Reopening the Region: Virginia begins Phase Two of ‘Forward Virginia’ plan

Reopening The Region

BRISTOL, VA. (WJHL)- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 65 and presented the second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan earlier this week.

This plan is designed to guide Virginians as the state continues to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions, while containing the spread of COVID-19.

Under “Phase Two,” the commonwealth will maintain a safer-at-home strategy with continued recommendations of social distancing.

Virginians are still required to wear face coverings in indoor public settings as part of Phase Two.

You will not have to wear those face coverings if you are exercising, eating or drinking.

For businesses in the Commonwealth, the biggest changes from Phase One to Phase Two is the maximum amount of people permitted in a social gathering and the changes to restaurants.

The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people.

All businesses should still follow physical distancing guidelines, practice frequent cleaning, sanitize high contact surfaces and continue enhanced workplace safety measures.

For restaurants, they will now be able to allow indoor seating at 50% capacity, instead of just allowing outdoor seating.

“I’m tickled to death,” said Burger Bar Owner and Operator, Joe Deel. “We’ve been doing curbside pickup, but to be able to actually have our customers sitting on the inside, it’ll be a reunion. We have a lot of customers that we haven’t seen that were regular customers who eat with us once or twice a week. A lot of my older clientele have been playing it safe and not getting out. It’s going to be really nice to get back to somewhat normal. I’m excited, my staff is excited, we finally got back to full staff.”

Fitness centers will be able to open indoor seating at 30% capacity, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open if they follow certain guidelines.

These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, outdoor concert venues, sporting and performing arts centers.

Swimming pools may also expand operations as part of this second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan.

Most of Northern Virginia and Richmond will remain in Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” plan until further notice.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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

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