Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Restaurants can open indoor dining Friday as the state enters Phase 2 reopening

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

Restaurants in the state that are now confined to pick-up and outdoor dining will breathe some sigh of relief Friday.

Gov. Ralph Northam during a news conference Tuesday announced the state’s entry into Phase 2 reopening Friday – much of the state has been in Phase 1 since May 15.

Phase 2 means restaurants will be allowed to open indoor dining at 50 percent capacity.

Virginians will also be able to go to gatherings of fewer than 50 people (it was no more than 10 during Phase 1). Northam signed Executive Order 65, Phase 2 of the state’s Forward Virginia plan.

Under Phase 2, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30 percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions. These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor concert, sporting, and performing arts venues. Swimming pools may also expand operations to both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase 2. Overnight summer camps, most indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals will also remain closed in Phase 2.

Still, the governor emphasized the importance of social distancing and encouraged Virginians to wear masks and to telework as much as possible.

Northam continued his plea of “safer at home.”

Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward as testing increases. Northam said he and Virginia public health officials will continue to evaluate data based on the indicators laid out in April.

Here are the numbers Tuesday from the Virginia Department of Health.

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” Northam said in a news release. “Please continue to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. Virginians have all sacrificed to help contain the spread of this disease, and we must remain vigilant as we take steps to slowly lift restrictions in our Commonwealth.”

Details of Phase 2 can be found here.

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John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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