Virginia Governor details May 15 Phase One Re-Opening: “More of a dimmer switch” than a light switch

 Summary of Governor Northam’s Daily Briefing on COVID-19 05-08-2020 


Phase One of re-opening will start Friday, May 15. 

“We are not flipping a light switch from closed to open. It’s more of a dimmer switch.” 

FORWARD VIRGINIA PLAN: Phase One – Begins Friday, May 15th 

• First of three planned phases, each lasting approximately 2-3 weeks: 

• Phase One specifics:

o 10-person limit on gatherings will remain. 

o “Stay at home” order will change to a “safer at home” order.

 People should still maintain social distancing and stay at home as much as possible. 

o Non-essential retail can increase the number of persons allowed inside from 10 to 50% of the store’s capacity. 

o Restaurants and breweries with outdoor seating permits can allow patrons to sit outside, up to 50% capacity. 

o Gyms and entertainment and amusement facilities remain closed.

 Gyms can hold outdoor classes with limitations. 

o Beaches are open for exercise and fishing only. 

o Places of worship may hold services inside, at 50% capacity. 

o Salons will be allowed to open with strict social distancing guidelines, and by appointment only. 

o State Parks are open for day use only, with 10-person limit in place. 

o Child-care will remain open to only working families. 

o Overnight summer camps will remain closed. 

• Teleworking is still strongly encouraged. 

• Phase One is expected to last at least 2 weeks, possibly longer, dependent on what the data shows moving forward.

o Local governments are encouraged to consult with the Governor’s administration as they move into Phase One if they feel that they need to maintain more stringent guidelines. 

• Businesses are permitted to re-open IF they meet the Phase One guidelines, but must remain closed if they are unable to do so. 

• No business is required by the state to re-open. 

• Data and guidelines are available at: 


Doctors’ offices and hospitals are safe. 

• PPE supply remains sufficient and sustainable. 

• MSV and VDH are working together to provide testing capacity to hospitals across Virginia. 

MSV is conducting needs assessments in hospitals to increase testing capability and training opportunities in areas of need. 


• Total cases: 22,342

o 772 new cases in the last 24-hour reporting period. 

• Total hospitalizations: 3,049 

• Total deaths: 812 

• Total tests: 143,220 


• Data has shown a downward trend in positive cases over the past 2 weeks.

o This is a positive step toward the 14-day goal. 

• The number of hospitals experiencing difficulty getting PPE has been trending downward over the past several weeks and has dropped significantly in the last week. 

• The number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has remained flat and well below hospital capacity. 

• The number of days over which COVID-19 cases are doubling has increased from 3 days in March, to 16. 


• Anyone who feels that their place of work is not following the Phase One rules is encouraged to report this to the Department of Labor and Industry. 

Next briefing: Monday, May 11 at 2:00PM. 

NOTE: This is an informal and timely summary of the Governor’s live press briefing. To access recordings of the briefings, visit To access the Governor’s official news releases, visit

Prepared by Commonwealth Strategy Group for the Virginia Press Association.

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