Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam surprised residents on Monday when he announced he's ready to set the state in motion for Phase One of the White House's reopening plan. At a press conference on Monday, the governor indicated that he plans to start on May 15.
Phase One means that establishments like restaurants, hair salons, and farmers markets can reopen, so long as they maintain social distancing guidelines. For restaurants that means fewer seating and greater distance between diners, as well as face masks for all employees.
"We will reopen next Friday," Northam said.
NEW >> @GovernorVA Reopening Guidance;— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) May 4, 2020
• “Next week” soonest Virginia can enter Phase 1 of its reopening
• You’ll be able to get a haircut, but you need an appointment
• Restaurants will OPEN with servers wearing face coverings@WUSA9 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/irYqe6YA3h
The governor will also be easing limits on business and faith communities. The first phase will last about three weeks and still prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. Northam did extend his Executive Order 53, which restricts non-essential business, but only to help those businesses prepare for their reopening, he explained. Phase Two will further loosen restrictions. Should both of those stages go to plan, Northam predicts Virginians can begin to return to life as normal in July.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also plans a phased reopening starting on May 15, while states like California are set to put the process in motion even sooner. Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he sees The Golden State entering the inaugural phase by the end of this week.
Some notes on the Newsom presser:— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) May 4, 2020
- moving into a BIG testing and tracing program by redeploying state employees. Training with UCSF and UCLA
- moving to phase 1 by the end of the week. Opening up some retail.
- giving authority to local health officials with county supervisors
Northam had previously issued a stay-at-home order until June 10.
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