Phase Three reopening starts July 1
Next phase of reopening will allow social gatherings of up to 250 people.
Virginia will enter Phase Three of the state’s Forward Virginia reopening plan on Wednesday, July 1, ending restrictions on restaurants, retail stores and bars, among other changes, Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday.
“This gives us about three-and-a-half weeks of Phase Two where we have been able to follow the data,” Northam said during his Tuesday COVID-19 press conference. “There continue to be surges in other states, and we are monitoring that very closely.”
Northam outlined Phase Three details last Thursday during his press conference.
Phase Three details will include:
- Social gatherings of up to 250 people allowed.
- Occupancy/capacity limits will be lifted on retail stores, restaurants, bars and breweries.
- Museums, zoos and other outdoor entertainment venues will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, serving a maximum of 1,000 people.
- Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to operate at up to 75% capacity.
- Personal grooming and hair salons will still need to follow physical distancing requirements.
- Child care facilities will remain open.
- Overnight summer camps will be closed.
- Recreational sports will still require physical distancing.
- Swimming pools will be able to operate at up to 75% capacity, with physical distancing in place.
- Face coverings will still be required in indoor public spaces.
“It still means you’re safer at home, especially if you’re vulnerable” Northam said. “It means we’re still strongly encouraging teleworking. People still need to focus on physical distancing in all situations outside of their home. Face coverings are still the right thing to do in indoor, public spaces.
“I want to reiterate that everyone should continue to take this pandemic very seriously. Cases are on the rise in many other states, as I said previously. I do not want to see that happen in the commonwealth. Be cautious and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and the people around you.”
Northam also addressed ongoing concerns related to COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities. On Friday, he announced that the state had directed $246 million to these facilities for coronavirus response, with most of the funding coming from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. Northam also directed the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to publicize facility-specific COVID-19 data, including cases and deaths, starting Friday.
“This will help facilities address staffing shortages, infection control measures, PPE purchases and new periodic testing requirements,” Northam said during his Thursday news conference. VDH, in partnership with the Virginia National Guard, announced on Friday a goal to complete baseline surveys (testing all residents and staff over the same time period) of all Virginia residents by July 15. Northam is also directing VDH to release the names of all long-term care facilities that have had an outbreak. Only aggregate data had been reported.
Despite continued outbreaks, the VDH last week released guidance for phased reopening, which would ease some restrictions that have been put in place to protect residents and staff during COVID-19.
“I know that these past months have been a hard time for every resident of long-term care facilities, their families and the staffs that work there,” Northam said. “It’s difficult when you can’t see an aging parent to see how they’re doing,” he added, adding that his own 95-year-old father is currently in a long-term care facility.
“A lot of us have loved ones in long-term care facilities,” Northam said. “And one of the questions [my father] has is, ‘When can you come visit me?'” the governor said.
VDH’s recently released guidance states that during Phase Three, visitation will be allowed with screening and additional precautions. All visitors must wear masks during their visit.