Alexandria, VA

After extensive pressure from local leaders, from a congressman to a county board, Gov. Ralph Northam amended a plan to lift coronavirus-related restrictions on Northern Virginia until May 29 at the soonest.

“We are pleased that the Governor is ensuring that we have the public health protections in place before we proceed to Phase 1,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “That will ensure that our easing of restrictions will be permanent.”

Northam said the executive order mandating closures and restrictions on businesses in Northern Virginia — which includes Alexandria, neighboring Arlington and Fairfax, and other localities — will remain in effect for at least two weeks after other parts of Virginia are allowed to reopen.

Northern Virginia has been a hotspot of the virus, with 1,240 cases in Alexandria and 30 fatalities.

Virginia has been under a stay at home order since March 30 and non-essential businesses have been closed since March 23. There was at least once instance early on of the Alexandria Health Department stepping in to shut down a restaurant, Union Street Public House, for not adhering to initial restrictions.

Since then, however, many restaurants have adapted to the new takeout and delivery-only regulations, and some expressed concern that a premature reopening could lead to a second wave of the pandemic.

In an update to the City Council, Alexandria Health Director Dr. Stephen Haering said it will only be safe to reopen once:

  • Once the percentage of positive tests over 14 days goes down
  • Hospitalization decreases and hospitals are able to handle any potential surge
  • There is an increased and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment.

Photo via Governor of Virginia/Facebook

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