Virginia Gov. Northam says salons, restaurants could open next week in limited capacity

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said on Monday that the state could begin phase one of its gradual path to reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak as early as next week.

He noted that phase one won’t be today or even this week, however.

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The Governor is extending stay-at-home guidelines through next Thursday, May 14.

He says the extension will give officials an opportunity to examine the data in hopes of initiating the phased reopening. 

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Phase one would include salons reopening, but with appointment, and protective equipment like masks; and restaurants reopening at reduced capacity and with staff wearing face coverings.

Phase one would still include strict guidelines, such as limits on social gatherings in excess of 10 people, continued social distancing and continued teleworking. In addition, people would be expected to wear face coverings in public, but business and faith community restrictions would be eased.

He stressed that Virginians will still be safer at home; and that life in the state will likely fall short of returning to normal until a vaccine is discovered.

The Governor anticipates that phase one could be two to four weeks, followed by phases three and four in three-week intervals.

On March 23, the Governor ordered all “non-essential businesses” in Virginia to close.

He also ordered that all schools should remain closed through the academic year.

The closures included restaurants – except for take-out and delivery, bars, hair salons and barbershops, casinos, racetracks, simulcast betting facilities, enclosed malls, “certain recreational establishments, and “certain recreational establishments and certain retail businesses."

Essential businesses – such as medical facilities, construction companies, or emergency services – were permitted to remain open.

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