Governor Ralph Northam says Virginia on pace to enter phase 3 reopening next week

Governor Ralph Northam announced on Tuesday that Virginia is on pace to enter phase three of the reopening process next week.

The state has been gradually moving through its multi-phase process since initiating stay-at-home orders in March in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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According to Northam, phase three will go into effect Wednesday, July 1.

While Northern Virginia - as well as the city of Richmond - have lagged behind the rest of the state because of higher case totals, the Governor said he sees no reason why the entire Commonwealth will not enter phase three at the same time.

Northam says the state still has the pillars in place to confront the virus – including a case tracing infrastructure and hospital capacity – and that the case total continues to decline overall.

The state as a whole has been in phase two for about three weeks.

Phase three will include lifting additional restrictions on public and private spaces.


Northam stressed that Commonwealth residents must continue to take the virus seriously. No vaccine has, as yet, been developed.

The governor has already provided a look at what phase three will look like.

RELATED: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam offers glimpse of what phase 3 will look like

Last week, Northam said that, unnder phase three, social gatherings of up to 250 people will be permitted, and capacity caps on non-essential retailers and restaurants will be lifted – although safeguards and distancing will remain in place.

Entertainment venues like museums and zoos can reopen at 50 percent capacity, and with a cap on the number of people.

Gyms may open at 75 percent capacity, and personal services will still require social distancing.