ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7)-- After two months of business closures and social restrictions, Phase One of getting Virginia's economy back up and running got underway Friday, May 15.
Governor Northam says health metrics from the Virginia Department of Health are moving in a direction indicating with precautions, it's time to slowly start moving toward a semblance of normalcy.
Northern Virginia, Richmond and Accomack County are exempt from Phase One reopening, all feeling they are not ready to loosen restrictions because of higher case counts and more hospitalizations than elsewhere.
Phase One looks like this:
The "stay at home" order becomes a "safer at home" order, encouraging people, especially those who are vulnerable, to stay home when possible. Social gatherings are still limited to ten people each. Social distancing... staying at least six feet from each other... is still encouraged, as are teleworking when possible and wearing face masks in public.
Click here for all Virginia guidelines.
But some restrictions are easing. Non-essential retailers may open to customers, but only to 50-percent capacity. It has been a ten-person-per-store rule until now. Restaurant and beverage services may reopen, but only for outdoor dining, at half capacity. Takeout and delivery will continue as it has the last several weeks.
Entertainment and amusement venues, such as movie theaters and concert halls, must remain closed during Phase One, as must fitness and exercise venues, except for outside activities. Beaches are open for exercise and fishing only.
Places of worship may reopen for services at half capacity; drive-in services may continue. Salons and barber shops are allowed to reopen, but by appointment only, and with mandatory social distancing and face masks worn by employees.
Child care services will remain open for children of parents who must work.
Private campgrounds may reopen. State parks are open for day use and overnight stays will be phased in. Overnight summer camps remain closed for now.
Northam says Phase One will likely last two to four weeks, and if the spread of the coronavirus continues to ease, the commonwealth will move into Phase Two, with even fewer restrictions.
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