RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed an executive order Tuesday that allows northern Virginia to delay “phase one” reopening as the rest of the state prepares to ease coronavirus restrictions at the end of the week.
Northam had previously suggested that Virginia’s reopening plan, which is expected to be phased in on Friday, would not be done with a regional approach. Mounting pressure from leaders in northern Virginia, along with the high number of cases in the region, led the governor to reverse his stance.
“As I have said, it’s important that the Commonwealth as a whole can meet key health metrics before moving into Phase One. The Phase One policies are a floor, not a ceiling,” Northam said in a statement.
The executive order gives officials in certain localities — the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park; and the towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna (Northern Virginia Region) — the authority to request to remain in “Phase Zero” until at least May 29.
“While the data show Virginia as a whole is are ready to slowly and deliberately ease some restrictions, it is too soon for Northern Virginia. I support the request from localities in this region to delay implementation of Phase One to protect public health,” Northam continued.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.