RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Northam announced Friday he anticipates and hopes to start Phase One of reopening Virginia on May 15.
Phase One does ease restrictions on some businesses, but Northam said he wants to reassure Virginians that we are not opening the flood gates right away as the virus is still in our communities.
The current "stay at home" order becomes a "safer at home" order in Phase One, Northam said. Residents, especially those at higher risk like the elderly or those who have underlying conditions, should still stay home as much as possible.
He said people should still telework when possible and stay at least six feet apart from one another.
In Phase One, beaches are still only open for exercise and fishing. Northam said restrictions will ease on beaches but first we need a plan for cleaning, keeping social distancing and enforcement of these steps.
Here is a list of what Phase One looks like:
- Non- essential retail open with 50% capacity
- Restaurants and beverage services - takeout and delivery; outdoor seating at 50% capacity
- Entertainment and public amusement - closed
- Fitness and exercise - closed (limited to outdoor classes)
- Beaches - exercise and fishing only
- Gatherings - 10 person limit
- Teleworking - strongly encouraged
- Face coverings - strongly encouraged
- Childcare - open for working families
- Places of worship - drive in services; 50% capacity
- Personal grooming - appointment only
- Private campgrounds - open
- Overnight summer camps - closed
- State parks - Day use; overnight in phases
- Schools - closed
During Thursday's city council meeting, Virginia Beach city leaders expressed optimism the beaches could reopen during Phase One, but Northam left beaches out. City leaders have proposed hiring ambassadors to help enforce social distancing on the beaches.
Northam didn't provide a date on when he thought they might be able to reopen. "I think everybody has to realize we are dealing with a new normal and so we know that anytime people get together - gatherings of more than 10 people - that's when the risk of spread grows," he said.