Chamber Insider Blog

What Does Phase I Mean for Loudoun Businesses?

Post written on May 4, 2020 by Grafton deButts, VP of Membership & Government Affairs

Today Governor Northam announced Virginia’s plan to “reopen Virginia” and move into Phase I of the Governor’s three phase plan.  In order to move into Phase I, the Governor has extended Executive Order 53 to May 14th.  This order, originally signed on March 23rd, prohibited all gatherings of more than 10 individuals, closed all dining establishments for dine-in, and effectively closed all entertainment and personal care businesses such as gyms, beauty salons, and theaters.

As long as the new COVID-19 cases continue to show an average downward trend, Phase I will allow the reopening of most services, prohibited in the executive order, on Friday, May 15th.  The expectation of the Governor is that Phase I will last three weeks.  Assuming the downward trend continues for an additional three weeks, Virginia will move into Phase II.

The details of Phase I include:

  • Stay-At-Home has been replaced with Safer-At-Home to remind residents that a risk continues to exist when leaving the home.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 remain prohibited.
  • Businesses are encouraged to develop policies for their employees returning to the workplace.
  • Physical distancing and face coverings are encouraged while at work.
  • Personal care businesses may reopen on a reservation only basis.
  • Restaurants may reopen for dine-in patrons by spacing out their tables, disinfecting more regularly, and serving with facemasks and gloves.
  • Retail businesses may reopen with limited capacity and clear signage to customers communicating the spacing rules.
  • Gyms may reopen with limited capacity and increased cleaning intervals.

Governor Northam estimates that Phase I will last two to four weeks before moving into Phase II.  Once we enter Phase II in mid-late May, even more restrictions will be lifted.  The Governor did say that more details are currently being developed for Phase I and Phase II, but as of now the expectations of Phase II are:

  • Stay-At-Home for vulnerable populations.
  • No social gatherings greater than 50.
  • Continued use of teleworking, social distancing, and face coverings while in public.
  • Further easing of business limitations.

We will remain in Phase II until there is no evidence of a rebound of COVID-19 for a sustained period of time. The Governor expects Phase II could last 6-8 weeks before we move into the “longer-term” Phase III.  The guidance of Phase III includes:

  • Safer-At-Home practice for vulnerable populations.
  • Removal of ban on social gatherings.
  • Removal of capacity limits on establishments.
  • Continued heightened cleaning and disinfecting.
  • And other possible measures.

Stay tuned to the Governor’s Facebook page for future direct updates on this and other executive orders and watch for future emails from the Loudoun Chamber on how to prepare your business for Phase I.