Most of Virginia Will Start Phase Two of Re-Opening on Friday, Governor Says

Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at a May 22 press conference.

By Stefanie Jackson – Gov. Ralph Northam signed executive order 65 today, which will ease business restrictions on Friday, June 5, when most localities will enter Phase Two of his Forward Virginia plan to safely reopen the state’s economy.

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” Northam said of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down businesses around the world.

“Please continue to wear a face mask, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms,” the governor advised.

Accomack County delayed entering Phase One due to COVID-19 outbreaks in poultry plants, which “have largely been controlled through rigorous testing,” allowing Accomack to enter Phase Two on Friday, according to a press release.

Northern Virginia and Richmond, Va., will remain in Phase One until those areas experience positive changes in their data trends.

Phase Two will allow the maximum number of people allowed at a public gathering to increase from 10 to 50.

Restaurants and beverage establishments may offer 50% of their indoor seating capacity to guests.

Fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30% capacity.

Swimming pools may offer both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swimming instruction.

Recreation and entertainment venues that do not have shared equipment may open with restrictions. These include sports and performing arts venues, outdoor concerts, botanical gardens, zoos, aquariums, and museums.

Most indoor entertainment venues will remain closed in addition to overnight summer camps, amusement parks, carnivals, and fairs.

The current guidelines for religious services, nonessential retail stores, and personal grooming services will remain largely unchanged.

Churches and other houses of worship may hold indoor services at 50% capacity. Nonessential retail stores may also operate at 50% capacity. Salons and barber shops may serve one client at a time, by appointment only.

“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,” Northam said.

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