Virginia Governor Keeps COVID-19 Restrictions Through Labor Day Weekend

| September 1, 2020 | 0 Comments | News

Gov. Ralph Northam presents on COVID-19 ahead of Labor Day Weekend.

Governor Northam announced Tuesday that he would not be easing any COVID-19 restrictions before Labor Day so that the virus does not “surge” over the weekend.

The governor said when Virginia and other states eased restrictions around Memorial Day and Independence Day, it resulted in surges of new COVID-19 cases. Northam considered advice from infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci who presented virtually to a governor’s conference.

Virginia is currently in Stage 3 restrictions. Restaurants are open and people can gather up to 250 people or 50% occupancy. However, businesses must make it possible for parties to social distance and people must wear masks in public spaces.

Holiday Recommendations

To stay safe from COVID-19, the Virginia governor strongly recommended people do not congregate in big groups this weekend, and that they continue to social distance and wear face masks. He said if people do congregate, they should do so outside.

He said while Labor Day holiday can be a big day for businesses, especially for tourism in eastern parts of the state, he refused the request to ease restrictions.

“We have come too far to go back,” he said. “If we can keep the numbers down in the community it will allow our schools to open sooner, our colleges and our businesses in the community.”

He said that after the holiday he would review the data and reevaluate. Northam praised the beach areas for bringing its numbers down and asked that we all do our part.

“We could get this under control very easily, if we all did the right thing,” Northam said. “It’s in our hands. It really is. If we follow the guidelines, if we wear our masks, if we keep our distance, if we wash our hands, we can get this virus under control. It can be done.”

“We could get this under control very easily, if we all did the right thing,” Northam said. “It’s in our hands. It really is. If we follow the guidelines, if we wear our masks, if we keep our distance, if we wash our hands, we can get this virus under control. It can be done.”

Current Virginia has a 7.4% positivity rate. At one time that was as high as 20%, but it also fell within the 6% range. He warned people not to let their guards down. “It’s alive and well and very, very contagious.”

He said the U.S. has now endured two seasons of COVID-19, and he expects a safe vaccine will not be available until winter or later.

DMV

Because of COVID-19, Northam has once again, extended the date for people to get identification information updated from the Department of Motor Vehicles by 60 days.

COVIDWise App

He recommended people download the COVID-19 app COVIDWise App for their smart phones, which will alert users if they had been somewhere a COVID-19 positive person had been. It uses Bluetooth technology rather than allowing the state to track and store users personal information.

Flu Shots

The governor, who is also a physician, recommended people get their flu shots right away as bad flu season during COVID-19 outbreaks could be devastating. However, he expects social distancing and hand-washing will result in fewer flu cases in 2020-21.

COVID-19 Testing 

But as time passes, Northam said fewer people are showing up to testing events, but encourages people to take part. He said he is excited to announced Virginia will be offering more antibody tests to provide people and the community with more information.

As the virus disproportionately affected Latino communities and communities of color, Virginia has set up many free testing sites in ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

Education 

Northam assured educators that despite the Trump Administration calling teachers “essential workers,” he does not want teachers going to school if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or area waiting their COVID-19 results.

He said he is monitoring the situations on college campuses, which have been allowed to open with proper protocols in place.

He said he will leave it to historians and epidemiologists to one day determine if Virginia handled the situation correctly, but at this time he will not play “Monday morning quarterback.” “I’m going to take Virginia Forward,” he said.

U.S. Census 

Northam also used the press conference to recommend every household complete the 2020 U.S. Census if residents have not  done so. The deadline is Sept. 30. Any person living in the U.S. ought to be counted, regardless of citizenship status or age. The census does not require a social security number nor no political information. Personal information will not be shared with other federal agencies such as those handling immigration issues.

However, it will inform the funding and representation of the states for the next decade. Thus far, 80% of Virginia households have participated and Virginia has the 7th highest participation rate in the nation.

Virginia receives $2,000 a year for every resident, and billions of federal tax dollars are available for education, health care, food services and other essential needs.

Due to COVID-19, it would be better for people to fill out the census online or through the mail rather than waiting for someone to show up at their door, and it only takes 10 minutes or less to complete.

People can call 844-330-2020 of CountOnVirginia.org for information.

November Elections 

Northam also promised safe elections. He said the state is in need of poll workers, this year, particularly healthy people at low risk for having a serious reaction to COVID-19.  He said protocols will be in place to keep people safe from COVID-19.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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