Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s relaxing of restrictions under the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic won’t begin on at least June 26.
With infections of the virus occurring among restaurant personnel and rising number of cases in nearby states like North Carolina and Tennessee, Northam said Virginia is not ready.
He blames the “surges in other states that have eased restrictions prematurely.”
“I know everybody wants to get back to what new normal but we’ve really got to take our time,” the governor said Thursday.
That delay does not please Northam’s GOP opposition.
“The governor is once again walking back on his own criteria,” claims House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert.
When Virginia entered Phase 2 two weeks ago, Northam predicted it would take two to four weeks before going to Phase 3. If Phase 3 begins next Friday, that will be three weeks.
Phase 3 eliminates indoor capacity limits of 50 percent of available space, but customers must remain six feet apart. Gym capacities increase from 30 to 75 percent and the limits on social gatherings rise to 250 people.
On Thursday, the Commonwealth listed 56,793 cases with deaths now topping 1,600.
Current virus statistics:
06/19/2020Updated: 14:00 GMT 09:00 a.m. EDT
Infections: 10 (Unchanged)
Hospitalized: 2 (Unchanged)
Deaths: 1 (Unchanged)
Infections: 56,793 (+555)
Hospitalized: 5,797 (+53)
Deaths: 1,602 (+24)
(Information obtained from the Center for Disease Control, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the World Health Organization, World meter, and the Virginia Department of Health)