It’s been three weeks since Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Northern Virginia could enter phase one of reopening along with the rest of the commonwealth. Within those three weeks, the five jurisdictions including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Loudoun County and Prince William County have also entered phase two of reopening, and continued to see a steady drop in the number of hospitalizations across the region.
On June 18, at an afternoon press conference, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the details of the newest chapter of reopening for Virginia, including rules, restrictions and guidelines for phase three of the Forward Virginia plan.
With current rules and restrictions in phase two, it is mandatory for Virginians to wear face masks or coverings while in public spaces, restaurant capacity must stay at or under 50% with proper social distancing in place, and more.
Some of these restrictions will remain in phase three, including mandatory face coverings (as required by the emergency order), encouragement of staying home and teleworking when possible, proper social distancing in public spaces like restaurants, fitness centers and others, as well as disinfecting measures to ensure staff and public safety.
In phase three, which Northam announced is not expected any earlier than Friday, June 26, here’s what Virginians can expect to see: social gatherings will be permitted up to 250 attendees (up from the current restriction of 50), and retail stores and restaurants will no longer have to keep patrons at 50% capacity, but social distancing measures must remain in place. Entertainment spaces such as zoos, museums and more will be permitted to operate at 50% capacity, and gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity both indoors and outdoors.
Personal grooming services including barber shops and hair salons will be allowed to take walk-in guests, but only if proper face coverings and social distancing is followed. Swimming pools will also be allowed to open and operate at 75% capacity. Recreational sports will still require physical distancing, and overnight summer camps will remain closed.
With the recent surge in cases in more than a dozen states across the U.S., phase three could be postponed further than expected, especially with the Fourth of July on the horizon, and the attribution of the current infection surges to travel during Memorial Day weekend. For more details on Virginia’s current phase two reopening, click here.
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