Virginia Issues Timeline for Gradual Re-Opening

Earlier this week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia may be able to move to “phase one” of the commonwealth’s Forward Virginia re-opening plan as soon as next Friday. He added that the state would give at least two weeks of time to assess progress before advancing to less restrictive phases.

Under Executive Order 53, auto sales and repair businesses have been allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, so long as they adhere to social distancing regulations for customers and staff, and limit patron capacity to no more than 10 people at any time.

Gov. Northam’s shift to “phase one,” if actually implemented next week, would likely allow other currently-shuttered businesses like hair salons, some restaurants, and certain businesses, to reopen, while continuing to encourage telework wherever possible. It will also be “recommended” that Virginians continue wearing face masks while visiting public spaces, though we currently lack details on whether there will be actual enforcement of that guidance the way there is in Maryland.

According to the governor, the restriction on gatherings of more than 10 people would continue the phase-one reopening, likely meaning that the current patron restrictions will be extended as well. Maryland and D.C., which have been working with Virginia and North Carolina on a coordinated response effort, have not issued more details on when their jurisdictions would relax some of their current restrictions.

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