Mayor Stoney says Richmond can ‘cautiously move’ into phase one of reopening Friday

Mayor Stoney says Richmond can ‘cautiously move’ into phase one of reopening Friday

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond's Mayor is now preparing his city to transition into phase one of reopening.

“We’ve always believed that in this public health crisis it’s not a one size fits all model for each locality," said Mayor Levar Stoney. "This decision places us in a position of trying to decide to move forward into phase one this Friday.”

Wednesday the mayor announce how the city will cautiously move into phase one.

Stoney is disappointed in the governor's decision to not allow a modified phase one for Richmond, which would have kept restrictions on salons and places of worship even longer.

"The city is more diverse than the average Virginia locality and a you see from our data it makes us, our people more susceptible to this virus and so just out of caution, we've chosen to be slow and steady about our reopening approach," said Stoney.

Richmond will enter the state's reopening plan, with strong recommendations reflecting the mayor's proposed modifications. Local guidance and helpful links to state guidance are available here. The state has yet to provide guidance on what Phases 2 and 3 will include.

The best practices emerged from conversations between the Stoney administration and members of the business community, faith leadership, and health professionals.

  1. All residents who are medically able to should wear face-covering that covers the mouth and nose when in public spaces. The wearing of a face-covering does not negate the need for 6-foot social distancing.
  2. Faith communities should continue to meet virtually if possible. If in-person meetings are absolutely necessary, the mayor strongly recommends faith groups meet outside while practicing strict social distancing and enforcing the face-covering requirement.
  3. Food and drink establishments that choose to offer outdoor service at half capacity are asked to request a name and contact information of patrons who dine in for contact tracing purposes. This practice is voluntary for both patrons and restaurants. However, collecting this small amount of information for each dine-in party will go far in assisting the Richmond City Health District in tracing and containing outbreaks. Guidance on this practice is available here.

“I stand behind the recommendations I’ve made today. We are fighting for a safer and stronger Richmond and that is what this is always been about,” said Stoney.

The city's positivity rate is flat but still hovers between 23% and 24% which is high.

"These decisions are difficult when we don’t see the nice downward trend we’re seeing in other parts of the state,” said Dr. Danny Avula, Richmond - Henrico Health Districts Director.

Avula adds 30% of the city’s cases involve the Latino community. So more focus will be paid to those communities in the coming weeks.

"A lot of our disease. A lot of our numbers here in the city are really due to extensive spread in largely Spanish speaking communities," said Dr. Avula.

The mayor is also asking the state for help. He wants even more testing happening in Richmond and more PPE for people out here on the streets.

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