Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that northern Virginia, including Loudoun County, may enter into the second phase of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Friday.
Northam (D) delayed northern Virginia from entering the second phase because state officials needed more time to review the region's health metrics. Nearly a week later, the improving metrics have swayed Northam's decision to grant northern Virginia and the City of Richmond the opportunity to enter the second phase.
“Overall our numbers look good,” Northam said. “Most of Virginia just entered ‘Phase 2’ on Friday. Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond remained in ‘Phase One,’ but the metrics from those areas also looked positive, and they can move into ‘Phase Two’ as of this Friday.”
Under the “Phase Two” guidelines, restaurants, gyms, sports, outdoor entertainment venues and gatherings will be allowed to have up to 50 people.
Gyms and fitness centers can have indoor classes and workouts at 30 percent of their capacity, and swimming pools can open with some restrictions. Entertainment spaces such as museums, zoos, botanical gardens and outdoor venues can reopen with some restrictions. Recreational sports are allowed with physical distancing requirements and no shared equipment. Swimming pools can be open to exercise and swim instructions.
Public and private gatherings are limited to 50 people.
Northam is still encouraging people to telework, physical distance and to wear face masks in indoor spaces.
As part of his Forward Virginia plan to reopen, Northam's staff has been monitoring the number of positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, hospital bed and intensive care capacity, the amount of personal protective equipment at health care facilities and testing capabilities.
Loudoun County's total number of coronavirus-related deaths stands at 67. The last death was reported on June 1.
The number of cases stands at 3,174 on Tuesday, according to the latest figures reported by the state. There have been 185 hospitalizations.
Loudoun County's current 7-day average for percent positivity in testing has fallen to 10.8 percent.
Statewide, the number of cases on Tuesday jumped by 487 to 51,738. There have been 1,496 deaths, 5,203 hospitalizations and 388,480 tests administered across the commonwealth.