PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Gov. Ralph Northam cautioned Virginia could reinstate restrictions if the number of coronavirus cases spikes.
Many Hampton Roads' cities reported double digit coronavirus case increases and saw several additional deaths in multiple areas from Tuesday.
"If our numbers trend in a negative direction, in an unfavorable direction, I am not going to be shy about bringing back restrictions," he said Wednesday following a bill signing ceremony at the Skilled Trades Academy at Tidewater Community College in Portsmouth.
Virginia is entering Phase Three on Wednesday, which means less restrictions. Restaurants won't have capacity limits, but are still expected to enforce social distancing. Social gatherings can include up to 250 people.
"We are progressing very, very cautiously," said Northam.
Ahead of Phase Three, Northam prohibited people from sitting at bars and congregating around them.
"Anywhere that people have an opportunity to gather and congregate and also be talking, especially in loud settings, the volume goes up and the transmission of the virus goes up, so we are just being very cautious," he said.
With the entering of Phase Three, more and more businesses are reopening, including Waterside District in Downtown Norfolk. Waterside has made several changes to ensure social distancing and safety are followed.
"We’re glad to open. We’re glad to have our staff back, glad to have guests in the building, music playing, and some life in the building," said Jeff Bender, a General Manager.
The venue will be offering music and performances, but is taking those steps by ear. "It's going to be an evolving thing. We’ll see how things progress over time. We have options with DJ's, options with bands and such. we’re going to stick within the guidelines put forth by the governor," said Bender.