Governor Provides More Guidance on Reopening Virginia’s Economy

Date: May 09, 2020

Helpful information for small businesses


Friday afternoon, Governor Northam stated he anticipates Virginia will begin to ease restrictions on Friday, May 15th barring any unforeseen spikes in new cases or hospitalizations.  Phase 1 will last at least 2 weeks but could be several weeks depending on health data on new cases.  The reopening will be slow and deliberate. 

The Governor’s Forward Virginia plan has 3 phases.  You can learn more about the three-phase plan HERE. 

Below are some of the general and specific industry rules of Phase 1.  You will need to review the full guidelines HERE or HERE to ensure you comply:   


  • “Safer at Home” will be the new theme especially for vulnerable populations
  • 10-person limit for all gatherings
  • Social distancing when in public
  • Continue teleworking for all employees who can
  • Face coverings when in public
  • Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Best Practices such as practicing routine cleaning and disinfection of high contact areas and hard surfaces
  • Enhanced Workplace Safety Best Practices such as screening of employees; Instruct employees who are sick to stay at home and not report to work; Post signage in the common languages of the employees telling them not to come to work when sick; Develop or adopt flexible sick leave policies


  • Non-Essential Retail – May open with 50% indoor capacity; Delivery and pick up continues; Employees wear masks
  • Restaurants/Breweries – NO indoor seating; Takeout and delivery continues; Outdoor seating allowed at 50% capacity with required 6 feet social distancing between diners and from sidewalk or any public area; Required to use disposable menus; Employees must wear masks
  • Personal Grooming – Appointment only with strict social distancing requirements (50% capacity); Client and worker must wear face masks; Limits what services that can be done with mask; No lip waxing or beard trims.
  • Childcare – open for working families (same as before)
  • Gyms – NO indoor use; Limited outdoor exercise to 10 participants with 10 feet of distance and sharing guidelines for equipment
  • Entertainment and amusement (bowling alleys, theatres, etc.) – Staying closed
  • Beaches – Only for exercise and fishing
  • Private campgrounds – Open with distance between campsites; No gatherings of 10 or more
  • State Parks – Day use only; No gatherings of 10 or more; Overnight in phases
  • Overnight summer camps – Closed
  • Places of worship – 50% indoor capacity; Drive-in and Online still encouraged


Regional approaches to reopening:

Northern Virginia localities have asked to impose stricter restrictions than the ones listed above or delaying entering Phase 1.  The Governor’s office has asked regions to review the guidelines proposed to determine if they are ready to enter Phase I.  If a region is not ready, the Governor is open to letting them start later.  Those discussions will happen this weekend and announcements will be made next week.  Regions will not be allowed to have fewer restrictions than those noted above.


As with previous Executive Orders, these new guidelines will be enforced by local law enforcement who are able to write citations for violations.

NFIB and Other Resources:

NFIB Webinar “Getting Back to Business: COVID-19 Financial and Workplace Safety Updates“:

CDC: Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes:

CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

CDC Print Resources for Signage (NOTE: there are 3 pages of materials)

EPA-approved disinfectant:

Related Content: Small Business News | Virginia

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