Virginia Gov Ralph Northam stresses caution going into phase 3 tomorrow

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said his administration is stressing caution as the state heads into phase three of the reopening process.

With states like Florida setting new records for COVID-19 cases after reopening, Northam told FOX 5’s Steve Chenevey that he’s watching spikes and cautioning Virginians to exercise vigilance.

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“We are continuing to encourage Virginians to follow the guidelines, to wear facial protection, social distancing – maintaining that six feet between each other – frequent handwashing. In order for us to move forward, we need to continue to do that. And I would say Virginians have done very well. We’re where we are today with our hospitalizations, our PPE, our ability to test, our ability to trace case – we’re there because Virginians have followed the guidelines, and I expect them to continue to do that,” the governor said.

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Northam added that if health officials and the administration begins to see a spike in cases or similarly discouraging indicators, they may need to implement restrictions again.

“I don’t want to go there, but that’s the reality,” Northam said.
Virginia implemented stay-at-home orders in March when the novel coronavirus initially broke out in the region.

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Under the guidelines, “non-essential” businesses closed in an effort to slow the spread.

Since then, the state has established the pillars the CDC recommends be in place before reopening.

Phase three of Virginia’s reopening process will further relax restrictions.

Under 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.