Friday, December 8, 2023

Northam: Phase 1 reopening will be ‘slow, cautious and deliberate’

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

Gov. Ralph Northam said Friday he anticipates starting Phase 1 on reopening Virginia on May 15, but cautioned the process will be gradual and many restrictions will remain in place for at least several more weeks.

“In many ways, it will look like what we’ve been doing,” he said.

Northam said he based the decision on health metrics such as the number of positive cases, personal protective equipment shortages in hospitals, bed capacity in hospitals, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and the number of those on ventilators.

Northam said at a Friday news conference the planned reopening will be slow, cautious and deliberate.

The main indicator of entering Phase 1 is the downward trend of positive tests for two weeks, he noted.

Northam compared Phase 1 to dimming the lights as opposed to flipping a switch and cautioned residents, especially seniors and those with underlying heath conditions, to be careful since there is still no cure for the virus.

“The reality is the virus is still in our community and we need to continue our vigilance,” the governor said.

There are 22,432 positive cases of the coronavirus and 812 deaths as of Friday, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s website. The African American population has 3,831 cases and 182 deaths while the Latino population has 5,857 cases and 52 deaths.

Here are the local numbers:

The latest numbers of positive coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the Virginia Department of Health. (WYDaily/ Julia Marsigliano)
The latest numbers of positive coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the Virginia Department of Health. (WYDaily/ Julia Marsigliano)

Phase 1

  • Safer at home – especially if you are vulnerable.
  • No social gatherings of more than 10 individuals.
  • Continued social distancing.
  • Continued teleworking.
  • Face coverings recommended in public.
  • Revised business limitations.
  • Last a minimum of two weeks, up to four weeks.


  • Non-essential retail: Open with 50 percent capacity.
  • Restaurants and beverages services: takeout and delivery options. Outdoor seating 50 percent capacity.
  • Entertainment and Amusement: Closed.
  • Fitness and Exercise: Closed, limited to outdoor fitness.
  • Beaches: Exercise and fishing only.
  • Places of worship: Drive-in services. 50 percent indoor capacity.
  • Personal grooming: Appointments only. Strict social distancing and face coverings required.
  • Private campgrounds: May open with restrictions or distance between campsites.
  • State parks: Day use, overnight in phases.
  • Child care: Open for working families.
  • Overnight summer camps: Closed.

Other updates

  • Personal Protective Equipment: shipment arrived in Chicago. Unclear what materials and how many were ordered.
  • Nursing homes: National Guard is deploying to stay on top of outbreaks.
  • Unemployment: More than 500,000 have filed for unemployment.
  • Employees feeling unsafe at work should contact the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Testing capacity: Unclear when 10,000 tests a day goal will be reached.
  • Contact tracers: 385 at VDH. 1,000 expected to be hired.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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