Submit Content

Governor: Easing of Business Closures May Be in Sight

(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) You might be able to get a haircut in Virginia by mid-month.

Gov. Ralph Northam held a press conference this afternoon in which he announced that “Phase 1” of the Commonwealth’s easing of restrictions is likely to start on Friday, May 15 — in about a week and a half. In the meantime, Northam extended the closure of non-essential businesses through May 14, and said his stay-at-home order will become a “safer at home” recommendation.

Coronavirus cases in the state continue to rise, but Northam said that the worst has been averted.

“Everyone in Virginia made sacrifices, but everything you have done has truly made a difference,” he said. Virginia has “flattened the curve, hospitals have not been overwhelmed… [and] now we can start to move into a new phase of our response.”

Phase 1 of the state’s reopening would see businesses open with additional cleaning, safety precautions and social distancing. Virginia will be publishing guidelines for industries like restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care and grooming, and entertainment, Northam said.

“You’ll be able to get your hair cut, but you’ll need an appointment and will see new safety measures,” said the governor. “Restaurants will spread people out, employees will wear face coverings and do more cleanings.”

The gradual reopening — there will be three phases, each expected to last around three weeks — does not mean that the coast is clear, Northam said.

“This virus is still here, it has not gone away and it will not go away until we have a vaccination, and that may be hopefully at the end of this year, or another year or two,” he said. “All of our efforts have slowed the spread, but it has not cured the disease.”

“Even when we ease some restrictions, we must continue to behave more cautiously than before. We must not relax our vigilance or think that the risk has passed,” Northam continued, encouraging continued social distancing and the use of face coverings while out and about.

“You’ll still be safer at home,” Northam added. “Large gatherings are a bad idea.”

The May 15 date is not set in stone, the governor said, and could get pushed back if the state data does not show a sustained improvement in data points like the test positivity rate and hospitalizations.

Northam said the continuation of his executive order “gives us an additional two weeks to watch the data and determine if we are meeting the metrics we need to see to enter Phase 1.”

More from the governor’s office:

Governor Ralph Northam outlined a three-phase plan to ease restrictions on businesses and gatherings, when health data supports doing so.

Governor Northam said he will extend key provisions of Executive Order 53, which places restrictions on businesses and gatherings of more than 10 people, at least through next Thursday, May 14, at midnight. The Northam administration will continue to monitor health data to ensure that trends of positive cases are going downward, that hospital capacity remains steady, that testing is increased, and that hospitals and medical facilities have necessary supplies of PPE. For more information on key metrics, please see here.

Phase I of easing restrictions would continue social distancing, teleworking, recommendations that people wear face coverings in public, and the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people. It would ease some limits on business and faith communities, and would transition the stay at home directive to a “safer at home” guideline, especially for those in vulnerable populations.

It is expected that Phase I would last two to four weeks, as would the two subsequent phases, depending on health metrics.

More specific guidance on each phase will be available in the coming days. Slides from the Governor’s briefing are available here.

Recent Stories

Arlington County police say the rideshare driver who crashed into Ireland’s Four Courts on Friday did not do so intentionally and was not drunk. Beyond that, not much is known…

A set of utility covers in the middle of Wilson Blvd that have bothered residents for nearly a decade may finally get a permanent fix. For Alex Korolkoff, the banging…

This week, Mike Mount is tackling the topic of recently-created neighborhood names. Mike’s new cartoon pokes fun at modern place name inventions, perhaps given recent media attention for National Landing…

The impact on the housing market slowdown in different regions is discussed in Ask Eli.

Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, trauma or anger? Are
you ready to make a change?

Lauren K. Nickum, LCSW, CSAC from Peaceful Mind Solutions is now taking new
clients for psychotherapy. Lauren has over 10 years of experience treating
mental health disorders and general life stress in adults and adolescents. For
more information visit

Submit your own Community Post here.

15 year old Australian Shepherd went missing from her yard in Waycroft-Woodlawn on the evening of August 8.

A pet tracker hasn’t been able to find her, and despite roaming in a busy area, there have been no reported sightings. She is microchipped, and her information is up to date. It’s most likely someone has picked her up. If found, or if there is any information, please contact the Animal Welfare League of Arlington or her owner at 571-510-0508 or [email protected]. If spotted, please don’t approach or call to her, but take a picture and call her owner.

Submit your own Community Post here.

Rental Property Investing: Part One

Have you ever considered purchasing a rental property but weren’t sure where to start? This free webinar will go over the basics of how to invest in real estate, how to choose rental properties, and a market overview. Our Director

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Todd Riley (Comedy Central)

A night of live standup comedy, with some of the best comedians from the DMV and beyond!

Todd Riley – Headliner

From the moment Todd Riley stepped onto that stage in 2008, he knew comedy is what he wanted to


Subscribe to our mailing list