Virginia enters Phase II of reopening this Friday

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Governor Ralph Northam

~ Press release issued by the Governor’s Office on June 2

RICHMOND — Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order 65 and presented the second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to continue safely and gradually easing public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19.

The Governor also amended Executive Order 61, directing Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond to remain in Phase I

Most of Virginia is expected to enter Phase II on Friday, June 5, as key statewide health metrics continue to show positive signs. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward as testing increases.

The Governor and Virginia public health officials will continue to evaluate data based on the indicators laid out in April. 

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” said Governor Northam. “Please continue to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. Virginians have all sacrificed to help contain the spread of this disease, and we must remain vigilant as we take steps to slowly lift restrictions in our Commonwealth.” 

Executive Order 65 modifies public health guidance in Executive Order 61 and 62 and establishes guidelines for Phase II.

Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond entered Phase I on Friday, May 29, and will remain in Phase I to allow for additional monitoring of health data.

Accomack County delayed reopening due to outbreaks in poultry plants, which have largely been controlled through rigorous testing. Accomack County will move to Phase II with the rest of the Commonwealth, on Friday, June 5.  

Under Phase II, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people.

All businesses should still adhere to physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and continue enhanced workplace safety measures. Restaurant and beverage establishments may offer indoor dining at 50-percent occupancy, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30-percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions. These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor concert, sporting and performing arts venues. Swimming pools may also expand operations to both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.  

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase II. Overnight summer camps, most indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals will also remain closed in Phase II

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Phase II guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

Phase I guidelines sectors are available here.

Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions. 

The full text of Executive Order 65 and Order of Public Health Emergency Six is available here.  

The full text of amended Executive Order 61 can be found here.

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