The COVID-19 local emergency has officially ended in Arlington County, Virginia.
The declaration was issued over two years ago, on March 13, 2020, to help the county in its response and help it shift to virtual operations.
“The declaration has been an important tool offering the flexibility needed to better serve our residents, businesses and visitors,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement issued Monday.
“The added authorities under an emergency — such as the ability to alter procurement, hiring and zoning rules — has served us well. However, as we have learned to cope with a pandemic that will be with us for many months to come, the need for these emergency authorities has dwindled.”
And while the declaration is over, many of the changes established during the pandemic will continue.
A Virginia electronics meeting policy that offers “additional flexibility for hosting virtual and hybrid meetings” will take effect Sept. 1, the county said.
Outdoor seating at restaurants will continue through February.
“Over the next six months, the county will be working to create longer-term solutions that apply the lessons learned from [temporary outdoor seating areas] to permanent zoning regulations for outdoor seating,” the county said.
Ongoing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 remain as well. Vaccination clinics are still open at the Arlington and Walter Reed community centers, and free testing is still underway at kiosks around the county.
And to that point, the county reminded residents that the pandemic is not over.
“We encourage everyone to continue using layered prevention strategies — wear a mask, get tested if exposed or symptomatic, get vaccinated, follow isolation and quarantine guidance, and get COVID-19 treatment if and when necessary,” it said.