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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