Gov. Ralph Northam: Virginia to Begin Reopening with Strict Restrictions Next Week

Alex Edelman/Getty Images
Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) detailed guidelines on Friday for the state to begin reopening next week under strict restrictions.

Under Phase One, nonessential retail will be able to increase capacity to 50 percent, up from a ten-person limit. Churches will also be able to operate at a 50 percent capacity. Restaurants and bars will continue to offer takeout or delivery and will be able to operate outdoor seating at a 50 percent capacity — a decision the governor said officials made after engaging in a “tremendous amount of discussion with [their] restaurant owners.”

“We have had tremendous amount of discussion with our restaurant owners. A lot of their input we have listened to and taken into account and collectively we have made that decision,” Northam said on Friday.

Under Phase One, beaches will stay open for exercise and fishing only. Hair salons and barbershops will be permitted to reopen, but employees must wear masks, and customers must make appointments ahead of time.

“The restrictions on business operations such as distancing and masks are meant to protect workers as much as customers,” the governor said, emphasizing that businesses that cannot meet those restrictions “must remain closed.”

Fitness centers and entertainment venues will remain closed, although gyms are permitted to hold outside classes of less than ten:

The state is slated to enter the first phase of reopening next week, on Friday, May 15.

“In many ways it will look like what we’ve been doing,” Northam said. “While there are a few more places to go, everyone should still only go there as needed and otherwise stay home as much as possible.”

Virginia had 22,342 confirmed cases of the virus and 812 related deaths as of Saturday morning, per the Virginia Department of Health.


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