RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam says that while COVID-19 is “moderately contained” in Virginia, he’s not ready to make any changes to existing restrictions on gatherings or businesses before Labor Day.
“I understand from a business perspective the importance of Labor Day, but we’ve come too far to go back,” Northam said at a Tuesday press conference.
“People need to keep being vigilant, I can’t say that enough. It’s in our hands. It really is. If we follow the guidelines, if we wear our mask around other people, if we wash our hands, keep our hands away from our face, keep our social distancing, we can get this virus under control. It can be done.”
Northam implemented tighter restrictions on the Hampton Roads region in late July, citing an increase in new cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and positive tests.
The mayor of Virginia Beach had asked them to be loosened before the holiday weekend. But Northam says previous summer holidays led to surges in cases.
“So, we’re at a more acceptable range, but we’re still not close to where we need to be to ease restrictions," said Northam.
He said eastern Virginia could come in line with the rest of the state soon after Labor Day if there’s evidence people are following the guidelines.
Virginia initially lagged way behind other states in covid testing and now averages 15,000 to 20,000 each day.
Northam says that number could be higher if more people showed up to free testing events.
“We’re all tired, and we all want to get this behind us, but the basic facts remain the same. If you have COVID, you need to isolate yourself and stay away from other people... that starts with getting tested."