Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced on Tuesday that northern Virginia can begin to reopen under the state’s “Forward Virginia Phase One” guidelines starting on Friday.

Northern Virginia, including Loudoun County, will join most of the rest of the commonwealth in gradually restarting the economy, something that started in other parts of the state May 15.

Under the "Phase One” guidelines, retail establishments may operate at 50 percent capacity, and restaurant and beverage establishments may offer outdoor dining at 50 percent occupancy.

Personal grooming services may operate with one patron per service provider, fitness centers may offer outdoor exercise services, and campgrounds may begin taking reservations for short-term stays under the “Phase One” guidelines.

Drive-in services may continue at places of worship, and services may be held inside at 50 percent capacity.

Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said she was pleased with the announcement.

“I am extremely happy and extremely relieved that northern Virginia can join the rest of Virginia in moving to ‘Phase One’ and that the governor extensively accepted the recommendation of [northern Virginia] health directors after they assessed the data," Randall said.

Elected officials in the region have been at odds over the governor’s delay in recent weeks. Northam ordered the northern Virginia delay through May 28 earlier this month. The governor’s decision was supported by local government and health leaders who requested the region’s reopening be delayed. Regional health directors believed the COVID-19 data -- including hospitalizations and case counts -- did not show it was safe reopen.

Some disagreed with the regional assessment, however. Three county supervisors said the information the governor received "confusingly aggregated” Loudoun’s data with that of the other localities, including Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties and the City of Alexandria.

As part of his Forward Virginia plan to reopen, Northam said he wanted to see two weeks of declining positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, enough hospital bed and intensive care capacity, the proper amount of personal protective equipment at health care facilities and testing capabilities ramped up.

On Sunday, health experts told chief elected officials that northern Virginia has met most of the criteria needed to move into the first phase of the commonwealth’s reopening plan.

They determined that the region has met four of the six threshold metrics needed to transition to reopening. Those include having enough hospital beds and intensive care capacity and having a downward trend of positive tests and hospitalizations over a period of 14 days.

The region still has not met two important metrics. It does not have an increasing and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), and it has not sufficiently increased testing and tracing to meet the established regional threshold.

Catoctin Supervisor Caleb Kershner (R) said he’s glad Loudoun will be entering the first phase and hopes the county will soon be able to move into the second phase.

“I do believe that we should absolutely open to ‘Phase Two’ when the rest of Virginia opens,” Kershner, whose district spans the northern Leesburg, Lucketts and Waterford areas, said. "We're doing significantly better than we were and will continue to improve.”

Kershner said he believes people understand the importance of social distancing. He said the sooner Loudouners can move to the second phase, the sooner people can start to contribute to local businesses so that “we can get our northern Virginia economy going again.”

“I think we have to trust people to follow certain protection mechanisms, and I think they will,” Kershner said. “We are at the point where we have to trust individuals to follow good practices. We have it under control, our health system is not overwhelmed, and that was the whole point of the shutdown.”

At Tuesday's briefing, Northam said he expects the commonwealth will remain in the first phase until at least early June. He said his staff will review the data before making a decision to enter phase two.

The governor also ordered all Virginians to wear face masks in indoor public places beginning Friday, and he directed the Department of Labor and Industry to develop emergency temporary standards to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19.

The governor is planning to provide more details on northern Virginia's reopening on Wednesday. 

Looking ahead to Friday, Randall said the goal for Loudoun is to remain open and never close again.

“The goal is not just to move into 'Phase One,' the goal is to remain open and walk through the phases and never have to close again,” Randall said. “What we want to do is make sure that we are helping our businesses prepare, and we are messaging our citizens that the businesses are ready to accept them back. It's not enough to just open the business. We have to also make sure that that customers are ready to come back.” 

The number of local coronavirus cases on Tuesday jumped by 139 to 2,186. No new COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in Loudoun since Saturday. 52 people have died as a result of the virus.

(152) comments

David Dickinson

From this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, "We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.... The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic."

Countyrez

Latest headline, Trump Requires Masks at All Times. Liberals are Outraged at Government Overreach

Voltaire

I hate to break it to you but the President of the United States does not have that authority.

scottva

It's called sarcasm, good grief.

Voltaire

scottva, it may well be sarcasm but it is still factually wrong.

loudouncommonsense

So, you don't like science or medical experts; However you will like this equation:

Don't wear masks = resurgence of covid cases = more layoffs/closings of business + big decline in stock market + more deaths* = Trump loses election in November

*n.b. majority of deaths occur in age cohort 60+ [Trump supporters] = fewer Trump voters

adopted_va_son

Both DC and MD have had mask requirements for quite some time and both jurisdictions "deaths/1 million population" are double those of VA......common sense?

springerdad

Dude you got what you want. Masks are mandatory as of tomorrow. Can you just stop posting your nonsense now and go run your small business.

scottva

Genius comment. I think you came up with this equation all by yourself which makes it as real as bigfoot. I cannot wait to exercise option #6 under Exceptions in Ralphy boys' new Mask EO. Governor Blackface has said all along he is using science, medical experts and data to help drive his decisions. So if you have an issue with it go talk to Ralph. Your beloved Ralphy just made it acceptable for people with health conditions to not wear masks, so dont you dare criticize these people and single them out because of their health condition.

Voltaire

OK. Do we have to continue making disparaging comments about Governor Northam? That is pretty juvenile. I am not fond of Governor Northam either but show some respect for the office. If Northam is using science, medical experts, and data, that is the correct process for decisionmaking during public health emergencies and shouldn't be criticized. I do, however, agree with your last premise that public shunning of those individuals with health conditions who can't wear a mask is not acceptable.

Jeanne T

"So, you don't like science or medical experts"

Wrong. The issue isn't whether or not one "likes" science or medical "experts". I think you're confusing the word "like" with worship. The issue is which experts you choose to listen to, and most of them have their own agendas. Your comment is just asinine.

So, genius, answer this question: Are the frontline doctors and nurses, who see and treat patients daily "experts"? Or not? Now, what happens when they go against the "experts" who like to see their names in lights?

I'll give you a moment to respond. [rolleyes]

scottva

Well played Jeanne.

Matthew

The government can’t tell me what to do with my body, isn’t that the argument that all these alt-lefties scream like petulant children about?

Voltaire

Actually, I will take up your premise and point out that the answer is maybe. It depends on the specialty of the frontline care worker (nurse/doctor but primarily). If the frontline doctor is specialized in infectious disease, then yes he/she could be considered an expert in that he/she has specialized knowledge in virology/infectious disease. If they are, however general practice or other specialities, they would not be experts unless their expertise is needed for a particular action. Nothing happens if they go up against the Government experts as both the Government doctors and the frontline care providers are in the same field and they understand that medicine allows for differences in perspectives/viewpoints. How do you know that these Government experts "...like to see their names in lights?"

Matthew

Stay in your safe space kiddo, the rest of VA is moving on!

Voltaire

This statement is factually wrong. Northern Virginia and Accomack County are repening today. The City of Richmond may also dependent on the conversation between the city's mayor and Governor Northam. The rest of the Commonwealth has already moved into Phase I earlier this month (May 15, I believe) and, dependent on data, may move into Phase 2.

Guest

Whose going to pay for your freebies. You'll have to get a job and leave that safe space.

NOVAUTE

If the reporter actually read the mask order, he would find it is unenforceable. Sec D para 6 states you can't be required to wear a mask if you have a medical condition that precludes it. The order further states you can't be required to provide proof of such a condition, or even be asked about the condition. This makes the order effectively null & void. This should have been in the first or second paragraph of the description. Instead it is not even listed. The reporter is hiding this, and I doubt it's by accident.

hardworkingamerican

Gee CindyLou watch something else besides the Communist Corrupt News, network. Trump was slammed by all the usual liberal pieces of garbage for locking down America, and holding the fake WHO "Wuhan Health Organization' for lying and covering up. And no "the people" didn't vote this idiot in, he purchased his position through Bloomberg, just like Wexton, Kaine and John Bell did. Don't worry liberals want to send ballots to dead people's former addresses. Virginia will revolt come election day to this Gestapo crap from Northam. Look at the economy under Trump. Under others things would have collapsed, but thanks to Trump canning all of Obama's "hate legislation" which by the way much which was overturned by the Supreme Court. Can't wait until Comey shares a cell with Obama.

BLT

Ha! The people didn't elect Mr. Trump if you were paying attention. He lost by 3 million+ votes that time around.

Voltaire

Trump may have lost the popular vote but did win the electoral college which represent the states and therefore the people of the states.

Jeanne T

Electoral College. If Hillary Clinton had won Electoral College but lost the popular vote, would you apply the same standard?

Guest

Funny how Hillary fans were happy when the lieberal press polls indicated she would win the EC votes by a landslide. They Snowflakes were ecstatic with not one whining about the EC system. But when she loses the EC in reality then they all got triggered and whined "it's not fair!"

Like saying your football team had more total yardage so you should win the game, but the other team put more points on the board. Both teams knew the rules of the game and Trump out smarted idiot Hillary. It's the points not the yardage Snowflakes!

factchecker66

How can you live with such utter hate in your heart? Are you passing this on to your children? What happened to "Love Thy Neighbor" ????

Voltaire

The love thy neighbor went into the camp of "we are in this together". This is the inverse of the collective majority that wants everyone to wear masks and shuns dissenters. Both of these tactics/approaches are juvenile and counterproductive to say the least.

Jeanne T

Love your neighbors. NEIGHBORS. PLURAL. ALL of them. And that means we should not accuse the unemployed person, or the person whose business has closed, of being selfish simply because they want to get back to work.

Voltaire

Jeanne T. Conceptually, this is correct. I don't think that any is accusing anyone of being selfish because they want to get back to work. However, these individuals need to comply with social distancing/hygiene requirements, as best they can, and, if so, then there shouldn't be anyone who calls them selfish because that is wrong as they are being responsible. However, there are individuals who want to deliberately flaunt social distancing requirements which is the abdication of their civic responsibility to the community for a variety of reasons. Those individuals are being selfish and should be called out on account of that. .

Voltaire

Jeanne T, yes I would apply the same standard with Hillary Clinton wining the electoral college as that situation meets the same standard that actually happened in 2016 with Trump.

BLT

100,000 dead in America with double-digit unemployment and our self-absorbed gasbag of a President is tweeting about Joe Scarborough?

Only the hard core MAGA bitter enders are sticking with this drain circling circus. You can spot them because they're the only people (besides the dead) who aren't wearing a mask or worrying about maintaining a safe social distance.

Fiscalconservative

How ignorant can you be, President Trump banned planes from China on January 26, 2020 and the democrats mocked him. Nancy Pelosi marched through China Town saying it was okay. Governor Cuomo knew 60 percent of Covid deaths were occuring in nursing homes and did nothing.

LetsBreal

shhhhh. There's no room for reason, facts and logic here.

Guest

Youre a Dufus

scottva

And you're going to vote for a guy that just claimed that he will win against himself in the presidential election? This same guy, at a rally a few months back, announced he was running for US Senate. I could go on and on but why. So now people with health conditions, who cannot wear a mask are bad people and you want them to die? Typical Liberal.

Voltaire

How do you know that that individual will vote for Joe Biden? Also, the second premise is flawed as he did not link that premise that a person who cannot wear a mask is a bad person and he wanted them to die. Can you prove that liberals want people to die? That claim is a stretch.

Guest

Seriously? First of all, the 100,000 dead probably includes at least 50,000 that died of other causes. Places like NY and NJ, MI and other Democrat strongholds decided to fudge the numbers to make it really look like a pandemic. And how in the world does anyone come up with the conclusion that Trump is somehow to blame for the virus unless you have been indoctrinated on CNN and MSNBC news stories! People who choose not to wear masks are choosing to exercise their constitutional rights! You should too, or you may lose them more permanently at some future date.

Jeanne T

How many are unemployed now? Why are they now unemployed?

Voltaire

According to the latest economic data, I believe that there is approximately 36M people. They were initially unemployed because of the Government stay-at-home orders but now they be permanently unemployed because (1) they had businesses that they cannot reopen (due to revised government rules or simple unprofitability or (2) they were temporarily furloughed and the company/.corporations they worked for determined them to be an unnecessary overhead cost and eliminated them for improved efficiency and effectiveness.

Voltaire

How is the Joe Scarborough tweet from Donald Trump relevant to the conversation about reopening of Northern Virginia and Governor Northam? Answer is that it isn't. You really can't make the claim that people not wearing masks are only Trump supporters. Given the exceptions on the Governor's Executive Order, anyone with legitimate grounds, may not be forced to wear a mask and that includes those who do not follow Trump. The same argument applies to people failing to maintain social distancing. I see lots of people not following social distance rules and they are wearing masks. So, you could surmise that they may not support Trump.

And the winner of the dumbest comment I read in this amazing list:

@LoundounClear -- There is not a "cure" for the flu or common cold either, but we don't react in this manner.

Of course, people are still dying from the flu. This virus didn't replace it. It is killing people 4 times the rate of flu death. Most would agree that merits some attention. Most...but not the mask-averse Trumpsters

adopted_va_son

Thank you Moron (not name calling....."Moron" is in your name and most people have a first, middle, and last name, then usually go by their first name, so "Moron" is yours.) define "merits some attention?"

adopted_va_son

A new CDC report out yesterday, "For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26%. Officials estimate a 0.4% fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35% rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26% — almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it a month ago."

Voltaire

Actually, the premise that people are dying from the flu is conditional on the state of the spread. Since there is warmer weather, respiratory viruses, such as the flu typical abate and resurface when the weather is more favorable for it to spread. Also, LoudounClear's point about people's response to the common cold and/or flu is correct in that there was no direct Government intervention in trying to mitigate the flue and/or common cold (which is a coronavirus btw). People took responsibility for themselves and the world continued onward. Evenutally science did create a flu vaccine and that has helped mitigation. Why would COVID-19 replace the flu? They are two different strains of a virus and can live at the same time in the same region. What scientific evidence do you have that it is killing 4 times the rate of flu death. Nobody arguing that the COVID-19 doesn't merit Government intervention however the role of Government intervention and scope of said intervention is under dispute/discussion. Last point, the premise that everyone who does not wear a mask is a "Trumpster" is flawed. But that doesn't stop the collective majority from slamming people first and thinking later, no?

Jeanne T

"It is killing people 4 times the rate of flu death."

Where? In nursing homes, perhaps? Do you think it was a good idea to put COVID patients into those facilities?

scottva

Liberal logic would say that the old folks had one foot in the grave already and besides, it will help the planet.

Jeanne T

Well, that's basically what Cuomo said, that these patients would have died anyway. He now admits it was a mistake, but won't take any blame for it, instead claiming he was following the recommendations of "the Republican Administration." But, he said, he isn't "politicizing" it. Nope. The Administration never told him to put COVID patients in nursing homes. But, even if that were true, then why doesn't he follow the law when it comes to, for example, ICE? He's being selective in the what he follows. But Cuomo knows he's guilt. He, and he alone,. did this. He is responsible for upwards of 10,000 deaths of elderly citizens, those who died in nursing homes, plus those who died after they were moved into hospitals. He has also ruined his chances for higher political office.

Voltaire

This statement is nasty and illogical. There is no support for this premise. Talk about blanket condemnation and making claims with zero evidence to support the initial premise. Wow.

Voltaire

Jeanne T, explain to me how Governor Cuomo (D-NY) fits into the narrative about Governor Northam (D-VA) and the Phase 1 reopening of Northern Virginia? The answer is it doesn't but makes for a great political gotcha moment. What Governor Cuomo did or did not do is a matter for the electorate of New York state to determine. Governor Cuomo himself said that he did not want to run for higher political office just that of New York State Governor. [offtopic]

Voltaire

I hate to break it to you but COVID-19 may have entered nursing homes through other methods besides nursing home patients. Staff may have transmitted into the center and because of the center's design it has the perfect environment for spreading there and beyond if not detected through testing.

Jeanne T

There is no doubt that this could also have been a factor.....

Jeanne T

My above response is not "off topic", nor is it "a great political gotcha".

Voltaire

Jeanne T, actually it is. The article is dealing with Governor Northam and the reopening of Northern Virginia, not Governor Cuomo and New York State response and Cuomo's chances for higher office.

Loudoun Observer

Masks are almost completely ineffective. There are numerous studies from the last 45 days by the NIH, Univ of MN and a number of physicians at medical institutions that all reached the same conclusion. It seems links are not permitted here but some googling will pull up the studies.

Countyrez

Anyone have the "data" showing a particular state or region counting mask wearing people vs. those not wearing and directly correlating positive case increases or decreases? I think I can help, there is NO SUCH data other than the assumption everyone is secretly carrying the virus therefore wear a mask, unless you test negative, you are good for one day, because the next day the experts say you could be positive. Homunculus fallacy!

Prepare for the mask brown shirts to begin their patrol. Not wearing a mask will encourage social distancing from the brown shirts coming after you lest they risk their perceived safety.

Science Can Save Us

I think some of these "masks are slavery" commenters need to take a breath. This isn't pre-war Germany, this isn't Communist Russia, this is the US and people are trying to survive a disease for which can be fatal but for which there is no cure. If most think a mask can help keep transmission down, why the freakout? Assume it's because you think taking issue with masks and social distancing somehow makes Trump seem more rational and helps draw attention away from his initial and continuing bungling of our national response. Might work for those inside the bubble but out here where the majority lives, it just looks stupid.

adopted_va_son

"there is no cure?" -- Well, the overwhelming majority of people who get the virus that originated in China survive. This is NOT like the early days of AIDS, where if you got AIDS you died of AIDS, The CDC just published that they are now estimating the overall mortality rate to be 0.4% vs the normal flu of 0.1%. Also, there is not a "cure" for the flu either, there is a vaccine but that is for sure not full proof. We know the mortality rate is higher for people over 60 and people with preexisting conditions for both this virus and the flu. We need rational actions, not fear mongering.

Countyrez

Here is a "science" question. If masks are "proven" to prevent spreading, what does science say about Maryland mandating masks on April 15th, yet despite the mandate cases continue to climb to more than 45,000, 25% higher than Virginia. By your "science" the mask mandate should have done the exact opposite, without question, and not an increase? How is that possible? And in Virginia's cases, with no mask mandate, cases on the decline. How is that possible?

LoudounClear

Don't want to get all science-y but to say there is no cure is not the same thing as saying some people get over it. You can get over it for a number of reasons but if you have it and want to do something to stop it...sorry, today there's no cure for this virus.

Voltaire

Actually, the use of a mask only does not stop the spread of the virus. Further, there is conflicting evidence on the role that masks play and differing corresponding use guidance. The World Health Organization stated that people shouldn't wear masks. Health experts have said that masks should be worn only as part of complying with a comprehensive social distancing/hygiene approach They further stated that they worried that people would start wearing masks and then would ignore the rest of social distancing requirements. Based on random observations, they were right. Masks are not a replacement for individual responsibility. Today, Dr. Fauci, on an interview on CNN, said that a mask is not totally effective. That is the problem with masks. For the record, I wear one. Which pre-war Germany are you referring, WWI or WWII? If you are referring to Nazi Germany then you are correct. However, like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, we are starting to see the emergence of a collective majority who does care for diverging viewpoints from others and will use whatever approach they deem fitting to either shame/shun/scold them to conform with the majority viewpoint. That is a tactic that both the Nazi Party in pre-WW II Germany and the Communist Party in the USSR used to keep their people in line and that is not appropriate for the USA. Everyone has the right to individual thinking and opinion and those opinions may or may not be conforming with "group think". I hate to break it to you but diseases/viruses have been part of this Earth since time and they will continue to be. People dealt with Yellow Fever (1789), Spanish Flu (1918), Asian Flu (1957/8) etc. They didn't freak out like today with COVID-19 and the death counts for those earlier viruses were far worse than COVID-19. During those earlier periods, they took individual responsibility and simply carried on. They didn't wait for the Government to tell them what/when/how to do something. They didn't need the media preaching to them that "we are in this togther and better united" or "Stay Safe/Stay Home". They understood this and did what they needed to do. Now, there is a valid role for Government intervention in the response to the virus however it is not acceptable to have people abdicate their rights to the Government. That is what happening with COVID-19 and the Founding Fathers would be aghast at that. Now, concerning the premise that this "masks are slavery" rhetoric is some cover for making Trump rational and covers the national response is flawed. As the U.S. Constitution clearly shows, the Federal Government does not have a direct national response to public health emergencies. As public health experts have stated, for public health emergencies, it is the role of the State/local Governments, not the Federal Government, to directly handle the mitigation/containment strategy for the virus. The Federal Government is responsible for the logistics and policy support. The Federal Government cannot directly intervene into state/local government's responsibility unless (1) there is a formal declaration and/or (2) the State Governor requests it. As for Trump handling the response, the U.S. Constitution says nothing about the U.S. President having to "handle" the response. So, based on the constitution, as previosly addressed, it is the role of the state/local government as the main actors to fight this disease. So, in the case of VA, Governor Northam and Loudoun County Chairperson Randall would be responsible as well. Who is "the majority"?

adopted_va_son

@LoundounClear -- There is not a "cure" for the flu or common cold either, but we don't react in this manner.

pual mase

Sounds like your real motto is “ignorance can save us”

loudouncommonsense

still haven't seen a an actual statement that explains why a person (other than with a med condition exemption) finds it intolerable to wear a mask for a short period of time.

If it's for political ideology it's about as funny as I can imagine: ignore science at your own peril.

nrc2112

why do you have an issue with wearing a mask? Its not that hard to do and a minor incovenience.

Jeanne T

When you go into the hospital with respiratory alkalosis, which can be caused by anxiety from hyperventilating, the treatment is breathing into a paper bag, i.e., breathing in your own CO2. Now why is that important? Because when CO2 gets into your bloodstream, it converts into acid. So if you have respiratory alkalosis from breathing off too much CO2 this can be life threatening. And so breathing in your own CO2 can be the remedy for that. It can reestablish the PH balance of your bloodstream, and it's critical to saving these patients.

So what does putting on a mask mean and breathing into that mask? When you go out in public and wear a mask at all hours of the day that you're outside, you are doing your body a disservice. You are creating an acidotic state of your blood. You are creating a PH imbalance. It is crucial to your health to have a balanced PH in your bloodstream at all times. Why would you want to disrupt that? You're not only breathing in your own bacteria, flora, the whole time because you're not getting fresh air, you're hurting your body by breathing in your own CO2 for long lengths of time.

The masks that people are wearing are also highly, highly ineffective against viruses. Viruses are teeny tiny. And while doctors and nurses wear an N95 mask, an N95 mask has to be fitted, first of all, and is supposed to protect them from TB. What is TB? It is a bacteria. There's a big difference between a bacteria and a virus, mainly in size. A bacteria is about a thousand times bigger than a virus. So if you think you are protecting yourself by wearing a mask to the grocery store, you are wrong. You're actually making yourself more prone to infection by 1) making your body more acidotic and 2) when you're wearing one of them you touch your face more often. Viruses live on surfaces. They're not alive until they enter the body, and so when you touch your face or your eyes continuously because you're adjusting the mask because you can't breathe, there's a problem with that. You're doing your body a disservice if you think wearing a mask 24/7 is protecting someone, because it's not.

Science is wonderful. The human body is a miracle. Why are we working against it instead of for it? Why are we working against our immune system instead of for our immune system? Bump the immune system up! Stop trying to lower it down, like we know better. We don't. The body is incredibly amazing, and it knows far more than we ever will, and it can heal if you give it the tools to do it.

springerdad

It would be amazing if people would actually read the entire EO. This one statement is a biggie.

Any person who declines to wear a face covering because of a medical condition shall

not be required to produce or carry medical documentation verifying the stated condition nor

shall the person be required to identify the precise underlying medical condition.

scottva

Thank you sir! Just read through the EO and there it is on page 3

David Dickinson

The political cartoon of Northam wearing a hooded KKK "mask" is so obvious, but where is it?

Voltaire

OK. There is no evidence connecting Governor Northam to the KKK. Do we really need to add inflammatory racial rhetoric into a public health emergency discussion? What end does that gain? I see none.

David Dickinson

??? Didn't you see the picture he admitted being in before he said he wasn't in it.

Realist

I just developed a breathing issue...no mask for me.

scottva

Funny, me too.

CindyLou

I knew it!!! I can't even read through these comments but I bet all those crazy radical unethical republicans are having seizures over wearing a mask! It's hysterical!!! Everyone wants everything to open back up and things to move forward but as usual, those bully republicans think your taking their freedom away by wearing a mask trying to keep everyone from getting sick or dying. Here is a news flash for all you that live by anarchy. If your business is caught not wearing a mask, you will be shut down by the Health Department. So if you go in a business and you don't have a mask on, your hurting the business. If your a business and you think your above the law and a selfish person, your business will be shut down. Us Lucy goosey Liberals will be watching!!!

David Dickinson

You mean Republicans love freedom and Democrats love tyranny. There's a shocker.

Science Can Save Us

Freedom from thought is a liberating thing to some...

novanick

Pretty ironic statement when we have a Republican President doing anything and everything possible to turn this country into Trump Land. You know, a dictatorship.

Voltaire

The claim that only Republicans love freedom and Democrats love tyranny is false. There are Democrats who love freedom and there are some Republicans who apparently like tyranny. Blanket statement with no support is not constructive.

Loudoun1965

What's even more hysterical is your grammar. It's "We" and "loosey goosey."

scottva

CindyWHO must have majored in Common Core.

LetsBreal

Karen?

Voltaire

How do conclude that people who are upset with the concept of forced mask wearing are "crazy, unethical republicans"? That is a blanket characterization and that is wrong. Why are republicans bullies? It appears that this is a classic illustration that the collective majority does not want to hear differing viewpoints but rather wants to shame/ridicule/blast those with differing perspectives as those perspectives don't conform to the majority's argument. Why do you think that republicans want to live by anarchy? That premise is faulty. The last premise is amusing. So, we now are going to have a group of citizens reporting on each other. That is a tactic like communist/socialist/authoritarian regimes use to keep everyone "in line" with the ruling party's dictates. That is not right either.

Jeanne T

Frau CindyLou seems to be advocating a police state. She would fit right in.

scottva

Oh CindyWHO, please catch up. Take a look at the EO and under the Exceptions section it clearly lays out that people like me with a certain health condition does NOT have to wear a mask, nor provide documentation saying as much AND no one has the right to ask me what the health condition is. These Exceptions are in compliance with Blackfaces's Executive Order.

So CindyWHO, based on your thought process, frankly that of all Liberals, the government should NOW be involved in deciding what's best for a women's healthcare when it comes to abortion. However, I swear you people have always said it's a women's choice when it comes to abortion and her health. You want all people to wear masks, right? Why? To stop the spread of COVID. Yet, you want it to be a women's choice when it comes to murder or infanticide. Can't have it both ways CindyWHO.

Jeanne T

"Us Lucy goosey Liberals will be watching!!!"

I'm sure you will Frau CindyLou. Would you like to see a police state, like East Germany with its Stasi? You sound completely unhinged.

Pyracantha

They should enact a rule like the coastal communities do during hurricanes when the citizens refuse to evacuate. If you elect not to follow the rules, write it on your arm with a sharpie. That way the doctors and nurses will know who to admit, and who to leave on the sidewalk.

Voltaire

No, there shouldn't. Comparing a public health emergency to a natural disaster is comparing apples to oranges. Further, I believe that it goes against the Hippocratic oath not to help people when they need help. Doctors and nurses could not do that and keep their respective licenses as that is a prime target for malpractice litigation.

tolerantleft

Friday is such an arbitrary day? Why not today if it's so critical. Why isn't he wearing one during his presser (I really don't care but you make demands by fiat, then you must follow). This entire Wuhan virus has been a hoax. Take out NJ/NY nursing homes it's just a bad flu season.

David Dickinson

The danger here is that most masks (non-N95) are nearly worthless protection. It is more important to keep your distance. Low quality masks, which is what most people are wearing, give a false sense of protection. I haven't worn a mask in public because more people will keep their distance (the prevention measure that actuall works) if you aren't wearing a mask.

novanick

That is factually not correct. It is against the rules to post links but there have been studies done that have shown cloth masks reduce the spread by as much as 79% (for reference scitechdaily has did a piece on this on 5 May). I do agree with you that masks can give a false sense of security if you do not follow the other social distancing guidelines.

David Dickinson

And there are other studies that say they don't. Only 2 months ago we had a slew of medical experts saying not to wear masks because they aren't effective. Now we have other experts saying they are. Clearly, it isn't decided. But, what is clear, is the false sense of security masks give some people who then get too close to one another. The best way to avoid getting COVID is the avoid people and have good, healthy 6+ foot boundaries.

loudouncommonsense

pulling a weapon if someone says not to enter a store when a mask is required will likely not work out too well for you.

You can talk all brave, 2nd amendment-like, but something a bit more serious than someone saying you have to follow the rules for entry to a public business is required for a "self-defense" claim waterfordresident.

Righteousness, self or otherwise is irrelevant here. We are part of a society, whether you like it or not. Either follow the rules or leave; you can protest with signs and go wave guns or whatever makes you feel like an adult, but breaking a simple, public health requirement designed to protect everyone because you don't like it is a failing, not a strength.

Still have yet to see a valid reason (other than you don't like commie, liberal, middle of the road, left-leaning, whatever politics) for NOT wearing a mask. Please inform with an answer.

Voltaire

Actually, there is debate about the effectiveness of wearing a mask. The World Health Organization, for instance is opposed to the idea of wearing a mask. The CDC has waffled on it. I am not opposed to wearing a mask per se, but it doesn't do a lick of good if you are completely following ALL of the social distancing/hygiene requirements. People have done, with masks, exactly with the public health community didn't want which is people assume, incorrectly, that they are invincible to the virus because they wear a mask and don't practice the other key components of social distancing and hygiene such as hand washing. It takes compliance of ALL the elements, not just a mask, to help contain the spread of the virus. I see people in stores and other public locations wearing masks and violating the rest of the social distancing requirements. So, how is that effectively stopping the spread of the virus? The short answer is that it isn't. The last statement about people not liking "...commie, liberal, middle-of-the road, left-leaning, whatever politics) is not really germane to this discussion. Also, if the Government seriously believe that masks are an integral part of the solution, then the Governor should have authorized law enforcement (County Sheriff/County Police/State Police/City Police, etc.) to enforce it with the use of a Class 1 Misdemeanor in the criminal code. The Virginia Department of Health (unlike the New York Department of Health who have police) does not have the sufficient enforcement mechanisms to enforce this and ensure compliance.

NOVAUTE

Then you need to read the governor's order. Section D lists several "approved" reasons not to wear a mask.

scottva

My answer is I don't need to wear a mask because Governor Blackface said so. After all, I have a health condition and this meets Exception #6 in Blackface's EO. Don't like? Tough! I'm following Blackface's EO as written.

factchecker66

For Heaven's sake, stop the nicknames, your sound like trump and his childish tweets. His behavior is the laughing stock of the world and other world leaders make fun of him. And, oh, the cartoons that are floating around cyberspace. Can you persuade your Fearful Leader to act like a world leader for once.

Voltaire

facchecker66, I agree that both sides of this discussion need to stop the use of juvenile name calling and other childish antics. It doesn't help support your arguments at all and further stops "advancing the dialogue".

Voltaire

Actually, if the Governor gets enough reports that people rightly or wrongly are making this type of argument to circumvent the rule, then it would not shock me if the Governor, Governor Northam (not "coonman" "Blackface" or any other disparaging nickname) may want to revise his EO to make people provide documentation to support Exception 6.

Loudoun Observer

Remember how upset some people were when the boys (who were confused about whether they were boys or not) weren't allowed to use the girl's restroom at Target? Then the children couldn't learn because their school was named after a civil war hero that led a less than moral existence 200 years ago. After that, those same folks saw statues that "made them feel unsafe" despite being there for decades and being...well...statues. Now masks are the trigger event flavor of the month. This too shall pass and we will have a new trigger for the Fall.

Loudoun4Trump

I see no coverage of the very large protest at the county building on Friday....several hundred gathered to protest the Randall scandal and the hooded governor's attempt to moonwalk on everyone's civil liberties....Northum tells you to wear a mask even though he doesn't when on the beach this weekend.....typical leftist hypocrite...

Science Can Save Us

Astroturfed protests don't usually draw much press

ace10

This moron is unqualified to run a hot dog cart. Virginia deserves so much better.

Voltaire

I hate to break it to you but Virginia got what it deserved as it voted Northam in office. I believe that he has a while left on his term so you will have to deal with it and hope that the Republicans can find a good candidate or there may be another Democrat in office for 4 years....

More Cowbell

Likely to reopen. Wow, with less than 2 days, Gov could go either way. Meanwhile, I have to reach out to employees to see who can/will work, what hours, go through training, reach out to the 10000 of customers emailing/facebook/texting us/employees to see when and if we'll be open. If only Gov Gomer Pyle could make a clear and decisive decision.

RoundHillGuy

shows up to the beach this weekend with no mask.... orders us all to wear mask. rules for thee, not for me. I guess all the Karens of the world like LOUDOUNCOMMONSENSE will be speaking to all the managers if they see someone without a mask.

novanick

Northam was wrong and he owned up to it and explained the whole circumstance surrounding it. Unlike other politicians that don’t have an ounce of humility, among other things. I am really having a difficult time understanding this “not wearing a mask” viewpoint? We all have to wear shirts, shoes, pants to go into a store and I do not recall a national outrage over that long standing rule. This is no different, except it will be temporary due to a health crisis. So I guess I will be a “Karen” then and I will not give damn about bruising your precious egos.

Voltaire

If these people have concerns in a store, then it is their right to voice their concern to the manager to address. There is nothing wrong with people practicing civic responsibility.

Fiscalconservative

What about the restaurants that do not have outdoor seating? This plan does not help them. The lack of thought will surely force more restaurants out of business and that translates to more loss tax revenue. Being a politician is one of the few jobs you can produce below average results and still get paid

RandomName2019

That's a legitimate point, but I've seen restaurants preparing to spread patrons around inside so that there is distance between them. It will certainly reduce the number of patrons and that will negatively impact their revenues, but I don't see anyone offering a better solution. Do you have any?

More Cowbell

As usual, a press conference about nothing, check back tomorrow to find out if N VA can open. 6 criteria were meaningless, couldn't be measured, Nothing changed from 2 weeks ago, except now Randall claims it's safe. She is a disgrace and should Resign.

feathers

The headline should read..."Gov. Northam says northern Virginia likely to reopen Friday, orders face masks to be worn in public indoor spaces." We do NOT need to wear masks outdoors!

BobOhneiserEsq

L.C.S. You raise a very interesting point which our Governor fails to address. Should we have forced quarantine of individuals who are sick but refuse to isolate themselves voluntarily? (Shouldn't a medical doctor appreciate this reality?) Should we require health testing at the election booth, drivers license renewal, access to school by parents and children etc? Can we view a contagious illness as an unlicensed weapon? Regardless of position on these challenges to "rights" it should be part of the discussion beyond "to open or not to open" which for me is a bit too simplistic. I remain quite disappointed by this Governor who has done very little compared to promises he made to a group I was in which he spoke to in Leesburg prior to his election. Glad we have term limits in Virginia! :-)

scottva

NBC News Headline 5/26/2020: 'I'm looking for the truth': States face criticism for COVID-19 data cover-ups" My favorite part: "In testimony before the Senate earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said the actual number of people who've died as a result of the pandemic is "almost certainly" higher than what's been counted."

Voltaire

Given the medical community's concern about the lack of comprehensive testing being done by states, then Dr. Fauci's premise would be correct as the numbers of cases that are not reported due unavailability of test data would make the death count higher than reported.

hardworkingamerican

No Ralph "Coonman" Northam got caught in VA beach taking selfies without face covering and now he wants to put the hurt to all of us. OK VA, time to kick the revolt into high gear. CDC lied, Trump believes in Americans and America. End of story. LCS you are the piece of .... You have no knowledge of the suicides that are now greater in 2 months than all of last year you piece of ... It is time, our very lives and freedoms now depend on whether we are going to bow down to fake science that has been altered a million times in order to fit a liberal narrative. Of course Trump when he questioned Fauci's 10th about face and change he was called a science denier. Ok, the science is being politically motivated and Northam, Newsom, Como sacrificed thousands to try and blame Trump. These governors should be tried for murder. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! I am in GA and it is wonderful. In the airport idiots about 90% are wearing masks on their chins. SET US FREE!!

RandomName2019

I don't understand people like you. In the same breath that you vilify Northam for being an idiot at the beach (which he was) you also praise Trump, who has been an idiot at so many points in the last three months that I've lost count. Politics doesn't have to be a zero sum game where only one person in your preferred party can be right/wrong.

scottva

Of course you don't understand, you must be a Liberal. You see, Northam has been practically demanding people wear masks and practice social distancing, neither of which he did while enjoying the beach, which makes him a hypocritical moron.

"Trump, who has been an idiot at so many points" is just plain babble. Trump has said all along, if you want to wear a mask, go ahead and if you don't want to wear a mask, don't. Northam urges masks and social distancing, does not follow his own urgent message and Trump's the idiot? Comments like this will get you close to second place behind Blackface.

Voltaire

scottva. Wow, are you trying to make the claim that just because you are a liberal then you are a simpleton? That kind of rhetoric is unsubstantiated and counterproductive. Based on what I have seen on this site, there are some conservatives who don't understand as well. Governor Northam has been recommending people wear masks and practice social distancing. You are correct that he did neither while enjoying the beach, which makes him a hypocritical moron.

"Trump, who has been an idiot at so many points" may be just plain babble but that is his opinion and is entitled to express it. True, Trump has said all along, if you want to wear a mask, go ahead and if you don't want to wear a mask, don't. Northam urges masks and social distancing, does not follow his own urgent message and Trump's the idiot? Actually, they are both wrong. Northam was wrong for failing to to follow social distancing and not wearing a mask. Trump was wrong for, being a layman not a doctor, promoting a malaria drug as the solution to COVID-19 causing a supply shortage impacting those people who need it and encouraging people to take it when the scientific data, at best, is inconclusive.

CindyLou

hardnotworkingamerican…...HA #oonman has you by the #onads doesn't he? Be sure to wear your mask. No matter what you say and all your racial hate remarks at him he is the Governor and the people voted him in! Kinda like our worthless, traitor, lying, bully, President, who tried to hide this virus and thought it was "fake news". Set you free??? HA! Ask Colin about being free, you might want to take a knee with him.

Alex Jones

Grope and Change for you! "The Smell of Change is in the Hair"

scottva

Once again CindyWHO, do you ever read your comments before posting them? Masks are not required under Blackface's EO if someone has a health condition. This can be found under the "Exceptions" section, item #6. Happy reading if you can.

novanick

Good stay in GA then.

LoudounPulse

"The governor also ordered all Virginians to wear face masks in indoor public places beginning Friday"

Good luck enforcing that rule. I'm sorry, but employees aren't law enforcement officers. If the Governor isn't deploying the State Police to every indoor establishment, he is going to create civil unrest. You will have people not wearing masks and others calling the local police. Its just a matter of time until something escalates out of control.

RandomName2019

I'm sure that freedom loving people will respect the freedoms of business owners who ask you to wear a mask.

scottva

Unless you have a health condition. I love my freedom and it looks like Blackface has let you down with his Exceptions in the EO, huh?

Voltaire

I suppose that most people will. However, I suspect that there will be a fringe radical element that will push the regulation to the boundary just to do so. Counterproductive but probable.

Mike Kay

I hear that there are Loudoun businesses declining entry to people wearing masks. If anyone knows of any of these businesses, please post their names here so I can boycott them for life.

Voltaire

The short answer is that this mandate cannot be enforced as there are no real enforcement mechanisms. The Governor said that the Department of Health is left with the enforcement duty. Local/State law enforcement cannot enforce this as this item is not a violation of the Virginia Criminal Code. However, if this was as serious a matter that some claim, they should have made it a Class 1 Misdemeanor with law enforcement enforcement capability. That should get compliance I would imagine.

LeesburgD

@loudouncommonsense. One of you may be selfish, but the other one is certainly self-righteous.

Loudoun Observer

It's really up to the retailer. No actual enforcement on an individual basis per Northam and simply telling the retailer you have a medical issue ends the conversation and your need to wear a mask while shopping. Interesting to see how long it takes before the science folks have had enough and end the spreading of this with cotton masks and rubber gloves.

Simon

You are going to see a whole bunch of people with underlying medical conditions who can’t wear a mask. When you do not even state what constitutes a mask, you know how unserious it is. A celebrity was out with a crochet mask. I could scotch tape a napkin to my face and that would an ok mask. This is a joke.

Realist

I think I may make a tinfoil hat...

Voltaire

LOL. Best comment of the day.[smile]

Voltaire

Good point about what constitutes a "face covering/mask". A crochet mask? Really? A crochet mask would have little holes thereby negating any effectiveness. However, you mentioned a Hollywood celebrity and they are "with it" with logic. Nope, just the ability to act in a movie and they think are "power brokers". Give me a break.

Waterfordresident

Haven’t worn a mask since it all started. I will not starting Friday. I carry a concealed firearm. It’s a felony if I do. I cannot be forced to wear a mask. Good luck trying to stop me.

Science Can Save Us

I suspect you're not agitating to reopen bookstores either...

Realist

I have cwp.. has not heard this..

novanick

Oh so your willing to shoot someone asking you to wear a mask, let me know how that works out for you tough guy...

Voltaire

If that happens, you will find waterfordresident in the custody of the County Sheriff as that would be a clear infraction against the Virginia Criminal Code. Based upon guidance from the Department of Corrections, mask wearing would be required.

factchecker66

Is this a serious threat????

Guest

No, it's a reference to another law they would be abiding by. While they are wrong, typically wearing a mask while armed is a bad idea...right over your head.

Mike Kay

Waterford, so I assume you're ok with being shot in the face by someone whose personal space you violate while not wearing a mask? Liberty, right?

loudouncommonsense

In a store today in Leesburg, trying to walk down an aisle. Man, woman and child blocking way. I stopped, they asked what I was waiting for. I said 6' of distance or wear a mask. The man snarked "I don't have to." Well, now you do, you selfish piece of......

Matthew

Are you going to call the police when someone invades you’re space bubble? Lol. Still not wearing a mask. The government can’t tell me what to do with my body ... isn’t that the argument you always use for abortion “common sense?” Can’t have it both ways kiddo.

RandomName2019

No...that's not the argument at all, but good try.

tolerantleft

Excellent point. “It’s my body”. You know the abortion mills didn’t stop for Wuhan virus.

scottva

Mr. Blackface has made all of the businesses the police. No shoes, no shirt, no mask no service. He certainly is pro-business. Online sales, instacart, Amazon, Walmart will see an increase in home deliveries. All the Liberals are dancing in the streets over this, but at least 6' apart

scottva

I love it! Great flipping back on them!!

Matthew

My entire family had the wuhan flu. It was WAY better than getting actual flu! I am really not interested in making someone comfortable by putting a mask on. I sanitize my hands and respect your distance unless you act like “common sense.” That would not be a good move under any circumstances.

Voltaire

Scottva, Governor Northam made the businesses responsible for compliance with the EO but the actual enforcement is the Virginia Department of Health through civil/administrative procedures. Actually, I think that the lockdown will see the emergence os Box Store retailers be the ultimate winners in the retailer space and a lot of small business concerns going bankrupt and a large number of permanent layoffs as the lockdown showed that companies could be more efficient/effective with less staff. Good way to cut costs and redeploy that capital back into the business.

tolerantleft

Not wearing a mask. Arrest me.

Voltaire

There is nothing to arrest. The mandate to wear the mask in public places is enforced by the Department of Health, not local/state law enforcement. Also, this new mandate doesn't fall under the Virginia Criminal Code so there is nothing to arrest. Businesses who fail to comply may face administrative/legal sanctions.

Voltaire

Actually, no he may not. If he falls under one of those class of exemptions that Governor Northam identified during his presentation about the new order, then that individual does not have to wear a mask. Also, there is a question of enforcability as the Virginia Department of Health's enforcement powers are rather limited. If everyone is so sure masks are the answer, then the Governor should have used the Virginia Criminal Code and make it a Class I Misdemeanor with enforcement by law enforcement. That may have been a better approach but that requires leadership and assumption of risk of blowback and Governor Northam is about as weak as water in this front.

TPL

The obvious answer is that Virginia never needed a mandate, and certainly doesn't need one now. Positive test rates are dropping like a rock all over VA, and have been doing so for weeks. Even the total death toll right now in Virginia is below what the Flu accomplished in 2017-2018, with far fewer children affected this time around. The question then remains: Why do it? It seems the unions were pushing for this, that's it. Quite frankly, the most absurd part of the Governor's stance is how many times it changes when someone pressures him against his own initial plans. He said VA would move forward as one, then he granted exemptions. He said that he'd only enact further restrictions if the virus case rates began to increase instead of decrease, but he then caved and enacted such restrictions despite complimenting Virginians on doing such a great job voluntarily. He then said this mandate would only apply inside, but the actual order lists multiple outdoor situations where it also applies. The backtracking is absurd.

factchecker66

This must have been a trumpian family--they stick out like sore thumbs at Walmart. You can identify them a mile away.

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