MCLEAN, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Reopening is getting closer in Virginia, but it will look different in different parts of the state.
Northern Virginia will likely move at a slower pace than the rest of the state because of its higher rates of COVID-19.
The issue is, in reopening Virginia’s economy, one size won’t fit all.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says that he’s still confident that they can enter phase 1 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on May 15 – and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine – the state’s former governor – says Northam has a realistic approach.
“That’s critical to people’s health but it’s also critical to the economy Tom because if the Governor re-opens too soon and there’s a second wave of coronavirus so serious we have to close down again, then if he tries to reopen again it’s “You reopened too soon last time! “ Kaine said.
The Virginia Republican Party has been pressing to have rural Virginia opened up already – and State GOP spokesman John March issued a statement saying Kayne should have “understood the Commonwealth he’s supposed to represent.”
Rural areas of Virginia questioned remaining closed when their COVID-19 numbers remained low.
Northam says he needs to see a two-week decline in cases to start re-opening – but local governments in Northern Virginia could keep some restrictions in place.
Local business owners in McLean – like restaurants and wine shops – say the shutdown hasn’t been easy. But there’s some concern that if Northern Virginia opens too quickly, there could be costs beyond dollars and cents.
“My biggest concern is they open everything up and there’s a huge spike and then we’d be back at square one again. That’s my biggest concern. Going through all this stuff over again,” McLean Family Restaurant manager Peter Kapetanakis
“We’ve got to lag everyone else in re-opening because I want to limit the contact from people outside the business with our staff to keep them healthy so we CAN keep operating and keep serving our customers,” said Doug House of Chain Bridge Cellars.
Fairfax County Board Chair Jeff McKay took part in a regional conference call with the governor today.
In a statement to FOX 5 he said more details will be released tomorrow, but while this won’t be a town-by-town decision, McKay says he’s asked Northam to keep open lines of communication with D.C. and Maryland when the decision is made.