Gov. Northam details Phase One of reopening VA, allows for possibility of return to shutdown

At this afternoon's press conference from Richmond, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam shed light on more details regarding Phase One of the plan to reopen the state in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While May 15 is the current target date to begin Phase One, Northam stated that if the COVID-19 statistics show a trend in the wrong direction afterward, he would look into the possibility of retracting the easing of restrictions and going back to the tighter mandates that have been in place since mid-March. 

Restriction details of Phase One as they affect specific business types include the following: 

  • Non-essential Retail: Open to 50 percent capacity. 
  • Restaurants and Beverage Services: Takeout and delivery service. Outdoor-only seating at 50 percent capacity.
  • Entertainment and Amusement: Closed.
  • Fitness Centers: Limited to outdoor activity. 
  • Beaches: Exercise and fishing only. 
  • Churches: Limited to 50 percent capacity. 
  • Personal Grooming: Appointment only. Must wear face covering. 
  • Private Campgrounds: Open with social distancing between camp sites. 
  • State Parks: Daytime use only. Overnight use in phases. 
  • Overnight Summer Camps: Closed. 
  • Child Care: Open for working families. 

In all situations, gatherings are still limited to a maximum of 10 people. Social distancing requirement of six feet is still in effect.

Working from home and wearing face coverings in public are still strongly encouraged. 

If all goes well, Phase One will last two weeks or longer before moving on to Phase Two of the three-phase plan. 

Northam reminded Virginians that the COVID-19 coronavirus is still present and may be around for months or even years to come, and that the government is not "opening the flood gates" with the beginning of Phase One. He stated that when reopening begins, following safety guidelines such as social distancing and hand washing are even more important to maintaining the slowdown of the virus as more people will be out and about. 

To view Gov. Northam's entire press conference online, visit his official Twitter page for the video.