Coronavirus updates: Gov. Northam announces COVID-19 Business Task Force

Coronavirus

Taiwan McCall, left, useless a nasal swab to test James Reese for COVID-19 in the Harlem section of New York, Monday, April 20, 2020. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers would need to be tested for the coronavirus daily before city officials could start to loosen restrictions that have shuttered most workplaces and forced residents to cover their faces in public, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Here’s the latest on the coronavirus pandemic for April 24, 2020:

Gov. Northam announces COVID-19 Business Task Force

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that his administration has created a task force designed to advise on “safe, responsible” strategies for easing restrictions on businesses and individuals.

The task force includes a variety of Virginia industries — from breweries to museums to entertainment venues.

“These are Virginians who are thinking everyday about how to protect the health of their staff and the communities in which they operate,” said Governor Northam.

Chris Ray, the co-founder of Center of the Universe Brewing in Ashland, is one of many businesses in the Commonwealth affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“It’s been tough, but we’re adapting. Luckily, the Virginia ABC has loosed up so we’re implementing some delivery to get some additional revenue streams coming in,” Ray said.

Ray is one of several business leaders across the state selected to be a part of Northam’s COVID-19 Business Task Force.

“One of the major things we’re trying to prepare for is bringing back that consumer confidence because even if our doors are open, we need to make sure consumers are in the know of what to expect, what are safety precautions are, and make those universal across the industry,” Ray said.

The goal is to reopen businesses while being cautious and smart.

“The end game, I think, every business wants to get back open and be operating as normal, but in doing so, we have to take necessary steps,” Ray said. We can’t just open right up because the last thing that any businesses want is to open all the way back up again only for something to pop up for the virus to hit another peak again and to close right back down.”

Alex Nyerges, Director and CEO of the Virginia Museum of Fine arts, is also a representative on the COVID-19 Business Task Force. He says safety is the number one priority.

“We’re not going to open our doors and put our staff at risk, put our volunteers at risk, and visitors at risk one day too soon. I think there are too many unknowns at the moment,” Nyerges said.

Nyerges says even when VMFA’s doors reopen, precautions will still be in place.

“All of our employees will be wearing a mask in public areas, they will be wearing gloves, they are going to be creating an entrance to the museum and then a separate exit, so we don’t have the paths of people crossing and trying to maintain that physical distancing which is clearly so important to cut down on the transmission of the virus,” Nyerges said.

Gov. Northam says Phase One of the reopening plan will include:

  • SOME BUSINESSES WILL RE-OPEN WITH STRICT SAFETY RESTRICTIONS
  • CONTINUED SOCIAL DISTANCING
  • CONTINUED TELEWORKING
  • FACE COVERINGS RECOMMENDED IN PUBLIC

“I’m as eager as anyone to move into the time where we can ease some of these restrictions but we must do so in a safe manner. One step forward and two steps back is no way to move ahead,” Northam said.

Here’s a list of the members of Virginia’s COVID-19 Business Task Force:

  • Chad Ballard, Cherrystone Campground, Cape Charles
  • Katy Brown, Barter Theatre, Abington
  • Josh Chapman, Black Narrows Brewing, Chincoteague
  • Jenny Crittenden, Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, Gloucester
  • Patrick Crute, Virginia Alliance of YMCAs, Statewide
  • Christy Coleman, Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, Williamsburg
  • David Foster, High Point Barber Shop, Richmond
  • Angelyn Glasgow, Nu Image Salon, Blackstone
  • George Hodson, Veritas Vineyard, Afton
  • Lester Johnson, Mama J’s Restaurant, Richmond
  • Franky Marchard, Volvo, Pulaski
  • Owen Matthews, Kings Dominion, Doswell
  • Bill Meyer, Meyer Fitness, Norfolk
  • Brian Moore, Amazon, Arlington/Alexandria
  • Brooke Mueller, Walmart, Statewide
  • Jon Norton, Great American Restaurants, Arlington/Fairfax
  • Alex Nyerges, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
  • Chris Ray, Center of the Universe Brewing, Ashland
  • F. Dee Suarez-Diaz, ReNuew Wellness Spa LLC, Manassas
  • Warren Thompson, Thompson Hospitality, Reston
  • Bruce Thompson, Gold Key PHR, Virginia Beach
  • Laura Todd, Institute of Advanced Medical Aesthetics, Ashland
  • Terri Vander Vennet, Hampton Coliseum, Hampton

Gov. Northam announces Virginia’s reopening plan

Breakdown of coronavirus cases in Virginia

Virginia’s case count is near 11,594, the department of health reported Friday. There have been 410 confirmed and probable deaths across the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported that 1,672 COVID-19 patients have been released for the hospital.

The VHHA and VDH do not report the number recoveries from the virus.

Here’s a breakdown of cases in our area:

COVID-19 CASESTOTAL CASESDEATHS
Charles City County251
Chesterfield County1,13229
City of Colonial Heights827
City of Hopewell620
City of Petersburg842
City of Richmond88820
Goochland County895
Hanover County24419
Henrico County1,339114
New Kent County261
Powhatan County260
Information from the Virginia Department of Health

Latest coronavirus headlines:

Here are some tips from VDH on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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