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Northam outlines guidelines to lift additional public health restrictions in Phase Three

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

Gov. Ralph Northam today spelled out the third phase of the Forward Virginia plan to continue easing public health restrictions imposed to mitigatie the spread of COVID-19.

The Commonwealth does not yet have a targeted date for entering Phase Three.

Many states are purportedly experiencing a surge in new infections, but Virginia’s case counts continue to trend downward. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable with nearly 4,000 beds available, the percentage of individuals hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is down 43.8 percent from the recent high back on May 29, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to decline as testing increases.

“Our Phase Three guidelines will help Virginia families and businesses plan for what the next stage of easing public health restrictions will look like in our Commonwealth,” Northam said. “While we may not have the same spike in infections that many states are seeing right now, Virginians need to remain cautious and do the things that we know reduce transmission: wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. This virus is still with us, and we must continue to adapt our lives around it and ensure we are keeping our vulnerable communities safe.”

In Phase Three, the Commonwealth 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. The maximum number of individuals allowed in social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people. All businesses should continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and keep enhanced workplace safety measures in place.

Restaurant and beverage establishments are required to maintain six feet of distance between tables, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 75 percent occupancy, and recreation and entertainment venues at may operate at 50 percent occupancy, or a maximum of 1,000 persons. Swimming pools may also expand operations to free swim in addition to indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction. Overnight summer camps will remain closed in Phase Three.

Phase Three guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Phase Two guidelines are available here.

Visit for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Read the Phase Three guidelines in Spanish here.

View the slides from today’s presentation here.

augusta free press
augusta free press