See below for Gov. Ralph Northam’s press conference today, at which he announced that Virginia will be moving into Phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening on July 1. That DOES include Richmond and Northern Virginia, unless Gov. Northam hears from them differently.
- Northam emphasized that data’s looking good, contact tracers are being hired, we’re seeing a declining trend in people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID test, and that’s been trending downwards for a couple weeks. Northam added that hospitals continue to have bed capacity, that we’re averaging between 8k and 12k tests per day, and that the % of positive tests has been trending downwards (now at 6.4%). Northam says we also have enough PPE for our hospitals.
- With all of that, Northam says we’re comfortable moving into Phase 3. Still safer at home, encouraging teleworking, face coverings and social distancing. But caps on capacity for non-essential retail will be lifted, and other changes (see chart, below). Northam says cases are on the rise in other states, doesn’t want to see that happen here in Virginia.
- Northam says there are encouraging signs in the economy, will have more to say on Thursday.
- Northam says ongoing protests that started with the killing of George Floyd. There have been 482 demonstrations in communities across Virginia so far, have helped focus attention on racial justice/injustice, have helped push necessary action on Confederate monuments, police reform and other important equity issues. “Action is coming.” Mostly, the demonstrations have been peaceful, but there have been nightly conflicts in Richmond. After three weeks, it’s no longer clear what the goals are or the path to achieve them. These nightly conflicts cannot continue indefinitely. Need to work towards meaningful policy changes.
- Northam encourages everyone to keep protests peaceful. He says he’s not going to direct the police how to do their work, although he says he doesn’t like to see the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. But he stressed that people do need to abide by the law (and he stresses that the vast majority of protests HAVE been peaceful), and if they don’t abide by the law, then the police will need to take action. Northam says that what he’s worried about is that, after the sun goes down, there seems to be a different crowd than during the day at the Lee Monument. Northam says it’s unfortunate this process is in the legal system, and that it’s delayed taking the monument down.