VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach released guidelines and information on what is available during Phase 1 of Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia plan.
The guidance comes on the first day of the state reopening and one day after the City Council voted to allow restaurants to expand seating outdoors during COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased activity is allowed in several areas including:
- Restaurants are allowed to provide service in outdoor seating areas at 50% capacity.
- Non-essential retail businesses can open at 50% capacity
- Personal grooming businesses can open by appointment only
- Private campgrounds can open
- Overnight use of state parks will be introduced in phases
Many aspects of Phase I remain unchanged from what has been in place for the last several weeks. This includes:
- Beaches are restricted to exercise and fishing only
- Entertainment and public amusement facilities remain closed
- Fitness and exercise facilities remain closed (outdoor fitness classes allowed)
- Gatherings limited to 10 people
- Schools and overnight summer camps remain closed
- Teleworking and wearing face coverings are strongly encouraged
- Childcare is open for working families
“It has been a long few weeks for all of us, and while we still have a long road ahead before we regain some semblance of normal activity, we welcome this important first step,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer.
“We have to be smart, savvy and safe so we can continue to make progress, which includes working with the Governor to develop plans that meet the guidelines for lessening restrictions,” he continued. “In addition to opening up the beaches to more leisurely activities, we want to be able to reopen facilities like recreation centers and libraries and see continued expansion of economic activity in our businesses, restaurants and hotels.”
The city will be using local event management company IMGoing to help manage a program that includes cleaning high-touch surfaces, educating guests on how to enjoy the beach with physical distancing, and reinforcing healthy guidelines through interactions with Beach Ambassadors.
“While our beaches are great places to exercise, we want people to be able to visit and just sit, relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean,” said Deputy City Manager Ron Williams, who is overseeing the City’s recovery initiatives. “To do that, we are focusing on ways to make it safe for our residents, visitors and the thousands of frontline staff who are waiting to welcome everyone to Virginia Beach, the best coastal community on the Atlantic coast.”
The first batch of posters featuring safety messages will be posted soon and the first group of Beach Ambassadors will begin training and familiarizing themselves with our beaches this weekend, according to city officials.
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