Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday businesses across the state could reopen as early as next Friday.
“To be clear, we are not entering Phase 1 today or this week,” he said.
Northam is extending an executive order mandating that some nonessential businesses close for another week, until May 15. The order, which closed some businesses and severely restricts how others operate, was set to expire May 8.
As of Monday, there are 19,492 positive cases of the coronavirus and 684 deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s website. The African American population has 3,469 cases (26 percent) and 157 deaths (27 percent) while the Latino population has 4,039 cases (45 percent) and 40 deaths (7 percent).
Here are the local numbers:
Northam outlined a three-phase approach to reopen the state, including guidelines for restaurants, non-essential business such as hair salons and recreation facilities like gyms.
He added he would extend Executive Order 53 to May 15 and adjust the stay-at-home order to “safer at home rather than stay at home.”
Each phase is expected to last three weeks.
- No social gatherings of more than 10 individuals
- Continued social distancing
- Continued teleworking
- Easing limits on business and faith community
- Phase I: 2-4 weeks or more
Business: Phase 1
- Physical distancing
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting
- Enhanced workplace safety
- Phase 1: 2-4 weeks or more
- More guidelines published later
Northam said Virginians can make hair salon appointments, eat at restaurants, visit retail establishments, go the gym, visit farmers markets and go to church.
However, the entities will have social distancing guidelines such as seating customers farther apart from one another, operate at a lower capacity and employees will wear face coverings.
- Stay at home for vulnerable population
- No social gathering of more than 50 individuals
- Continued social distancing
- Continued telework
- Face coverings recommended in public
- Further easing business limitations
It’s unclear what Phase 3 will look like.
When asked if Northam would re-open rural areas or other parts of Virginia, he said plans to “do this as a commonwealth rather than do this by region,” adding he feels people will probably travel to areas that are open.
Some facilities like campgrounds may reopen and more guidelines are expected this week.
“The message today is we will reopen Virginia next Friday,” he added.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Northam said Virginia has enough.
- Battelle units: Blacksburg up and running, Richmond and Newport News running this week.
- Physicians: Friday webinar regarding COVID-19 testing.
- Unemployment: Virginia Employment Commission is waiting for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor for people who are collecting unemployment and may not feel safe returning back to work.
- Contact tracers: Virginia is hiring hundreds of case workers at VDH and more than 1,000 contact tracers.
- Mixed drinks: Available for take-out, curbside pick up or delivery until restaurants operate at full capacity.
- Resilience Week Virginia: Find virtual events, training for kids and other resources here.
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