RICHMOND, Va. -- Phase Three of the reopening process will begin in Virginia on Wednesday, July 1, Governor Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
Northam said the decision comes as statewide numbers continue to trend in a positive direction.
"We're seeing a decline in people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID tests. That has been trending downward for a couple of weeks," said the governor.
The Governor also cited the declining percent positivity, hospitalizations, and adequate PPE supplies among the reasons he feels comfortable moving into Phase Three.
"It is in all of our hands as we move forward. We all have a responsibility to continue the social distancing, the hand washing, not gathering in large groups and, if we can continue to do that, I think our numbers will continue to trend favorably," said Northam.
Social gatherings - May include up to 250 people
Non-essential retail - Capacity cap will be lifted (social distancing required)
Restaurants - Capacity cap will be lifted (social distancing required)
Entertainment venues (museums, zoos, and other outdoor venues) - Open at 50% capacity with a cap of 1,000 people
Gyms and fitness centers - Open up to 75% of capacity
Swimming pools - Open at 75% of capacity with physical distancing
What Doesn't Change
Teleworking - Strongly encouraged
Social Distancing - Strongly encouraged
Face coverings - Strongly encouraged
Hair salons - Open with physical distancing requirements
Overnight summer camps - Closed
Recreational Sports - Allowed with physical distancing requirements
"It still means you're safer at home, especially if your vulnerable. It means were are still strongly encouraging teleworking," said Northam. "People still need to focus on physical distancing in all situations outside of their home."
Phase Three includes northern Virginia and the City of Richmond despite the areas being a week behind in Phase Two. Northam says that would only change if he hears otherwise from leaders in those localities.
A Richmond official tells CBS 6 that they are optimistic they will be a part of Phase Three on July 1 and will make a final decision later this week.
"I want to reiterate that everyone should continue to take this pandemic very seriously. Cases are on the rise and many other states... I do not want to see that happen in our Commonwealth," said Northam. "Be cautious and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and the people around you."
A spokesperson for Northam says Phase Three will last at least three weeks and they are still working on the details of what comes after that phase and what it will look like.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.