Northern Virginia’s top health officials are calling on the state to delay plans to ease restrictions on businesses in the region May 15, pointing to data showing Northern Virginia has not met the governor’s thresholds for entering Phase One of reopening.

The directors of health departments and districts in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William signed the letter to State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver.

“We recommend continuing current community mitigation strategies and reassessing this on a regular basis to determine when Northern Virginia can move into Phase 1 according to these criteria (and any additional agreed upon criteria),” the letter noted.

In a separate letter from the board chairs in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William and the mayor of Alexandria, the elected leaders also called for “any changes to current policies be guided by what is occurring in our region.”

“We eagerly wish to rebuild our economy and help our residents recover,” the joint letter stated. “It is only through our regional achievement of these milestones that we will be positioned to avoid a more damaging return to business closures later in the summer.”

A regional delay would likely include communities from Prince William and Loudoun counties to the border with Washington, D.C.

A final determination is expected from the governor, but he has said that he would be open to Northern Virginia delaying Phase One.

Gov. Ralph Northam's chief of staff, Clark Mercer, suggested Friday that a possible delay may mean two weeks, or May 29, but suggested a final determination would come following discussions over the weekend.

The decision would likely send new visitors to nearby communities that would follow state guidelines, including Warrenton, Fredericksburg and Stafford County.

Phase One lets churches and non-essential stores open at 50% capacity — they're currently limited to no more than 10 guests. Salon and spas can open by appointment only.

Restaurants can open outdoor dining spaces at 50% capacity and gyms are allowed to offer limited outdoor classes.

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(22) comments

geffert

How about all our "representatives" go on unemployment for the duration. Why is it when we vote people into office they slowly (in the case of PWC quickly) forget about helping those who they represent?

duckbill

They are representing us well. We are not ready to open. Hope this is approved.

geffert

I wonder are you living on an unemployment check or just 'struggling" sitting at home.

InsideCommenter

As someone who has had to go on unemployment, I'm all for keeping precaution and following the science instead of reopening too quickly while cases are still rising. The reality is the economy will recover eventually, people can't be brought back from the dead.

Allen Muchnick

By "helping, do you mean protecting their constituents from a novel virus that has already killed 80,000 Americans and has hospitalized many more and that, if left unchecked, would kill millions of Americans and many tens of thousands of Virginians?

geffert

I agree common sense precautions are correct, but destruction of of economy is not one. This has proven no worse than annual flu, but the drum beats on.

MJMoonwalker

There is no getting thru to them. This is their liberal utopia being created.

InsideCommenter

Forget the economy, the damage is done we are in a recession and reopening the state will destroy the economy further. This delusional hogwash that "this has proven no worse than the annual flu", is such dangerous drivel that it has resulted in rhetoric that have gotten killed.

We have more DEATHS THAN THE VIETNAM WAR from this virus. InfoWars, Breitbart, and Fox News downplayed the virus early on, and the Trump administration defunded and didn't do all it needed to provide for testing and PPE. The reality is companies wanting to produce N95 masks here in the USA were turned down, while the GOP led by Trump and McConnell used OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO BAIL OUT THEIR FRIENDS.

EdP

In what way has it proven no worse than the flu? Flu killed about 35,000 in a year in the USA with no distancing. Covid has killed 70,000 in 2 months with some precautions. If Trump had done more sooner, we'd be opening by now.

todd6263

You are always welcome to exercise your constitutional right to stay home as long as you like.

Tom Fitzpatrick

They are helping those whom they represent. That's the problem, they represent national special interests (and a few local special developer interests) who financed their campaigns and tell them what to do. Puppets, just like that empty husk of a politician, Biden.

Lizzie LMT

To the Gods that be, Please let us have our lives back. This is ridiculous.

PWC resident since '69

What a bunch of clowns, do they want to wait until all are better and no new cases? Look where the most cases are ... densely populated zip codes where people are living on top of each other! Open up NOW, the mass of humanity at Lowes, Home Depot and all other “essential” businesses show that prople are NOT staying home.

GovBlackface will turn VA red again with his stupid policies. At the very least the surrounding jurisdictions will be getting a whole lot of NoVa residents coming down to shop!

InsideCommenter

Virginia will never be red again, that's for certain. Demographic changes in the state and the massive increase in people with college educations will ensure it stays that way, coupled with an inelastic voting base.

Governor Northam is much smarter, than you give him any credit, phase one reopening is already happening under his watch on May 15th, he is slow-rolling this and trying to balance helping the economy with ensuring we protect and save as many lives as possible.

Density is a good thing it is more environmentally friendly. it saves open space, and in the end the effect of density which has demonized by NIMBY's like yourself is a massive net positive as the savings on space and more efficiency and less traffic are a boon to the world as a whole. The reality is a lot of rural places with few hospitals, and little infrastructure in red states like SW Georgia have been hit hard by this virus and on a per capita level have more cases than even NYC.

swandive

According to Trump, we have had 3 years of the "greatest econmy" ever, thanks to him, yet, during those 3 years, people werent able to, or didnt cboose to put aside enough savings so that they could survive 2 months without income??[crying]

PJC

I would rather wait this out, then have to restart it again. My husband is out of work, it's very hard. I miss seeing my grandkids. I'm tired of the house. It's hard on everyone. ANd it's not like the flu. Most people do not end up in the hospital with the flu. They don't close the schools down with the flu. I would rather wait this out another couple of weeks, then go back to work and have to restart this crap all over again. ANd with the stuff with the kids now, it's better to wait.

Realitycheck

Where is the public input to a decision to further delay reopening businesses? Where is the voice of business owners in this decision? Show us the data that seems to dictate extending the shut-down? Citizens and business owners should be able to decide what risks they are willing to take and how to proceed with caution rather than a one size fits all to everyone in the county. This extended shut down sets a bad precedent for independent thinking in the county and the state.

I would suspect that the majority of businesses have already reached out to their representatives. If they haven’t, then they are derelict in their responsibility.

Tom Fitzpatrick

One size does ***NOT*** fit all.

Science? The only "science" at work here is political science. The only calculations are how to destroy the economy in order to destroy President Trump, and, ultimately, the conservative underpinnings and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Make no mistake, unilateral comprehensive closures absent the much vaunted "science" of analyzing the problem, and the solutions, was the real mistake.

When we have inclement weather, or a "government shutdown," a relative very few "essential" employees are required to report for work. If the vast majority of government employees are not essential then, they most certainly are not essential during the so-called existential crisis China and Obama's globalist policies and lack of preparedness have placed us in. So, furlough them, AND DO NOT PASS A LAW AFTER THE FACT MAKING THEM WHOLE.

Unity? The government wants unity? GREAT! Join the victims of government policy in unemployment and food lines. If we must endure social distancing, we should not accept economic policy distancing. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and misery loves company.

Joseph George for Neabsco District

Federal Employees are in three categories:

Mission Critical - reports into work during shutdowns

Emergency Essential - can report into work during shutdown or perform telework

Non-mission Essential - not expected to work during shutdowns

EdP

"destroy the economy in order to destroy President Trump" You really are paranoid. Almost 80,000 deaths due to not acting quickly enough on face masks and distancing is not trivial. Rather than pointing the finger at China and sort of banning travel, even though most infections came via Europe, they should have been issuing guidelines and providing PPE. He was so concerned about downplaying the risk to his precious stock market that he totally messed up the response.

"the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero" "One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Stoptheinsanity

If you don't want to leave home stay home. What are you going to do when the machine starts and you are left behind. You cannot hide from a pandemic but you can lose everything financially by being scared to live. All of the blue collars and laborers are still being forced to work. What makes white collar workers any different. The bank takes your home no matter what you do or who you are. Give me freedom or give me death. We cannot hide forever.

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