RICHMOND, Va. — In a press conference on June 18, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam outlined some more details about Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia coronavirus reopening plan.
He said officials hadn't decided when Phase 3 would go into effect yet. Northam said June 26 would be the earliest date considered.
Here's some of the concepts Northam listed that would be similar to Phase 2:
- People would still be "safer at home"
- Teleworking will still be encouraged
- Face coverings indoors and social distancing will both still required
- Grooming services and salons would still need to follow physical distancing requirements
Here's what would be different:
- The social gathering cap would be increased to 250 people, from phase two's 50-person cap
- Non-essential retail businesses, and restaurants, will not have a cap anymore (but physical distancing would still be required)
- Museums, zoos and outdoor venues will be able to open at 50% capacity, with an overall cap of 1,000 people
- Gyms could have 75% capacity
- Childcare centers would reopen (but not overnight summer camps)
- Swimming pools can offer 75% capacity with physical distancing
Northam said he didn't want to follow in the footsteps of other states who had "opened prematurely" and had seen spikes in coronavirus cases recently.
"Just because there are more places to go does not mean you have to go there," he said. "We still need to consider where we need to go, versus where we may want to go."
He urged people to be especially cautious when enjoying newly lifted restrictions.
There are some promising new treatments for the virus being tested, but still no vaccine or guaranteed cure.
"While our data is good, and our restrictions may ease, the virus has not gone anywhere," Northam said. "We are adapting our lives around it, but it has not changed."