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Governor still hopes to start reopening Virginia May 15, with restrictions

(WDBJ)
Published: May. 8, 2020 at 8:26 AM EDT
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Governor Northam held a briefing Friday afternoon to update the commonwealth on the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said he still plans on moving forward with Phase One of reopening Virginia May 15, provided there is no major spike in case numbers. He said the state data indicate the spread of the virus is slowing to the point where, with precautions, it's time to get the economy moving again.

But he also said if there is a spike in cases, further restrictions may be implemented.

to watch the briefing from the governor's

.

In Phase One, which Northam said will likely last at least two weeks, teleworking will still be encouraged, as will face masks in public places. He said ten-person limits at social gatherings and social distancing will still be the rule of the commonwealth.

The following Phase Two will relax restrictions a bit more.

Under Phase One, he said the commonwealth's "stay at home" order will become a "safer at home" order, with the recommendation that people are free to go out, but will be safer at home than out and about.

He said non-essential businesses, such as retailers, need to keep occupancy at 50%, and restaurants and bars that serve outside may also serve half their usual outdoors capacity, but not serve indoors yet.

Gyms also need to stay closed during Phase One except for outdoor activities, as do entertainment and amusement businesses.

Churches are free to open for half capacity, to maintain social distancing, and for continued drive-in services.

Hair salons, barbershops and other groomers may be open, but employees must wear masks and appointments will be needed.

Private campgrounds may reopen.

The

is reporting 22,342 cases of

in the commonwealth as of Friday morning, though 1,068 are considered "probable" cases.

The total number is up from 21,570 reported Thursday, marking a 772-case increase from Thursday to Friday.

There are 812 recorded coronavirus-related deaths in the commonwealth as of Friday, up from 769 Thursday, and 3,059 people have been hospitalized. 143,220 people have been tested. VDH has not been reporting numbers of people who have recovered, saying that information is not gathered by individual health agencies across the state.

to see all the breakdowns.

Any new confirmed cases from health departments throughout the state the rest of the day won't show up until at least the following day on the state list, as the official numbers are only updated once a day, with a 5 p.m. cutoff each day for new cases to be reflected on the next day's list.

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