News to Know for June 5: Phase 2 starts; Lee statue to be removed soon; Protests continue; Scattered storms possible

News to Know for June 5: Phase 2 starts; Lee statue to be removed soon; Protests continue; Scattered storms possible
Most of Virginia will enter Phase 2 of Governor Northam's reopening plan on Friday. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The road to recovery continues in the commonwealth as most areas enter phase two of Governor Northam’s reopening plan. But if you plan to take advantage of the additional things opening, make sure you grab an umbrella!

Scattered Showers & Storms

Today brings our best rain chance in a while. A few showers and storms are possible during the day but the best chance comes as the sun goes down.

Feel free to make some outdoor weekend plans – mostly sunny skies with a few showers expected Saturday only.

Mostly Cloudy with Evening storms likely

Road to Recovery

Most of Virginia begins Phase Two of reopening today following the guidelines put in place by Gov. Ralph Northam. Restaurants can start serving customers inside, gyms can reopen indoor areas at limited capacity, and museums and zoos can reopen — all with certain restrictions.

Most of Virginia will enter Phase 2 of Governor Northam's reopening plan on Friday.
Most of Virginia will enter Phase 2 of Governor Northam's reopening plan on Friday. (Source: NBC12)

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase Two.

Northam said the number of tests performed and the percent positive of those tested, along with other metrics, are heading in the right direction.

Here’s a full breakdown of the guidelines – and exceptions.

Monumental Decision

“Yes that statue has been there for a long time, but it was wrong then and it is wrong now.”

That’s what Governor Northam said yesterday when he said the Robert E. Lee statue on Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue will be removed “as soon as possible," which could happen in a matter of weeks. It will then be put into storage until he works with the community to determine its future.

Mayor Stoney also had powerful words on the decision, saying “Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy.” He plans to introduce an ordinance to remove the other four Confederate monuments along the avenue on July 1.

Richmond mayor says city no longer 'capital of the Confederacy'

WATCH: Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said the city is no longer the 'capital of the Confederacy' when leaders announced plans to remove a Robert E. Lee monument >> https://bit.ly/3gNQQU1

Posted by NBC12 on Thursday, June 4, 2020

More on the Meaning

The decision was sparked by decades of debate, but many don’t know the history behind it.

The Robert E. Lee monument was unveiled on May 29, 1890 to a crowd of around 150,000 - more than the city’s population at the time.
The Robert E. Lee monument was unveiled on May 29, 1890 to a crowd of around 150,000 - more than the city’s population at the time. (Source: Cook Collection, The Valentine)

The planning for Robert E. Lee’s monument started just hours after he died in October 1870, but it took 20 years to come to fruition. On May 29, 1890, it was unveiled to a crowd of around 150,000 - more than the city’s population at the time. But it’s worth noting there were voices of protest when the Lee monument was unveiled just 25 years after the Civil War.

Protests Continue

The governor’s announcement about taking down the Lee was followed by a large assembly on the statue’s base. But the movement is about so much more.

Hundreds of people gathered outside of Richmond Police Department’s Fourth Precinct to protest the death of George Floyd and police brutality. The crowd marched down West Broad Street just before 8 p.m., meeting at the precinct chanting phrases such as, “no justice, no peace” and “why are you in riot gear, I don’t see no riot here.”

Protesters gather outside RPD’s Fourth Precinct

Police Lawsuit

All of this comes after a lawsuit was filed against the department after officers fired tear gas at peaceful demonstrators a half hour before the mayor’s mandated curfew went into effect Monday.

Floyd Memorial

Ten days after George Floyd’s death, family, friends, and mourners gathered in Minneapolis to say goodbye.

His mural was projected above his golden coffin, where mourners knelt and cried, paused and prayed at his memorial service. Celebrities, civil rights activists, and politicians joined his family in a celebration of his life.

George Floyd memorial service in Minneapolis

George Floyd memorial service in Minneapolis >> https://bit.ly/370CM4P

Posted by NBC12 on Thursday, June 4, 2020

COVID-19 Concerns

The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are urging protesters to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines as hundreds of people gather downtown to march in close proximity.

The health district said COVID-19 can still spread person-to-person in large gatherings, and it only takes just a handful of contagious people to potentially infect 100s of people. The virus also spreads more easily when a person is yelling, or when a person coughs or sneezes.

The health districts continue to host free COVID-19 testing events. Dates and future times can be found, HERE.

Free Fishing Days

If you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors this weekend, how about some fishing?

The state’s free fishing days are today through Sunday - that means you can fish without having to pay for an angler’s license.

This year the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries removed the restriction on stocked trout waters as well, but regulations like catch limits are still in effect.

Final Thought

“History isn’t what actually happened. History is the story we tell about what happened. And the story we tell can change based on new evidence. You know, we don’t interpret the Vietnam War the same way we understood it when I was in the military. We see it through the prism of the present, and we always do. That’s just the way it is.” - Gregg Kimball with the Library of Virginia.

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