WASHINGTON - A day after delaying northern Virginia's reopening until May 29, Governor Ralph Northam told FOX 5 that when the region does reopen it will do so collectively.
Northam, who spoke with FOX 5's Steve Chenevey Wednesday morning, said leaders of Loudoun, Prince William, Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria counties will move forward with reopening plans together as a team.
On Tuesday, the governor signed an executive order extending the mandated closures and restrictions on businesses in northern Virginia saying regional officials said they were not yet ready to reopen.
The governor said Virginia is trying to operate consistently with Washington, D.C. and Maryland and said his office communicates almost daily with the offices of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. "I couldn't ask for a better relationship with all of the leaders in northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C., and we'll move forward as best we can together," he said.
The planned first phase of reopening for the rest of the state is set for Friday. Phase one will allow some retail businesses to reopen with limited capacity. Indoor gyms would remain closed, beaches would remain closed to sunbathers and restaurants would still be prohibited from indoor dine-in service.
Northam encouraged northern Virginia residents to continue to visit doctors, dentists and other essential providers for health care needs. He also urged tenants to seek government loans and to reach out to landlords if they are unable to make timely payments. "One of things that I've been impressed with, Steve, is that people across Virginia -- and really across this country -- have been willing to work with individuals," Northam said.
Northam said ultimately, the decision to reopen Virginia will rest on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases, hospital capacity, and the amount of personal protective equipment available to medical responders.