Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Five things you need to know: Phase 1 reopening

Some stores, bars and restaurants plan to reopen across Virginia on Friday. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)
Some stores, bars and restaurants plan to reopen across Virginia on Friday. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)

You might see more people out and about on the Peninsula.

Gov. Ralph Northam previously announced most of the state would enter Phase 1 of reopening Friday.

Northam on Thursday delayed Phase 1 for Richmond and Accomack County — both localities requested the extensions. They will enter Phase 1 no earlier than midnight on May 28.

Much of Northern Virginia also will delay Phase 1 for two weeks.

But what exactly is Phase 1 and who does it affect?

WYDaily compiled some information so you won’t scratch your head wondering why people are shopping in stores, getting their hair cut, drinking on restaurant patios or going to church.

  1. What is Phase 1? It’s the first step in Northam’s plan to reopen during the coronavirus: Forward Virginia. The plan is made up of three parts or phases, each with its own set of restrictions and lasting anywhere from two to four weeks. Phase 1 lets the following places open Friday with 50 percent capacity: non-essential retail shops, outdoor seating at restaurants and bars and indoor seating at houses of worship. In addition, other places can open with some restrictions.
  2. What information did Northam use to determine Virginia could enter Phase 1? Northam said his decision is based on health metrics such as the downward trend of the percentage of positive COVID-19 cases over two weeks, the number of people hospitalized, hospital bed capacity, the number of people on ventilators and the amount of personal protective equipment available. So while the cases continue to increase as more people get tested or the tests results are published, Northam is primarily looking at the number of test that come back positive or rather the percent of tests that are positive.
  3. Who does this affect? Everyone. Want to get your hair cut? Make an appointment with your favorite hair salon or barber shop, but make sure you and your stylist wear a face mask. Does your gym have outdoor classes? You can now participate with social distancing measures, of course. Love exploring nature or walking around outside? State parks are open during the day and beaches are still open for exercising and fishing.
  4. Why should I care? Malls and other boutiques are now open for businesses. Restaurants can now seat people outside and campgrounds may open with restrictions and distancing between campsites. Still don’t care? If you or someone you know is considered “essential” and has children, childcare centers are open for families.
  5. Anything else I should know? Some rules still apply. People, especially vulnerable populations like elderly or immunocompromised, are safer at home. Social gatherings of 10 or more people aren’t allowed. Face coverings are recommended in public and people are still encouraged to continue teleworking and practice social distancing.


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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