Virginia would stay in Phase I of the lifting of COVID-19 safety restrictions for at least another week, until June 5, but that “the trends are encouraging,” Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday.
Northern Virginia, as well as Richmond and Accomack County, join the rest of the commonwealth in entering Phase I on Friday. It’s the same day as the start of the face covering requirement.
REOPENING PLANS AROUND THE REGION:
- Northern Virginia
- Montgomery County
- Prince George’s County
- Frederick, Anne Arundel and Charles counties
He also remarked on the opening of 39 drive-through testing locations at CVS Health stores across Virginia, including 12 in Northern Virginia.
The governor and his counsel also said that enforcement of his executive order requiring masks in public indoor spaces was a matter of personal responsibility. But the Virginia Department of Health could be notified of what Counsel Rita Davis called “gross, egregious and repeated” violations of the order.
Northam said that public beaches in Virginia will open to recreational activities on Friday. Social distancing must be maintained, and groups can be no larger than 10.
He also said NASCAR and other vehicle and horse races can begin, although no spectators will be allowed. That includes the NASCAR race scheduled for Martinsville June 10.
The 39 new CVS testing sites include a dozen in Northern Virginia — two in Loudoun County, one each in Arlington County and Alexandria, four in Fairfax County, two in Prince William County and one in Stafford County.
Here are the Northern Virginia sites:
- 6400 Landsdowne Center, Alexandria
- 7205 Little River Turnpike, Annandale
- 3401 Charles Street, Bailey’s Crossroads
- 16712 Jefferson Davis Highway, Dumfries
- 10090 Fairfax Boulevard, Fairfax
- 3921 Prosperity Avenue, Fairfax
- 9009 Silverbrook Road, Fairfax Station
- 1020 Seneca Road, Great Falls
- 616 East Market Street, Leesburg
- 19305 Ruby Drive, Leesburg
- 6360 Hoadly Road, Manassas
- 902 Garrisonville Road, Stafford
Northam said he would be tested “soon” as well.
Asked whether businesses were being forced to choose “between health and wealth,” Northam said again that the economic crisis in Virginia and across the U.S. wouldn’t go away until the health crisis does, and the sooner business owners and customers realize that, the sooner that could happen.
If someone enters a business without a mask, Davis said, a business owner can ask them to put one on.
“If that patron still refuses,” Davis said, “certainly that business owner can suggest to that patron to maybe return at a time when they are more convinced they should be wearing a mask.”
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“The intent of this is to do the right thing,” Northam said, “ … it’s not to lock people up.”
He added, “We don’t want businesses in the practice of enforcing this, and we don’t want confrontations to occur.”
“This recovery is consumer-driven,” Northam added. “And there are many Virginians who are following the guidelines and want to protect themselves and others. And I would just encourage businesses to keep that in mind.”
If customers don’t feel comfortable going into a business, “they’re not going to go,” he said.
Northam added that more Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles locations would also open soon. If your driver’s license or state ID expires before July 31, you’ll have until Aug. 31 to renew.
He also announced that he and first lady Pam Northam would host Virginia Graduates Together, a virtual statewide graduation celebration, on Friday at 5 p.m.
Virginia Graduates Together will be shown on Virginia Public Media, Facebook Live and many stations across the commonwealth, including WETA, and on the YouTube channels of all those outlets.