In a press conference this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will enter phase three of reopening on Wednesday, July 1, just a few days before many Americans will shoot off fireworks in celebration of Fourth of July.
In short, entering phase three of Northam’s Forward Virginia plan will allow social gatherings up to 250 people, and lift capacity restrictions on retail stores and restaurants. Entertainment venues will be permitted to reopen to 50% capacity, and gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity both indoors and outdoors. For more detail, check out our phase three breakdown here. Note that mask wearing and social distancing are both still encouraged through phase three.
Although Northern Virginia was initially delayed behind the rest of the commonwealth as reopening began in May, the region has showed a steady decline in the number of cases and hospitalizations and will also be entering phase three on July 1.
News of the commonwealth’s entrance into phase three comes as the United States is seeing a rise in seven-day infection rates in over 29 states, with over 118,000 lives lost to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of June 23, Virginia has reported nearly 60,000 positive coronavirus cases (totaling 58,994 as of Tuesday morning), with 5,913 total hospitalizations and 1,645 lives lost.
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