NORTHERN VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Gov. Northam said Virginia won’t move into Phase 3 this week, though the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to trend in a positive direction.

“We are going to be cautious and careful and watch the data for a little while longer before we move forward,” said Northam.

Phase 3 would begin June 26 at the earliest. When Virginia does go to Phase 3, here’s what that means:

  • Gatherings of up to 250 people can occur (Phase 2 allows up to 50)
  • Cap on restaurants, retail lifted with physical distancing still required
  • Zoos, museums can open at 50%
  • Gym and fitness centers can go up to 75% of capacity
  • Hair salons — physical distancing will still be required
  • Overnight summer camps will still be closed

Phase 3 Guidelines vs Phase 2 Guidelines

Meanwhile face coverings will still be required for indoor public spaces. Gov. Northam pointed to studies showing their effectiveness.

“While we may not have the same spike in infections that many states are seeing right now, Virginians need to remain cautious and do the things that we know reduce transmission: wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. This virus is still with us, and we must continue to adapt our lives around it and ensure we are keeping our vulnerable communities safe,” Northam said.

COVID-19 continues to impact people of color, Latinx community

Thursday’s press conference focused on Virginia’s Latinx community, which accounts for 45% of Virginia’s COVID-19 cases, despite being only about 10% of the state’s population. Latinx account for just more than 10% of COVID-19 deaths statewide.

“We are directing free community testing events to areas with large Latino populations, particularly in communities with a large number of uninsured people,” Northam said.

Much of Thursday’s press conference, which was held in Northern Virginia instead of Richmond, was spoken in Spanish.

Northam says the disproportionate impact on the Latinx community can be attributed to lack of insurance and workplaces that don’t allow social distancing.

He says the state is expanding outreach to Latinx and Black communities, handing out kits with masks, hand sanitizer and educational materials. Medicaid is working to get people enrolled and Northam says the state is working to help undocumented people. “We’re not checking papers…we just want to help you and your families to stay healthy.”

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