Northam signs Executive Order allowing the state to enter Phase One of reopening

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 61 on Saturday, which will allow Virginia to enter Phase One of reopening the state.

While Northam announced these changes on Friday, they were signed into action today. The new executive order modifies public health guidance he had set in previous executive orders.

“I am proud of the millions of Virginians who have stayed home and helped to flatten the curve, but our work is not done,”  Northam said. “These guidelines represent one step forward in a gradual process, establishing the necessary modifications to business operations to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure for employees and customers. When we move into this first phase, it will be important for Virginians to act cautiously—especially our most vulnerable populations, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions.”

Northam said Phase One will begin no earlier than May 15, but it could be pushed back if data does not meet the public health criteria outlined by the state.

During Phase One, there will still be safety measures like a ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people and recommendations on teleworking and wearing face coverings, however, more businesses will be allowed to re-open.

Here are what businesses will be able to reopen:

  • Retail stores can open at 50 percent occupancy
  • Restaurants, coffee shops and bars can have outdoor seating at 50 percent occupancy
  • Personal Grooming services, like barbershops and hair salons, can open with one patron per service provider.
  • Gyms can hold outdoor classes.
  • Campgrounds can have short term stays.
  • Places of worship can have 50 percent occupancy and continue drive-in services.

Click here for more information about the executive order and here to read about guidelines for specific businesses.

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