Important Notice: Forecasts are calling for rain most of the day today, October 29. Don't forget to bring an umbrella or raincoat if you are planning on voting early!

The Fairfax County Police Department provides updates on any road closures on their blog. Make sure to check their blog posts before heading out to the voting locations.
Virginia Department of Health
Halloween Guidelines
While Halloween typically represents a time of fun and excitement for many children and adults, the current Halloween season will be different than prior years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, the more closely people interact with each other and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The best way to avoid becoming infected is to avoid being exposed to the virus altogether. This is particularly important for people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This may mean choosing not to participate in Halloween activities during the pandemic. Read VDH’s entire message by visiting their website.

The following are some common Halloween activities categorized by risk level:

Lowest Risk:
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people in your household
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate Risk:
  • Participating in trick-or-treating with distancing strategies in place
  • Individually wrapped goodie bags lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
  • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags
  • Stopping only at houses where individuals are wearing masks, and it is easy to maintain six feet of distance between the host and other trick-or-treaters
  • Attending a small, outside event such as trunk-or-treat, where social distancing can be maintained, and everyone is wearing a mask
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards, where wearing masks is encouraged and enforced and people can maintain at least six feet of physical distance

Highest Risk:
  • Trick-or-treating to many houses or visiting multiple neighborhoods, where participants go door to door
  • Trick-or-treating at houses where individuals are not wearing a mask, and where six feet of physical distance is not maintained between individuals
  • Attending parties or events that may become crowded and social distancing is difficult to maintain
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Going to indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming
Upcoming General Election Information
September 18 - October 31: Absentee in-person/early voting is underway at the Office of Elections, 12000 Government Center Pkwy., Fairfax, VA.
October 14 - October 31: Absentee in-person/early voting began at 14 satellite locations.

October 29 - October 30: Two extra hours to vote early at 14 satellite locations. Except for the Fairfax County Government Center, all other early voting sites will open at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday and Friday — two hours earlier than originally scheduled.
October 31: Final day for absentee in-person/early voting, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
November 3: Election Day. Your regular polling place will be open from 6:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. Check the Citizen Portal to find your polling place and confirm your voter registration status.
Returning Ballots Received by Mail:
November 3: Deadline for mailed absentee ballots to be postmarked. Deadline to hand deliver absentee ballots to the Office of Elections is 7:00 p.m.
Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes

If you have received an Absentee Ballot, we strongly recommend you turn in your Absentee Ballot at a ballot drop box if possible. Ballot drop boxes are available:

  • 24 Hours a day at the main Government Center until 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, November 3.
  • At all satellite locations when they are open for voting.
  • At any polling place in Fairfax County on Election Day.

You do not have to wait in line to drop off your completed and sealed absentee ballot.

If you are mailing back your ballot, it must be postmarked by November 3, but it may be received by the Office of Elections as late as noon on Friday, November 6. Make sure to watch this video if you need additional instructions on how to properly fill out your ballot.

 Important Notice About Drop Boxes
Drop boxes located inside voting locations are only available when the Office of Elections or Absentee in-person voting locations are open. Drop boxes will be at the satellite locations only when those locations are open and at the voting polls on Election Day, November 3 (Neither will simultaneously take place).

Constitutional Amendments on Your Ballot
For information on the Virginia Constitutional amendments and the four bond questions about Public Libraries, Parks, Transportation and Health & Human Services, visit the elections website.
Question 1:
Should the Constitution of Virginia be amended to establish a redistricting commission, consisting of eight members of the General Assembly and eight citizens of the Commonwealth, that is responsible for drawing the congressional and state legislative districts that will be subsequently voted on, but not changed by, the General Assembly and enacted without the Governor’s involvement and to give the responsibility of drawing districts to the Supreme Court of Virginia if the redistricting commission fails to draw districts or the General Assembly fails to enact districts by certain deadlines?
Question 2:
Should an automobile or pickup truck that is owned and used primarily by or for a veteran of the United States armed forces or the Virginia National Guard who has a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be free from state and local taxation?
Bond Ballot Questions
There are four bond questions on the Nov. 3, 2020, general election ballot. Voters will be asked to vote YES or NO on each of these questions.
1) Public Library Bond
Bonds to raise $90,000,000 to build, renovate, equip, and purchase land for library facilities.
2) Transportation Bond
A bond in the amount of $160,000,000 for the purpose of financing Fairfax County's share, under the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact.
3) Health and Human Services Bond
A bond in the amount of $79,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds to improve community health and human services facilities and if necessary, to acquire additional land.
4) Park Bond
A bond in the amount of $112,000,000 to finance the Fairfax County Park Authority in order to preserve open-space land, and to develop and improve existing parks and park facilities; and to finance Fairfax County's contribution to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
Additional General Election Information

Absentee Ballot Status: Would you like to check and see if your absentee ballot has been received by Fairfax County Government’s Office of Elections? Visit the Virginia Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal Voter Look Up webpage, enter the requested information and click submit, then scroll down to the “Vote Absentee by Mail Section” and verify that your ballot was received!
Four Steps to Vote Safely This Election
With Election Day right around the corner, here are tips to help you vote safely -- whether you are voting early or in person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3.

Four Steps to Vote Safely:

  • Wear a face covering. If you are planning to vote early or on Election Day, wear a face covering. Science continues to support wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and case studies offer increasing evidence that face coverings work. By wearing a face covering, you are helping to protect other voters — and the thousands of poll workers who have volunteered to make sure you can vote.

  • Exercise proper social distancing. Markers are placed on the ground inside and immediately outside polling places to help voters stand six feet apart. Please remember to stay socially distanced while you wait to vote.

  • Practice good hygiene. Polling places and voting machines are frequently cleaned and sanitized. Voters are also given disposable pens to mark their ballots. However, voters should wash their hands before and after voting, and bring hand sanitizer with them to the polls.

  • Apply for an emergency ballot if hospitalized or quarantined. If you were unable to meet the October 23 deadline to apply to vote by mail, you may apply for an emergency ballot for the following reasons:
  1. Your hospitalization or illness.
  2. Hospitalization or illness or death of a spouse, child or parent.
  3. Isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 illness or exposure.
  4. Other emergency that justifies an emergency ballot.

To receive an emergency ballot, you must apply by 2:00 p.m. on November 2, and your application must be witnessed by a designated representative. Both you and your representative must sign this application under penalty of law for making false statements. Your representative must personally return the application to the Fairfax County Office of Elections by 5:00 p.m. on November 2.
Flu Shot Clinics For Senior Citizens
To help protect senior citizens in our community, the Fairfax County Health Department of Neighborhood and Community Services are offering flu vaccination clinics at select Senior Centers.

This service is available to residents 50 and older by appointment only (see dates below).

November 2, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Little River Glen Senior Center, 4001 Barker Ct., Fairfax
(times also available Nov. 4 & 5)

November 9, 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Lewinsville Senior Center, 1613 Great Falls St., McLean
(times also available Nov. 10 & 12)

For your safety, appointments are limited, and face masks and temperature checks will be required. Don’t wait – take control of your health this season and get a flu vaccine!

To make your appointment, call (703) 246-6010, TTY 711. Learn more about the flu season on the Fairfax County Health Department's website.

Pneumonia vaccine also available. Must be requested when making your appointment.

The High Dose Flu Shot is not available at these clinic, only the regular flu shot.

Find other places in the community that offer flu and other vaccines.
Bear Sighting Nearby
There have been recent sightings of a bear in Fairfax County. While bears are typically not aggressive, please do not attempt to feed or interact with the bear. All bear sightings should be reported to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources through the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003, TTY 711.

Unless the animal is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety, Fairfax County Animal Protection does not remove bears from a neighborhood. The Fairfax County Animal Protection Police can be reached through the police non-emergency number at (703) 691-2131.

Bears typically avoid humans, but may wander into suburban areas in search of food. Bears are attracted to bird feeders, garbage, outdoor pet food, compost piles, bee hives, fruit trees, and berry-producing shrubs. If addressed quickly, situations can be resolved almost immediately by removing the food source. Often a bear in your yard is just passing by and if it doesn't find food, will simply move on.
You can help manage the bear population by keeping your property clear of food attractants to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

Follow these tips:

  • Remove bird feeders if a bear is in the area. Bird feeders are a huge attractant for bears on residential property.

  • Secure your garbage. Store garbage indoors, in a shed, garage, or in a bear-proof container. Put garbage out on the morning of pickup, not the night before, or take it to the dump frequently.

  • Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove all uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.

  • Cover compost piles and keep compost away from house.

  • Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.

  • Clean the grill often. Do not dump drippings in your yard. Run the grill an extra 5 minutes to burn off grease.

  • Don’t store food, freezers, refrigerators, or trash on porches, patios or decks.

  • Talk to your neighbors. Make sure your neighbors and community are aware of the ways to prevent conflicts with bears.
See a Pothole? Report a Pothole!
Is there a pothole on a road you travel frequently? If so, make sure to report your encounter! While the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) maintains most primary and secondary roads in the county, you can confirm which road is maintained by who by visiting this webpage.

VDOT’s online reporting tool makes it easier to pinpoint exactly where you see a pothole. You can also report potholes directly from your mobile device and include images.

Make sure to report potholes to VDOT if they maintain a road being reported. You can also call VDOT at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) to report potholes or to ask who maintains a road.
Americana Drive Cleanup
Join Friends of Accotink Creek, Fairfax County Restoration Project, and community neighbors for an Americana Drive Cleanup on November 11, from 10:00 a.m. through 12:00 p.m.

Friends of Accotink Creek expects to encounter large quantities of trash of all kinds and would like to remind everyone to prepare to be tired and dirty! Make sure to sign up today and spread the word.

Contact Friends of Accotink Creek if you have any questions.
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