Tomorrow marks the beginning of two very important updates in our Commonwealth.
First, the Governor’s face covering order will take place. Per Executive Order 63, Virginians will be required to wear a face covering when they are in most indoor/public areas including retail stores, public transportation, and personal care & grooming establishments. If you do not have a mask and need information on what face coverings you could use (including ones you can make yourself!), please go to the CDC’s face covering webpage here.
Second, Northern Virginia and other localities that are still in Phase 0, will enter Phase 1. More information will be found further down this newsletter, but in general, restrictions on establishments such as non-essential retail stores and restaurants will be eased. However keep in mind that many social distancing and sanitization requirements will still be in place.
While Virginia moves closer to reopening, please keep in mind that it is still important to follow social distancing guidelines. Unfortunately during this week, our country has reached the 100,000 deaths marker due to COVID-19. This is a sad and sobering reminder that we are still not out of this pandemic and we must continue to do the right thing by staying at home when possible.
In the meantime, please continue to check on our friends, neighbors and family. Just because we are physically separated from each other doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally separated.
We must also do a wellness check on one another, especially our most vulnerable. Please remember, if you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, or the Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990.
If there is anything that I can do to help or if you know someone that is in need of help, do not hesitate to reach out to our office at 804-698-1051 or via email at DelHayala@house.virginia.gov.
The Governor's Update
The full press conference can be watched here. Please note that the Governor will be giving these press conferences every Tuesday and Thursday (unless an urgent update requires the Governor to speak on an off press conference day), and they will take place at 2 pm. They will be broadcasted and archived on The Governor’s Facebook and VPM’s YouTube channel. Some of the highlights from today’s press conference are as followed:
- There are now 41,401 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.
- Tomorrow, all localities in Virginia, including Northern Virginia, will be in Phase 1.
- More information on Phase 1 and what this means for Northern Virginia will be available in the section below.
- Virginia will remain in Phase 1 for a minimum of an additional week.
- While the Commonwealth will completely enter Phase 1 tomorrow, the face covering order will additionally begin tomorrow.
- This order is the Governor’s 63rd Executive Order. More information can be found in the Executive Order section below.
- 39 CVS locations will offer community testing sites throughout Virginia. More information can be found here.
- PPE continues to be distributed at a consistent rate. Just this week: 30,430 N95 masks, 143,450 surgical masks, 169,400 gloves, 780 goggles, 35,930 gowns, 175 coveralls, and 8,810 face shields were distributed.
- Recreational beaches throughout Virginia will be allowed to open tomorrow, however, they must adhere to social distancing requirements which include (but not limited to): no large gatherings, no tents, no alcohol, and no group sports.
- NASCAR and other racing events can operate single day events under strict guidelines starting tomorrow. These events will not be open to the public, no spectators can attend.
- The Governor announces a $64 million Microsoft expansion into Reston. This will create over 1,500 new jobs for Virginia.
- The Governor is extending the time Virginians can renew their expired driver’s licenses. If your license or ID card expires before July 31st, you will have until August 31st to renew it.
- The federal government will extend its Title 32 status for Virginia’s National Guard. This means the federal government will continue to fund the state’s National Guard while it helps with the COVID-19 response.
Additional Data and Information
- According to the VDH website:
41,401 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.
4,442 of those individuals have been hospitalized.
1,338 of those individuals have lost their lives to this virus.
This virus has been shown to disproportionately affect the African American and Hispanic/Latino population throughout the country. As such, Virginia has begun to collect race/ethnicity information. With the 27,916 cases we have racial data on, 5,855 are African Americans. With the 26,867 cases we have ethnicity data on: 13,045 are Hispanic or Latino.
Northern Virginia’s Current Status Regarding Phase 1
Earlier this month, the Governor released the criteria for the state to move to Phase 1 of reopening the state, with the caveat that localities can delay their reopening if they feel they have not met this criteria.
While Virginia is now in Phase 1, Northern Virginia delayed its Phase 1 opening.
In a letter written by Northern Virginia leaders sent to the Governor on Sunday, May 24th, “jurisdictions have been making preparations to support a transition into Phase 1 at midnight on May 28th.” The Governor’s Executive Order delaying Phase 1 for Northern Virginia and other localities will expire and allow all of Virginia to be in Phase 1 starting Friday, May 29th. The Phase 1 opening will include easing of restrictions such as:
- Non-essential retailers opening up to a 50% capacity.
- Personal care and grooming establishments opening with strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, and must host appointments only.
- Restaurants reopening outdoor seating to patrons at 50% capacity.
- Places of worship having attendance at 50% of normal capacity.
- Gyms hosting certain outdoor fitness classes.
COVID-19 Executive Orders
Since the pandemic reached Virginia more than a month ago, the Governor has issued numerous executive orders to address it. Here is a brief explanation of each, as well as the links to the full Executive Orders.
Most recent Executive Orders:
Executive Order 61 begins Phase 1 on May 15th by easing certain restrictions on businesses and individuals in Virginia in response to the pandemic.
Executive Order 62 delays Executive Order 61’s Phase 1 opening in Northern Virginia by continuing Phase 0 restrictions.
Executive Order 63 institutes the face covering order. Virginians will be required to wear face coverings in most indoor and public spaces.
Link to all Executive Orders here.
COVID-19 Resource Page
I have a page on my website dedicated towards providing resources offered by the state, local government, and other entities, to those who need it. If you need assistance please visit the webpage now!
Additionally, there are other helpful, informative links that I would recommend you take a look at so you can stay up to date on this dynamic situation. You can visit the webpage here.
Prince William Testing Sites
Walmarts in Dumfries and Manassas will offer no cost, drive-thru COVID-19 testing starting today. These will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:00 am - 9:00 am.
Eligibility is restricted to first responders, health care providers, those with symptoms, and those in high risk groups. If interested, visit www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com to check eligibility.
UPDATE: COVID-19 testing will be offered by Prince William County's government TOMORROW, Friday May 29th. It will be at the Hylton Memorial Chapel (14640 Potomac Mills Rd., Woodbridge) from 10 AM - 6 PM. More information can be found here.
Prince William County Information Center
Here is further information on what our county will be doing during this time:
- Prince William County has instituted a text alert system for COVID-19. Those interested in receiving updates from the county via text can text COVIDPWC to 888777 for English or COVIDPWCES to 888777 for Spanish.
- Additionally, residents can call the county's information at (703) 794-4669, Monday-Friday, 8 am - 5 pm, for information regarding county government operations.
- Health questions related to COVID-19 can be addressed by the Prince William Health District's call center #: (703) 872-7759, 9 am - 5 pm, seven days a week.
- Prince William County Schools, along with all of Virginia’s schools, will be closed for the remaining academic year.
- School Age Child Care (SACC) will be closed from March 16 onward.
- PWCS and the County will provide packaged breakfasts and lunches at select locations throughout the county to anyone under the age of 18. For a complete list of all to-go food locations and additional information please click here.
ERs Remain Open and Safe
Emergency physicians working on the frontline of this crisis continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing and stay at home when possible. But, the doctors say, Virginians should not delay necessary medical care, especially if you think you are having an emergency.
My Virtual Town Hall
Tomorrow, I will host my weekly COVID-19 town hall. I’ll be hosting these town halls every Friday at 1 pm on my Facebook page. Here is the event page. If you’d like to ask me a question, please fill this form out.
If you were not able to listen and/or would like to receive the information I presented, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Contact Information
Email to: email@example.com, or call my office at: (804) 698-1051.
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In closing, I am here for you as is our Governor and our government agencies who are readily available to help during this tough time. It is important we prevent the spread for the safety of everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable. In addition, let's focus on caring for one another and beating this virus together.