Phase one will reopen several businesses


Those of you who have been waiting eagerly for a chance to worship in a group, get your hair cut or styled or sit down for a restaurant meal will soon get some relief.

Gov. Ralph Northam Friday described details of the plan for phase one of a three-phase process to reopen Virginia’s economy. Phase one, which will last for two to three weeks, begins May 15.

A 10-person limit on public gatherings stays in place for now.

The governor’s “stay at home” orders transition to “safer at home,” meaning that people should continue staying at home as much as possible and maintain social distancing.

Non-essential retail businesses will be able to increase the number of people allowed inside from 10 percent to 50 percent of the store’s capacity.

Restaurants and breweries with outdoor seating can allow outdoor seating, up to 50 percent of their capacity.

Gyms can hold outdoor classes with limitations, but otherwise, those facilities along with “entertainment and amusement” facilities must stay closed for now.

Places of worship may hold indoor services at 50 percent capacity. Individuals will be required to stay at least six feet apart, unless they are family members. Worshipers will be strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.

State parks will be open for day use only, following the 10-person limit on gatherings.

But what about those personal grooming needs?

Here are the most significant requirements for beauty salons, barbershops, spas, massage centers, tanning salons, tattoo shops “and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed”:

• The business can allow no more than half of its lowest state-allowed occupancy load, and everyone inside must stay at least six feet apart “as much as possible.”

• Services must be provided by appointment only, with only one appointment per service provider at a time. Appointments must be sufficiently staggered to allow for thorough work station and tool cleaning and disinfection.

• Work stations must be separated by at least six feet.

• Employees who come in contact with customers must wear face coverings.

• Businesses must either provide face coverings for clients or ask them to bring their own. Services that require removal of face coverings remain prohibited.

• Employers must maintain a list of the names and contact information for all clients, to include the date and time services are received.

For more information, visit