Governor Northam outlines Virginia’s plan for rem

Lindsay Greenspan, Staff Writer

 

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Though experts argue that it is much too soon for nonessential businesses to be opening their doors, many states are easing their lockdown restrictions. This leaves many Virginians wondering when the state will begin its path to the “new normal.” On Monday, May 4th, Governor Ralph Northam gave out guidelines to the state procedures for reopening.

 

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Statewide business closures will continue through May 14, however, restrictions may be lessened after this date. This applies to all nonessential businesses, which have been either shut down or severely affected. The governor detailed three phases of reopening for the state while stressing that his decisions are to benefit the health of all, as other states begin to reopen. Originally, Governor Northam had a stay-at-home order in place until June 10, however, as the economy continues to struggle and restrictions around the country relax, it seems that this was not sustainable for the commonwealth.

 

Phase One, which is set to begin on May 15, will for many people, be similar to their current situation. No gatherings of more than ten people are allowed, social distancing is mandatory, and if possible, telework is encouraged. Limitations on businesses and religious centers are to be eased, and efforts to clean and disinfect such places are to be enhanced. This phase is expected to last approximately two to four weeks, and more guidelines will be published later.

 

Phase Two will begin after it becomes clear to health officials that phase one is effective. This phase will allow gatherings of up to 50 people. However, people who identify as part of a vulnerable population, such as the elderly and the immunocompromised, are highly encouraged to stay at home. Social distancing will continue, telework will be encouraged, and face coverings will be recommended in public places.

 

Governor Northam did not give details for Phase Three, but this information will be released as Virginia draws closer to that time. The governor also acknowledged that the commonwealth will open collectively, rather than having the more rural areas relax their restrictions first. As restrictions relax, it is important to remember that the most important factor is the safety of yourself and others. Social distance, obey the orders, and stay healthy and safe!