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Governor Northam has delayed Phase One of the Forward Virginia reopening plan for Northern Virginia, including Arlington, until at least Thursday, May 28 at 11:59 p.m. to allow more time to meet certain health metrics. Other regions across Virginia begin Phase One tomorrow, May 15.
This past weekend, the Chairs of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties and the Mayor of Alexandria wrote to the governor requesting the delay . The elected officials cited an assessment by our region’s public health directors that Northern Virginia has not yet met the criteria for moving into Phase One . Among the data they cited is that Northern Virginia’s percentage of positive COVID-19 tests is substantially higher than the rest of the Commonwealth’s. Northern Virginia has about a 25 percent positivity rate, while the rest of the Commonwealth is closer to 10 percent. Also, 70 percent of the Commonwealth’s new positive cases are located in Northern Virginia, according to the governor’s office .
Responding this request, Governor Northam issued Executive Order Sixty-Two , delaying Northern Virginia’s entry into Phase One of Forward Virginia. This order applies in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park; and the towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna. The order keeps our region in “Phase Zero”, extending of the restrictions of Executive Orders Fifty-Three and Fifty-Five until 11:59 p.m. on Thurs day, May 28. These restrictions include:
  • 10-person limit in non-essential retail
  • Restaurants limited to takeout and delivery
  • 10-person limit on gatherings (also continues in Phase One)
  • Teleworking encouraged for office work (also continues in Phase One)
  • Personal grooming facilities (salons, barbers, etc.) closed

Looking Ahead: Preparing for Phase One
Even though Arlington and the rest of Northern Virginia will remain in Phase Zero for the next two weeks, we can use this time for to prepare for Phase One . The Commonwealth of Virginia has set up a Forward Virginia website with Phase One guidelines for all businesses, and specific guidance for certain business sectors. These guides include both information on what will be permitted and prohibited , and best practices for cleaning, disinfection, social distancing, face coverings, and other health and safety practices that will apply in Phase One. They have also prepared this chart showing what will change in Phase One for quick reference.

For additional information and resources, visit the Chamber's COVID-19 Resource Center.