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As the world continues to battle against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to take this opportunity to express my genuine concern for everyone in our community. Please know that Reston Association’s employees are working to do their part to ensure that we all remain as safe as possible during this pandemic. All of us at RA join with our members in gratefully recognizing the daily dauntless and often courageous actions of Reston’s first responders, medical personnel and those individuals keeping our grocery stores stocked and remaining open. Their efforts on our behalf are very much respected and valued by everyone of us at RA.
Since my last letter to you on March 16, the association has taken a variety of measures to be in compliance with both state mandates and respectful of the collective spirit of all Restonians who are selflessly abiding by the recommendations of public health experts. The association is adhering to guidance from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) by encouraging social distancing. We have communicated these important recommendations and statewide orders, and how they impact Reston, through various channels including the strategic placement of signs and electronic communications sent directly to our members.
Much of what RA does is essential for the Reston community. Life has dramatically shifted for each and every one of us. Lifestyle changes, connections with those around us and everyday joys, have been altered and we are experiencing a new norm. Successfully navigating this historic event will depend on how each of us manage our days. With that in mind, we are continuing to safely maintain our parklands, trails, and facilities. To that end we recognize that our open spaces and pathways are important for the physical and mental health of all our members and the important reason we are working diligently to keep them open and safe.
The core business of the association continues. Many capital projects are proceeding safely within both the Governor’s executive orders and policies as well as CDC guidelines. This includes the dredging and dock replacement at Lake Anne, which is well underway. Other board approved and budgeted 2020 capital projects are in final planning stages and will be initiated as soon as practical. This will of course be impacted on when our economy is fully open and availability of material supplies needed for these projects. The design review process is occurring on a weekly basis and home inspections are being done in timely fashion thanks to our dedicated employees and the flexibility of members.
Of course, we have made adjustments where necessary. Our programming staff is making contingency plans for later starts for various events and activities. Pools, for instance, will not open on time this year. However, we do plan to have aquatics facilities up and running at some point during the summer if conditions are safe and governmental regulations permit.
The association is also looking at a variety of ways to reduce expenses. Because RA, like most businesses and associations, is anticipating a revenue shortfall as a result of the pandemic, we are actively implementing cost-cutting measures.
To keep everyone safe, public meetings of committees and boards have been canceled or held virtually via various online platforms such as YouTube and Zoom. This will continue until Gov. Northam and the CDC declare it safe for groups to gather or social distancing rules are removed.
On March 27, we approved extending the due date for members to pay their annual assessment fee, giving them an extra month. We are also offering refunds on recreation passes to anyone who calls our Member Services team.
Member Services is still serving residents by working from home. Like most of our staff, the team is using various technologies to do their jobs remotely. This has enabled the association to continue functioning at a high level without jeopardizing the health of employees or members who may need assistance. I urge all members who are in need of information to call our Member Services team Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional contacts can be found on the RA website.
Please also be aware, like all businesses maneuvering through these challenging times, we are trying new ways to operate, serve our members and be more efficient. We are learning. As we move out of this crisis, we will evaluate what we have learned and where practical, begin implementing new operational methods if it provides improved service to our membership and improves budgetary efficiency.
As we continue to monitor this extremely fluid situation with COVID-19, we are diligently reviewing local, state and federal directives that may impact how we carry out operations moving forward. As I previously shared, the safety of our members and employees remains at the forefront of how we navigate through these challenging times. As we proceed, please know that I very much appreciate the cooperation and mindfulness of all Restonians. And I remain confident we will emerge from this crisis as a stronger community and a better association.