Thursday, September 28, 2023

Virginia enters Phase 3 Wednesday. Here’s what that means

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

Virginia will enter Phase 3 Wednesday, which means most restrictions will be relaxed on businesses and residents.

The third phase of Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan still calls for residents to remain “safer-at-home” to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those who venture out are required to wear a face covering in indoor public settings.

Social distancing, teleworking and frequent hand-washing are still encouraged by the governor’s office and health experts.

Under Phase 3 guidelines, the following restrictions will be in place across Virginia:

  • The maximum size of group gatherings will be increased from 50 to 250 people.
  • Restaurants and non-essential retailers will be allowed to operate at full capacity, but must maintain six feet between tables for seated patrons.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues limited to 1,000 people.
  • Entertainment venues (zoos, museums) will now be able to allow a number of guests up to 50 percent of their listed capacity indoors, and the allowed capacity for gyms and fitness centers will increase from 30 to 70 percent.
  • Personal grooming services will now be fully open, rather than by appointment only.

Virginia’s rate of new daily cases of COVID-19 has been falling since the end of May. The state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases is 542 as of Tuesday, and has remained below 550 since June 14.

Northam said low daily case counts and number of hospitalizations have made him feel comfortable moving the state into Phase 3.

Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of individuals 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 decline as testing increases, according to the governor’s office.

Statewide, 62,787 cases have been reported since the pandemic began, with 1,763 resulting deaths.

Phase 3 guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

Click here for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.


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