Photography by Jonathan Timmes
The sweeping, almost-complete shutdown of Northern Virginia seemed to happen overnight. The novel coronavirus arrived in America and, for a few weeks, was something that was happening elsewhere in America. But then, there were confirmed cases in Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on March 12 and, in rapid succession, the region closed its doors. Everything from entertainment venues to schools to parks went dark, and the majority of residents went home to telework, while the region’s essential workers—from doctors to grocery store employees to delivery drivers—risked their lives to keep us healthy and fed.
As of press time, over 1,041 people have died from COVID-19 in Virginia and there are more than 32,000 confirmed cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As summer approached, Northern Virginia was just starting to attempt a return to normal. Counties and cities in the region were set to begin a phase one reopening on May 29 as part of Virginia’s phased plan to getting nonessential businesses back to work. On the following pages, a Northern Virginia Magazine photographer documented what it was like as the region abruptly shuttered, and when residents ventured out of their homes—masked up and socially distanced.
Shoppers at Fredericksburg Farmers Market on May 16.
While Tysons Corner Center, pictured here on April 6, never officially closed, most stores did, which led to ghost-town parking lots.
On April 6, Potomac Lakes Sportsplex in Sterling closed its playground equipment.
Many NoVA Metro stops closed.
Arlington County Fire Department paramedics Ben Bieber (right) and Brian Holmes transport a patient with respiratory issues from an ambulance at a hospital in Arlington on April 9.
Firefighter Scott Corder wears a mask as he collects his gear at the start of his shift at an Alexandria fire station on April 6.
A postal worker makes her rounds in Old Town Alexandria on April 11.
A pedestrian at Reston Town Center on April 6.
Long lines at Costco have become the norm. Here, a shopper leaves Costco in Fairfax on May 15.
A server at Billiken’s Smokehouse in Fredericksburg, which reopened on May 16.
Robin Fines, owner of Creative Clippers, in Fredericksburg, practices new safety precautions on May 16.
New safety protocols were posted prominently when the Fredericksburg Farmers Market reopened on May 16.
Patrons (top) and proprietors (bottom) wear masks at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market on May 16.
Potomac Point Winery & Vineyards in Stafford reopened on May 16 with new protocols in place, including masks for servers (top) and kitchen staff (bottom).
Patrons now must have a reservation and check in at Potomac Point Winery.
A server wears a mask to serve wine.