Northam creates COVID-19 Business Task Force to guide strategy for easing restrictions

Government lending program on hold after reaching $349 billion limit
Posted at 2:15 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 16:18:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Ralph Northam announced the creation of the COVID-19 Business Task Force, which will provide advice and guidance to the administration on a “safe and responsible” strategy for easing restrictions on businesses and individuals.

READ NOW: "Forward Virginia Blueprint" presentation

The task force consists of representatives from a variety of Virginia industries, including restaurants, breweries, wineries, small and large retailers, fitness centers, hair salons, barber shops, spas and estheticians, museums, hospitality groups, campgrounds, and entertainment venues.

“These are Virginians who are thinking everyday about how to protect the health of their staff and the communities in which they operate,” said Governor Northam. “They understand that our public health and business interests are aligned—we must take measures that both ensure the safety and confidence of consumers and prevent the spread of disease. Their input will continue to be critical as we plan a safe, consistent, successful path forward.”

Members of Virginia’s COVID-19 Business Task Force include:

Chad Ballard, Cherrystone Campground, Cape Charles
Katy Brown, Barter Theatre, Abingdon
Josh Chapman, Black Narrows Brewing, Chincoteague
Jenny Crittenden, Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, Gloucester
Patrick Crute, Virginia Alliance of YMCAs, Statewide
Christy Coleman, Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, Williamsburg
David Foster, High Point Barber Shop, Richmond
Angelyn Glasgow, Nu Image Salon, Blackstone
George Hodson, Veritas Vineyard, Afton
Lester Johnson, Mama J’s Restaurant, Richmond
Franky Marchard, Volvo, Pulaski
Owen Matthews, Kings Dominion, Doswell
Bill Meyer, Meyer Fitness, Norfolk
Brian Moore, Amazon, Arlington/Alexandria
Brooke Mueller, Walmart, Statewide
Jon Norton, Great American Restaurants, Arlington/Fairfax
Alex Nyerges, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
Chris Ray, Center of the Universe Brewing, Ashland
F. Dee Suarez-Diaz, ReNuew Wellness Spa LLC, Manassas
Warren Thompson, Thompson Hospitality, Reston
Bruce Thompson, Gold Key PHR, Virginia Beach
Laura Todd, Institute of Advanced Medical Aesthetics, Ashland
Terri Vander Vennet, Hampton Coliseum, Hampton

Additionally, Northam says his administration have continued to consult with numerous businesses, labor, public health, trade, and professional organizations.

Northam says he will outline a blueprint for easing business restrictions at his press conference Friday afternoon. That blueprint will include a plan with a phased approach that is grounded in federal CDC guidelines, and includes specific goals to contain the spread of the virus through increased testing, contact tracing, and ensuring adequate medical capacity.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Precautions

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.