RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday laid out the guidelines for Phase One of reopening Virginia, which could begin at the end of next week, if current COVID-19 trends hold.
Nonessential businesses, which were ordered closed by Northam at midnight March 24, would begin reopening Friday, May 14 under the state’s new “safer in place” messaging — with restrictions.
Personal grooming retail — which includes salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shop — can reopen in Phase One, but by appointment only and at 50% capacity. Both the provider and the client must wear face coverings during service and any service that would require its removal (lip wax, facial, beard trimming) is prohibited. Waiting areas are also prohibited and there 6 feet between clients.
Nonessential retail stores, many of which were limited to no more than 10 people inside, can open in Phase One at 50% capacity and with social distancing inside, plus employees wearing masks and increased sanitation.
Recreation and entertainment venues — such as bowling alleys, theaters and music venues — must stay closed.
Gyms and fitness centers cannot open inside, but can host outdoor classes, with a limit of 10 or fewer people in the class and at least 10 feet between people.
Restaurants and breweries cannot open their dining or tasting rooms, but they can use their patios at 50% capacity and with 6 feet between parties — provided the patio is at least 6 feet away from the sidewalk or any public area. Restaurant employees must wear masks and restaurants must use disposable menus.
Churches can reopen at 50% capacity and with increased sanitation.
Beaches will remain closed except for exercise or fishing; outdoor swimming pools may open, but for lap swimming-only with a limit of one person per lane.
A 10-person limit on social gatherings — enforceable as misdemeanor — remains in place, as does the recommendation for wearing masks in public and telework for professional businesses.
Northam said Monday that Phase One of the state’s reopening could last two to four weeks, or longer.