Loudoun County officials spelled out more details for the county's entrance into the second phase of the commonwealth's reopening plan on Friday.
On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) cited the downward trend in the percent of positive tests and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 over 14 days, sufficient hospital capacity and personal protection equipment (PPE) and increasing testing capacity as reasons for allowing Loudoun and northern Virginia to reopen on June 12.
Here are some of the key points of phase two, according to county officials:
-Increases the number of people allowed to gather in groups from 10 to 50 people; the restrictions do not apply to people performing functions of their employment.
-Allows restaurants, breweries and wineries to offer indoor service in accordance with a number of guidelines, including seating patrons six feet apart, not exceeding 50 percent capacity of the establishment and limiting total number of patrons to 50.
-Allows fitness centers and gyms, to reopen in accordance with a number of guidelines, including keeping patrons at least 10 feet apart and limiting the total number of attendees to 30 percent of the facility’s occupancy capacity.
-Allows brick and mortar retail stores and personal grooming businesses to continue to operate in accordance with a number of guidelines, including limiting the total number of patrons to 50 percent of the facility’s occupancy capacity.
-Allows outdoor and indoor swimming pools to open for lap swimming, diving, exercise and instruction only. Swimmers must be limited to no more than three persons per lane with 10 feet of physical distance per swimmer.
-Allows people to attend religious services in accordance with a number of guidelines, including limiting the total number of attendees to 50 percent of the facility’s occupancy capacity, seating attendees six feet apart (except for family members) and disinfecting frequently-contacted surfaces before and after religious services.
Some recreational businesses must remain closed in Phase Two, including indoor theaters, performing arts centers and concert venues, as well as businesses and events, such as bowling alleys, amusement parks and fairs or carnivals.
Loudoun County Health Director David Goodfriend had this to say about the days ahead: “It is important to recognize that while the steps Loudoun residents have taken over the past two months to reduce the spread of infection have caused the health metrics to head in the right direction and allowed us to move to Phase Two of the reopening plan, the potential for exposure to COVID-19 remains present in our community. So, I continue to recommend that older adults and people with underlying health conditions use extra caution in public, and ask that all of us remain vigilant in practicing infection control measures that include washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, maintaining six foot distances when possible and wearing face coverings in public to help keep us headed in the right direction.”
While northern Virginia will move into Phase Two, Gov. Northam’s Executive Order 63, which requires the use of face coverings in most public indoor locations, remains in effect until amended or rescinded by further executive order.
Northam also announced Tuesday that all public and private schools in Virginia will be able to reopen this fall.