Virginia Reopening: A Brief Look at Phase One

May 12, 2020

It’s tough to live in such times as these, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! This month should see the beginning of Phase One of Governor Northam’s plan to reopen Virginia communities and businesses when the COVID-19 crisis begins to recede. In his May 9 statement, he discussed his plan for getting back on track and beginning to allow nonessential businesses to reopen. We know Lynchburg businesses are hopeful that this could be the beginning of a gradual return to some kind of new normal for those that have been affected by COVID-19, and a recharge for our local economy.

Beginning the LYH Recharge

Since March 17, government orders have prevented groups of more than 10 people from congregating in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many entertainment, recreational and personal care businesses have been closed or have had to adjust their services and times in order to accommodate social distancing regulations. These businesses include:

  • Entertainment venues, such as theaters, museums and event venues
  • Exercise facilities
  • Zoos, bowling alleys, social clubs, skating rinks and “all other places of indoor public amusement”
  • Barber shops, salons, spas, tattoo shops and any other personal care business where people cannot stay six feet apart

We know Lynchburg businesses are ready to get back to serving their customers and recharging our local economy. To assist with this endeavor, on April 24th Governor Northam unveiled his “Forward Virginia” Blueprint for easing public health restrictions. This plan includes a strategy for testing, tracing the infection rate, boxing the virus into containment and reopening businesses with strict safety regulations in place. Some of these regulations include continued mask wearing, social distancing and some restaurant dining rooms reopening with increased space for table layouts and patio dining. Also, churches will be able to reopen at 50 percent occupancy, assuming members continue to follow social distancing regulations. Additionally, as part of this first-phase reopening plan, Governor Northam has established a COVID-19 Business Task Force made up of a diverse group of Virginia business owners who will provide advice, support and guidance on how to allow businesses to open up again safely and responsibly. All information on these plans can be found on our COVID-19 response page, along with other federal, state and local business initiatives and support.

Lynchburg businesses have shown themselves to be creative and resilient in the face of this health challenge. We deeply appreciate the overwhelmingly positive response that our community has demonstrated in supporting one another during this time. As we move forward into a period of recharging the economy, the Office of Economic Development & Tourism is here to help every step of the way with programs and initiatives to keep Lynchburg moving forward as the best small city in America.

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