Phase 1 of reopening begins Friday for most of Va. — Northern Va., Accomack, Richmond excluded

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Most of Virginia, excluding Northern Virginia, Accomack County and Richmond City, will move move into “phase 1” of Virginia’s coronavirus reopening plan on Friday.

Phase 1 is part of a three-phase plan — called “Forward Virginia” — to safely open the state by gradually easing public health restrictions while continuing to slow the spread of the virus. To do this, phase one lifts certain restrictions from Northam’s Executive Order Fifty-Three while keeping certain restrictions in place.

The Phase 1 guidelines released include mandatory requirements and best practices for restaurants and beverage services; farmers markets; brick and mortar retail; fitness and exercise facilities; personal care and grooming; campgrounds; and religious services.

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Retail establishments can operate at 50% occupancy, while restaurant and beverage establishments are allowed outdoor dining at 50% occupancy. Personal grooming services are allowed one patron per service provider.

Fitness centers and gyms can offer outdoor exercise services. Campgrounds may also begin taking reservations for short-term stays.

Places of worship can continue drive-in services and indoor services may be held inside at 50% capacity.

The detailed list of eased restrictions and guidelines can be read here.

Restrictions that will resume include the ban on gatherings above 10 people. Entertainment and public amusement venues will remain closed.

Beaches will be open only for exercise and fishing. Childcare centers remain open for children of working families. Overnight summer camps will remain closed in Phase 1.

Following strict social distancing guidelines along with teleworking, increased sanitization efforts, and wearing face coverings will still be in effect when possible.

“I am proud of the millions of Virginians who have stayed home and helped to flatten the curve, but our work is not done,” said Governor Northam. “These guidelines represent one step forward in a gradual process, establishing the necessary modifications to business operations to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure for employees and customers.”

He continued, “When we move into this first phase, it will be important for Virginians to act cautiously — especially our most vulnerable populations, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions.”

The entire Forward Virginia Phase 1 can be read in-depth online.

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