RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is asking the governor to approve a modified Phase One reopening for the City of Richmond. Stoney had previously lobbied the governor to delay the city’s Phase One reopening citing increasing COVID-19 numbers and the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has on black and brown communities.
“I want to reopen our city, but a sustainable reopening requires a deliberate and incremental plan,” Mayor Stoney said Tuesday.
In a letter to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, the mayor asked that Richmond still be allowed to maintain “restrictions on indoor gatherings for places of worship and restrictions on personal care and grooming services,” when it moves into Phase One.
I've requested a modified reopening that keeps the city moving forward safely. I want to reopen our city, but a sustainable reopening requires a deliberate and incremental plan. I've asked @GovernorVA to consider our locally-informed strategy. #RVAStrong pic.twitter.com/lAacy2c0jA— Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) May 26, 2020
“In recent conversations with leaders in Richmond’s business and faith communities, they have made it clear that their top priority is to keep their employees, their congregations, and their patrons safe,” the mayor wrote. “Many of our faith leaders have told me that they do not believe it is safe to reopen at this time, do not intend to reopen, and are worried about the health and safety of their parishioners. Barbershops and salons are certainly feeling the economic pressure of the extended closure, but also have concerns for the safety of their employees with prolonged exposure to clients.”
When surrounding counties entered the Phase One reopening two weeks ago, restaurants were allowed to open their patios at 50% capacity. There was no mention of restaurants in the mayor’s letter to Governor Northam.
This is a developing story.