RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam revealed Monday that many businesses in Virginia will remain closed beyond next week.
When Governor Northam closed restaurants, entertainment venues, hair salons, and other businesses that couldn’t practice social distancing - that order lasted until April 23.
But the governor said Monday that models should a late-April, early May COVID-19 peak date in Virginia, so those closures must be extended.
"Right now, [the Virginia model] shows that our social distancing measures are working. We are slowing the spread of this virus," Northam said Monday. "But this model also demonstrates that if we lift the stay-at-home order or social distancing too soon, if we try to rush to get our lives back to normal, the number of cases will spike higher and earlier. And we can't afford that. This demonstrates just how very important it is to continue social distancing. So we need to keep doing what we're doing."
Northam said he planned to announce the new, extended social distancing date at his press conference on Wednesday.
"Just as soon as we can get people's lives back to normal, we will, but we also have to do it safely," he continued. "We need to continue everything that we're doing right now. We literally look at this data every day. We look at the models every day and I just want to let the Virginians know that as soon as we can ease the restrictions, and when we can do that safely and get people back to their lives. I will do that."
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.