Virginia will enter phase three of the coronavirus restrictions lifting on Wednesday, July 1, Governor Ralph Northam announced.
Virginia will enter Phase Three of the coronavirus restrictions lifting on Wednesday, July 1, Governor Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
Northern Virginia and Richmond have generally lagged behind the rest of the community when it comes to taking steps to lift the restrictions, but asked if they would also enter Phase Three on July 1, Northam said: “Until I listen in a manner different, they will advance. “
“I will listen” if leaders in those areas have concerns, the governor said, but “from what I have heard, they intend to move forward with the rest of the state.”
Northam said he made the move because “across the state, our data continues to look good.” He added that cases and hospitalizations decreased while tests increased and the percentage of tests that tested positive was 6.4%. There is enough personal protective equipment for hospitals and other health centers, and around 1,000 contact trackers also work.
The following changes will be made in Phase Three:
- Capacity limits for non-essential retailers and restaurants will be removed, although social distancing is still required
- Entertainment venues, such as zoos and amusement parks, can reopen to 50% of the capacity of up to 1,000 people.
- Gyms can move at 75% of capacity
- Childcare facilities will be open
- The pools may be opened to 75% of their capacity.
Summer night camps will remain closed.
Facial covers will still be required, and teleworking and physical distancing will be encouraged.
The Governor’s website has detailed information on Phase Three, including guidance for various business sectors.
“Everyone should continue to take this pandemic very seriously,” Northam said. “Cases are on the rise in other states … I don’t want to see that in our community.”
The announcement came on a day that Virginia reported its highest death toll in three weeks. Health official Dr. Norman Oliver said deaths are “a lagging indicator,” as cases are reported in a matter of days, while deaths are reported “many days later.” Positivity, hospitalizations, and cases are “more sensitive” measures, which tend to decline.
When asked if a bad turn in the numbers would lead to the new enforcement of regulations, Northam said, “Obviously if we see sudden increases in the community,” it is possible to return to Phase Two or even Phase One.
He said progress “is in all of our hands; we all have a responsibility” to keep washing our hands and distancing ourselves. Northam, however, said he made the decision to move forward due to the degree to which Virginians have followed safety guidelines. as well as the “wonderful work” done by hospitals and the increased testing capacity.
Nursing Home Names
Northam also said that $ 246 million, mostly from the Federal CARES Act, would be available to long-term care facilities for testing, protective equipment and other factors.
He added that the names of nursing homes that have experienced outbreaks would be released.
The Virginia Department of Health coronavirus website would have the names of nursing homes that have had outbreaks, including cases and deaths, with the exception of “very small numbers [which] they are suppressed to protect the privacy of the patient, “said Dr. Laurie Forlano, director of the state epidemiology office.
Northam said the move came in response to “a lot of misinformation coming out of Washington,” specifically the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Protests in Richmond
As protests and violence continue in Richmond, Northam said he would meet with Richmond protesters “in a safe environment” to discuss “what they want to move forward with.”
The grounds of the Robert E. Lee memorial in Richmond are now closed overnight.
“The vast majority [of protests] We have been very peaceful, “said Northam,” and we are all very supportive. But after the sun goes down, there seems to be a different agenda. “
He added: “It is no longer clear what [protesters’] objectives are the ways to achieve them
Northam ordered the Lee monument to be torn down, but the move comes to a halt in a legal challenge.
Zeke Hartner of WTOP contributed to this report.
More news from Coronavirus
Looking for more information? DC, Maryland and Virginia publish more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | DC
Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to start a conversation about this article and others.
Receive breaking news and daily headlines in your email inbox by registering here.
© 2020 WTOP. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.