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Virginia on Track to Begin Phase I of Retail Reopenings on Friday, Says Gov. Northam

RICHMOND, VA. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says the state is still on track to begin “Virginia Forward,” the state’s Phase I plan for reopening stores, restaurants and select businesses and organizations starting Friday, May 15. Northam said in a press release Tuesday, however, that Northern Virginia localities are able to delay reopenings to Thursday, May 28 if they feel it is unsafe to reopen Friday.

The new guidelines outline more relaxed restrictions, including upping the capacity of non-essential retail from a 10-person limit to 50 percent capacity; allowing restaurants to open outdoor seating with a 50 percent capacity limit; allowing places of worship to have a 50 percent capacity, up from its previous 10-person limit; fitness centers may operate outdoor classes; and allowing for personal grooming services to reopen to appointment-only customers.

Some restrictions that are unchanged include schools remaining closed, childcare remaining open only to working families and entertainment and public amusement remaining closed.

As of this writing, there were 927 deaths and 26,746 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

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