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Virginia to move into Phase Three of reopening on July 1

Ralph Northam.PNG
Posted at 2:18 PM, Jun 23, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. - In a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Virginia will enter Phase 3 of reopening on Wednesday, July 1.

The announcement comes roughly three and a half weeks of the Commonwealth being in Phase 2. Gov. Northam said state officials are continuing to follow the data and are monitoring reports of surges in cases in other states.

Last week, state officials outlined what Phase 3 will look like. It still means it is safer at home, especially for vulnerable people. Telework is still strongly encouraged, and physical distancing outside your home is still important in Phase 3.

Face coverings will also still be needed inside public places.

Click here for business sector guidelines for Phase Three.

News 3 asked for clarification from the Department of Health and the Governor's office in regards to the capacity limit on restaurants. We have been told there is not a capacity limit as long as restaurants maintain 6 feet of social distancing between tables.

Here is what will change for businesses and social activities:

  • Social gatherings can have 250 people
  • Cap on non-essential retail and restaurants and beverage services will lift
  • Zoos, and other entertainment places can open with 50% with capacity with a max of 1000 people
  • Gyms can operate at 75% capacity
  • Personal grooming businesses will still need to follow social distance guidelines
  • Childcare services can open
  • Overnight summer camps still closed
  • Rec sports can continue with social distancing
  • Pools can open at 75% capacity with social distancing

Business mandatory requirements:

Businesses must strictly adhere to the physical distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, and enhanced workplace safety practices provided in the “Guidelines for All Business Sectors” document. They must also adhere to the following additional requirements:

  • Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in their prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment.
  • Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high risk individuals, and staying home if sick (samples at bottom of this document).
  • Occupancy cannot exceed the lesser of 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable, or 1000 patrons.
  • All private bookings are limited to no more than 250 people
  • Ten feet of physical distance must be maintained between all performers, participants, and patrons who are not members of the same household.
  • All shared items must be cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • Remove or deactivate all shared objects and interactive exhibits/events to discourage congregating and reduce contact with high-touch surfaces.
  • Outdoor queue lines should follow physical distancing guidelines, allowing for six feet of separation between persons who are not members of the same household.
  • Create a guest flow plan of modified queue lines to and within the facility. Determine areas likely to become bottlenecks or pinch points and adjust guest flow accordingly.
  • Install visible markers for queue lines that separate people by six feet of physical distance. Sample markers are available in the VDH Business Toolkit.
  • Create and display physical distancing communication tools, including static signs, kiosks, audio announcements, or video announcements. Signage should include the requirement to wear face coverings at all times and to maintain six feet of physical distance between people who do not reside in the same household. Sample signage is available in the VDH Business Toolkit.
  • Reconfigure seating areas to allow six feet of physical distance between individuals by eliminating and closing select tables or seating areas, or by spreading them out to allow for adequate spacing.
  • Ensure facility exits are configured to reduce the occurrence of bottlenecks and large gatherings.
  • Where possible, install sneeze guards in front of commonly used point-of-sale or guest service stations.
  • On site retail, recreation and fitness, cabins, and food establishments must follow the requirements and guidelines specific to those establishments.
  • Employees working in customer-facing areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as using CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.
  • Provide hand washing or sanitizing stations for guests and employees.

Related links:

Gov. Northam prohibits bar seating in restaurants as Virginia moves into Phase Three

Virginia Beach restaurant looks for fresh start with Phase Three, readies new menu

More parents requesting information about home schooling options

As COVID-19 cases rise around the country, Virginia prepares to enter Phase Three

New rules for Virginia restaurants in Phase Three