RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said reopening salons and barber shops in the Commonwealth is a priority.
Northam said during his Wednesday news briefing that reopening those establishments is something that he is asked about frequently.
"These are businesses, and these are people that that need to be working," Northam said. "We've had a number of barbers and owners of salons that have given suggestions on how we can do this safely."
Accordingly, Norhtam said developing a plan to reopen salons and barber shops is is "going to be at the top of my list."
"But we're not there quite yet," Northam elaborated. "But I think there are ways that we can do it safely, by making sure that we were mass making sure that we continue the social distancing, not having more than 10 people in a place of business, etc. So we're working on that."
Northam announced Wednesday he is extending Executive Order 53, which temporarily closed restaurant dining sections, entertainment/recreational businesses, and non-essential retail businesses that could not practice social distancing and was set to expire on April 23, for another two weeks until May 8.
“We will continue to monitor health data in the meantime to determine what needs to happen after that,” Northam explained . “It’s important to remember that the stay-at-home order remains in effect until June 10.”
Virginia health officials reported Wednesday that the death toll in the state from the coronavirus has jumped to 195, an increase of 41 deaths from the 154 reported Tuesday.
The Virginia Department of Health reported that 6,500 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 out of a total of more than 44,000 people tested.
The total number of cases in Virginia increased by 300, from 6,200 on Tuesday.
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.