Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax – today begins Phase One of "Forward Virginia," Governor Northam's plan for reopening. I shared more details of Phase One in a prior newsletter. Then, it applied to other areas of Virginia. Now it applies to us.
I know it's rough out there. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and we're in quarantine. If you can take a walk outside, bring your mask and please do. Enjoy all the beauty of nature. And keep six feet apart from your neighbor. Social distancing is hard. We all crave the human connection. There will come a time again for hugs. Don't forget your humanity.
On Sunday, May 10, the Mayor of Alexandria and Chairs of the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, sent the Governor a letter saying that Northern Virginia is not ready for Phase 1. The Directors of Northern Virginia's local health departments also sent a letter stating their assessment, according to the stated metrics for a successful reopening, that the Northern Virginia region has not "met the criteria for moving into Phase 1 at this time."
Governor Northam announced at his Monday, May 11th press conference that Northern Virginia will not begin Phase 1 when the rest of Virginia does.
Governor Northam announced today that Executive Order 53 - which declared the closure of all non-essential businesses that couldn't maintain proper social distancing and gave guidance to the businesses that were essential (like grocery stores and pharmacies) on how they can operate safely - is being extended through May 14. The Governor stated his decisions regarding the re-opening have been and will continue to be based on daily incoming data and evidence. But barring any unforeseen sudden change in the data, the Executive Order will expire on Friday, May 15.
I hope you are safe and healthy and socially distant. These times are hard for all of us and on some more than most. If you are an essential worker -- whether a health care provider or a grocery store clerk -- risking your life to save ours, I can't thank you enough. You are the true heroes of this time.
On Wednesday, April 22, I will drive to Richmond early in the morning to reconvene with other legislators across the Commonwealth to consider Governor Ralph Northam's 102 recommendations to our bills, along with his one veto and his 181 proposed budget amendments.