Governor Northam’s COVID-19 Briefing – 5/8/2020


  • Phase One of re-opening will start Friday, May 15.
  • “We are not flipping a light switch from closed to open. It’s more of a dimmer switch.”

FORWARD VIRGINIA PLAN: Phase One – Begins Friday, May 15th

  • First of three planned phases, each lasting approximately 2-3 weeks:
  • Phase One specifics:
    • 10-person limit on gatherings will remain.
    • “Stay at home” order will change to a “safer at home” order.
      • People should still maintain social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.
    • Non-essential retail can increase the number of persons allowed inside from 10 to 50% of the store’s capacity.
    • Restaurants and breweries with outdoor seating permits can allow patrons to sit outside, up to 50% capacity.
    • Gyms and entertainment and amusement facilities remain closed.
      • Gyms can hold outdoor classes with limitations.
    • Beaches are open for exercise and fishing only.
    • Places of worship may hold services inside, at 50% capacity.
    • Salons will be allowed to open with strict social distancing guidelines, and by appointment only. 
    • State Parks are open for day use only, with 10-person limit in place.
    • Child-care will remain open to only working families.
    • Overnight summer camps will remain closed.
  • Teleworking is still strongly encouraged.
  • Phase One is expected to last at least 2 weeks, possibly longer, dependent on what the data shows moving forward.
    • Local governments are encouraged to consult with the Governor’s administration as they move into Phase One if they feel that they need to maintain more stringent guidelines.
  • Businesses are permitted to re-open IF they meet the Phase One guidelines, but must remain closed if they are unable to do so.
  • No business is required by the state to re-open.
  • Data and guidelines are available at:


  • Doctors’ offices and hospitals are safe.
  • PPE supply remains sufficient and sustainable.
  • MSV and VDH are working together to provide testing capacity to hospitals across Virginia.
  • MSV is conducting needs assessments in hospitals to increase testing capability and training opportunities in areas of need.


  • Total cases: 22,342
    • 772 new cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.
  • Total hospitalizations: 3,049
  • Total deaths: 812
  • Total tests: 143,220


  • Data has shown a downward trend in positive cases over the past 2 weeks.
    • This is a positive step toward the 14-day goal.
  • The number of hospitals experiencing difficulty getting PPE has been trending downward over the past several weeks and has dropped significantly in the last week.
  • The number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has remained flat and well below hospital capacity.
  • The number of days over which COVID-19 cases are doubling has increased from 3 days in March, to 16.


  • Anyone who feels that their place of work is not following the Phase One rules is encouraged to report this to the Department of Labor and Industry.