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Decision on Richmond reopening could come 'early next week'

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Posted at 5:56 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 18:29:15-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said that the decision on whether to being phase one of the reopening process in the city could come “early next week”.

It was one week ago that Stoney requested Richmond be exempted from Virginia’s entry into phase one and the lifting of some restrictions. Governor Ralph Northam granted Stoney’s request and delayed the city’s entry into phase one until at least May 28.

He also granted exemptions to several localities in northern Virginia and Accomack County.

“This is not a decision that the city can solely make by itself. This will be a decision from Governor Northam,” said Stoney. “We obviously will continue to monitor data working alongside the health district. I will depend upon [Richmond Health Director Dr. Danny] Avula and other health experts from VDH on where our trend line looks like.”

Back when he had requested the delay, Stoney said the reason for doing so was that Richmond’s percentage of positive tests, or percent positivity, was increasing. Northam has said seeing a 14-day decline in the percent positivity is one of the metrics required to be met to begin the reopening process.

Stoney noted Thursday that the metric has been trending down over the last few days.

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“We're hoping for more days of a downward trend,” said Stoney. “We will work with our partners in the Commonwealth of Virginia looking at the data. The data will drive our approach on when we will reopen. Obviously, with the data in hand a whole lot quicker than we had last week, we are able to make that call a whole lot sooner. So, it's our hope, alongside our partners, to make that call a lot sooner than we had to last week.”