Virginia’s Phase 3 reopening starts today, with relaxed rules for restaurants, stores, fitness studios and social gatherings.
But as new coronavirus cases continue to surge in the South and West, the reopening raises the specter of Virginia’s waning epidemic returning.
Unlike New Jersey, which recently postponed the return of indoor dining, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is opting to continue reopening indoor, communal settings. He announced yesterday, however, that bar seating will be prohibited inside restaurants.
Arlington County, meanwhile, is encouraging residents to stay “safer at home” and to continue social distancing, telecommuting, and wearing masks in indoor public settings.
“Because Arlington is an urban, high-density area — and because there is still community spread of the virus — the County is going to similarly move forward with caution in the hopes of continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of the entire community,” the county said in a press release today.
The press release notes that fitness rooms and gyms will reopen at four community centers — Fairlington, Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Langston Brown — next Friday, July 10.
The good news for Arlington is that the current level of coronavirus spread remains low: five new cases were reported overnight, for a seven-day total of 46. The seven-day rate of new hospitalizations stands at just three, a new low since such data started to be reliably reported by the Virginia Dept. of Health.
The county press release about the reopening is below.
Arlington County, along with the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, is transitioning to Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan on Wednesday, July 1.
In Phase 3, Arlington will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing and teleworking, and the requirement that individuals wear face coverings in indoor public settings. All businesses should continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces and keep enhanced workplace safety measures in place.
As part of a cautious approach to entering Phase 3, Governor Northam on Tuesday announced that bar seating will remain prohibited in restaurants to reduce the likelihood of patrons gathering in bar areas without observing social distancing guidelines. The Governor added he is prepared to implement tighter restrictions if needed.
Because Arlington is an urban, high-density area — and because there is still community spread of the virus — the County is going to similarly move forward with caution in the hopes of continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of the entire community.
Arlington will continue to open government facilities gradually to ensure adequate space for social distancing and follow public health guidelines. […]
Playgrounds and Outdoor Restrooms Now Open, Select Fitness Rooms to Open July 10
Continuing its gradual reopening, in according with public health and safety guidelines, Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation reopened playgrounds and outdoor restrooms, including playgrounds located at Arlington Public Schools, effective Friday, June 26. Additionally, athletic field and court lighting returned to regular schedules.
Starting Friday, July 10, fitness rooms and gyms will reopen in four of DPR’s centers: Fairlington, Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Langston Brown.
Community and nature centers and spraygrounds remain closed.
Free Programs in the Parks
Starting Wednesday, July 8, the community is invited to join Parks and Recreation and have fun in our parks. DPR has created a calendar of 171 FREE programs for all ages, from cornhole to Tai Chi. All participants must register, based on the Governor’s guidelines.
If you aren’t comfortable venturing out, check out DPR’s virtual programming:
- Rec @ Home – free daily virtual activities geared for pre-school & elementary audiences ages 3-10 (through Aug. 18)
- Nature & History Programs
- 55+ Virtual Programs
Holds Pickup Continue to be Available at Central Library
All holds placed before the pandemic are available for pickup at the Central Library Auditorium, Monday through Thursday (12:00 – 7:00 p.m.) and Friday through Sunday (12:00 – 5:00 p.m.). All Library locations are accepting returns in the book returns (all branches are otherwise closed). Additionally, some basic Library account services are now being offered: Sign up for a library card; renew library cards; update temporary library cards; and update mailing address. FAQ
Highlights of the Governor’s Forward Virginia Phase 3 – Effective July 1
- The maximum number of individuals allowed in social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people
- Restaurant and beverage establishments are required to maintain six feet of distance between tables
- Fitness centers may open indoor areas at 75 percent occupancy
- Recreation and entertainment venues at may operate at 50 percent occupancy, or a maximum of 1,000 persons
- Swimming pools may expand operations to free swim in addition to indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction, up to 75 percent occupancy