Gov. Ralph Northam announced today that Virginia will move into Phase 3 next Wednesday, July 1, and for Alexandria that means looser restrictions on retail, restaurant and entertainment venues.
The move puts Alexandria and Northern Virginia back on the same timeline as the rest of the state, which Mayor Justin Wilson attributed to the efforts at social distancing and proper hygiene of local residents.
“The efforts of residents and businesses to respect public health guidance has been successful,” Wilson said. “We have slowed the spread and been able to ease restrictions. But we are not out of the woods yet. We need to continue socially distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands. Doing so will allow us to continue to move back to a more normal situation.”
The largest change will be the reduction or elimination on capacity restrictions. During Phase 2, non-essential retail and seating at restaurants had been limited to 50% capacity. The move into Phase 3 will eliminate those restrictions. High contact entertainment venues that had been closed will be allowed to open with 50% capacity. Fitness centers and pools will be able to open at 75% capacity.
Wilson said on social media that the downward trend in positive COVID-19 cases was one of the main criteria for reopening, but that the city will continue to expand testing.
The reopening comes even as other states that have had reopened have seen spikes in coronavirus cases. While the city’s rate of positive testing is going down, Alexandria does continue to see new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
.@GovernorVA announced that the entire Commonwealth is planning to move into Phase 3 on July 1 to allow gatherings of up to 250 people. Non-essential retail & restaurant capacity limits will be lifted. Virginians remain required to wear face coverings & practice social distancing pic.twitter.com/fwYNuuMYJR
— Eileen Filler-Corn (@EFillerCorn) June 23, 2020
Staff photo by Vernon Miles