Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is still moving forward with his phased reopening plan even though large gatherings of protesters in the state capitol have already broken restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to gather in one location. Northam has done nothing to break up the protests even as they flagrantly ignore coronavirus orders that would result in fines for anyone else.
All of Virginia except the northern counties closest to Washington, D.C. and Richmond (where the protests are) will be able to move into Phase 2 starting Friday, WAVY reported. Accomack County will also be able to enter Phase 2 even though it just entered Phase 1 last Friday. Phase 2, according to the outlet, includes:
- Reopening indoor seating at restaurants at 50% capacity
- Reopening indoor gyms at 30% capacity
- Reopening of entertainment venues such as zoos, museums and botanical gardens
- Reopening swimming pools with restrictions
- Resuming recreational sports with restrictions
- Increasing limits on social gatherings from 10 to 50 people.
Personal care and personal grooming services, such as beauty salons, barbershops, spas, massage centers, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and others, may continue to operate with guidelines largely unchanged from Phase 1. From Northam’s executive order on Phase 2:
- Occupancy may not exceed 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy with at least six feet of physical distancing between work stations and no more than two appointments per service provider at a time.
- Service providers and employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.
- Provide face coverings for clients or ask that clients bring a face covering with them, which they must wear during the service. Limit services to only those that can be completed without clients removing their face covering.
- A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted every 60 minutes in operations, while cleaning and disinfecting all personal care and personal grooming tools after each use. If that is not possible, such items must be discarded.
- If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.
The northern Virginia city of Alexandria is one of those that must remain largely closed as the rest of the state begins to reopen further, even though there were just 19 new COVID-19 cases in the latest report, WJLA reported. The city has seen 44 deaths total.
While businesses are allowed to slowly reopen, Northam is still urging that residents are “safer at home” and shouldn’t leave their houses unless necessary. Telework is also still recommended. Northam also requires residents to wear a face mask in public, though numerous protesters have been seen without them. It doesn’t appear as though any protesters are being cited for breaking lockdown orders.
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