News to Know for April 17: President Trump’s plan to open economy; Protests to open Va.; Car rally at Richmond jail; Meal program for first responders; Breezy, sunny day after frosty start

News to Know for April 17: President Trump’s plan to open economy; Protests to open Va.; Car rally at Richmond jail; Meal program for first responders; Breezy, sunny day after frosty start
Presidente Donald Trump. (Source: Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian / White House)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Here’s a quick look at our top headlines to help get you out the door.

Frosty Start, Breezy and Sunny Afterwards

Frosty start in many areas. then a quick warmup courtesy of gusty south winds. Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 60s. Rain at night.

Breezy and sunny after a frosty start

Three-Phase Plan To Open Economy

President Donald Trump gave governors a road map Thursday for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out “a phased and deliberate approach” to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

“We’re starting our life again,” Trump said during his daily press briefing. “We’re starting rejuvenation of our economy again.”

President Trump announces plans to reopen country, allowing governors to make final decision
President Trump announces plans to reopen country, allowing governors to make final decision (Source: WMC Action News 5)

The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus while holding the line in harder-hit locations.

They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.

Health Officials’ Warning

Richmond and Henrico’s Health Director says now is not the time to let down your guard and says the numbers in Virginia prove it.

Dr. Danny Avula says because Virginia has basically shut down to allow for social distancing, that’s why hospitals haven’t been slammed. The moment we let down our guard, he cautions, that could change.

It’s why he’s suggesting people of all ages continue to do their part to slow the spread - even as guidance came down from the White House Thursday that America will soon begin to gradually reopen. People gathering at the Capitol Thursday said they don’t understand why the governor is keeping Virginia on lockdown.

Over 200 COVID-19 Deaths In Va.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 6,889 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 208 deaths and 1,114 hospitalizations throughout the state Thursday.

The death toll jumped by 13 overnight, down significantly from the previous day’s jump of 41 deaths.

So far, 46,444 Virginians have now been tested for the virus.

Central VA Case Highlights:

  • Henrico: 497
  • Chesterfield: 267
  • Richmond: 188
  • Hanover: 61
  • Goochland: 41
  • Petersburg: 19

The numbers reported by the Virginia Health Department are only updated once a day.

Protest To Open State Back Up

Three newly formed groups came together Thursday morning to protest Virginia’s stay-at-home order and executive order closing non-essential businesses.

There’s growing frustration over Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order closing non-essential businesses until May 8.

Virginia Capitol police shutdown Capitol Square in Richmond due to protests.
Virginia Capitol police shutdown Capitol Square in Richmond due to protests. (Source: nbc12)

About 30 people, including families, gathered inside Capitol Square near the Governor’s Mansion.

Even more ended up outside the gates after Capitol Police shut down the public space, barring more people from entering. Capitol Police said they shut it down to disrupt an unpermitted event that could have posed a risk to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Car Rally

Advocates are expected to hold another a car rally at the Richmond Jail over the concern of inmate safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Advocates say the state government is not doing enough to reduce the number of inmates in detention facilities in response to the pandemic.

Richmond City Jail
Richmond City Jail (Source: NBC12)

The first “#FreeOurPeople Car Rally” was held a week ago where Oliver Hill Way was filled with at least 50 cars, signs and people honking their horns for several hours demanding action from Virginia leadership to release.

Meanwhile, Governor Northam did propose a change to allow the Department of Corrections to release certain prisoners.

Meal Program

First responders on duty will be able to order a meal from different restaurants each day, “ensuring that small businesses are given priority in nourishing the hardworking essential employees that protect civilians and organize emergency response every day.”

The City of Richmond has launched a meal program to help support first responders and restaurants.
The City of Richmond has launched a meal program to help support first responders and restaurants. (Source: Richmond Mayor's Office)

Restaurants with fewer than 25 employees within city limits are invited to apply to participate.

Once the restaurant is approved, the location will be assigned one or more dates the program with pay for the cost of the first responders’ meal.

The assigned restaurants will change each day to give as many as possible the chance to benefit from the program. Businesses that want to participate can apply, HERE.

Final Thought

A little progress each day adds up to big results - Anonymous

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