RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Coronavirus restrictions are easing today as we enter Phase 3, but first, here’s a look at our other top headlines to help get you out the door.
A typical summer weather pattern is taking hold. Scattered showers and storms are expected this afternoon, but it should be quiet the rest of the week.
Here’s a look at what to expect for July 4:
One person is in the hospital after a shooting on Richmond’s east end.
Officers responded to the 1500 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike around 11:45 p.m. for a call about multiple people shot. Once on scene, officers found a victim who had been shot – they are expected to be okay.
Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.
Also new overnight – a second person died after a crash on Hull Street Road in Chesterfield.
Police say a motorcycle driver crashed into a pedestrian just before 10 last night near Genito Road. The driver and the pedestrian died. Police say alcohol and speed contributed to the crash.
Many new laws take effect across the commonwealth today, including one that gives localities the power to remove or keep their monuments.
Mayor Levar Stoney and some members of the city council have said that process will begin right away – with a virtual meeting happening today.
The earliest the statues could come down is in September.
Lawmakers passed sweeping gun legislation that starts today, including universal background checks, a one-handgun-a-month rule, mandated reporting of lost and stolen firearms and an increase in the penalty for leaving firearms within the access of children.
And if you use nicotine products, your habit will get more expensive. Taxes are now double. For a pack of cigarettes, the tax is up to 60 cents. And liquid nicotine will be taxed for the first time.
Other laws taking effect today include decriminalization of marijuana, new protections for the LGBTQ community, a price cap on insulin and a few changes to how you can vote absentee. See a breakdown of all the new laws here.
Governor Northam will sign legislation to raise Virginia’s minimum wage.
The wage will increase to $9.50 per hour starting May 1, 2021. It will then increase to $11 per hour in 2022, $12 in 2023, and $13.50 in 2025.
As we enter phase three of Governor Northam’s reopening plan, nearly 63,000 people have tested positive for the virus and 1,763 Virginians have died. The percent positivity rate actually increased slightly in the last few days - now back to an even six percent.
Despite that, more restrictions are being lifted today including on entertainment venues like bowling alleys and movie theaters, which can now reopen at 50% capacity.
Restaurants and stores can operate at full capacity, but social distancing and masks are still required. One change: bar seating in restaurants will not be open to prevent people from congregating and getting too close.
Northam says if we start to see cases trend back upward, he will not hesitate to revert back to tighter restrictions. Check out a full breakdown of the new guidelines here.
Richmond’s new police chief officially takes over today. Mayor Stoney appointed Gerald Smith to lead RPD over the weekend.
The move comes after interim chief William “Jody” Blackwell resigned on Friday, and former Chief Will Smith was let go. Gerald Smith spent close to 30 years with Charlotte-Mecklenburg County police, most recently as former deputy chief. He says he is here and ready to listen.
It was supposed to happen on Sept. 26, but organizers said they don’t see a way to have the event without putting attendees at risk. This is just the second time in four decades that Richmond will not have some sort of annual pride event. Instead, Virginia Pride is looking to hold virtual events later this year.
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb nationwide, it’s resulting in disappointing news for baseball fans. Tuesday, Minor League Baseball announced the 2020 season is now canceled.
That means the Flying Squirrels will not play in Richmond.
The Squirrels say tickets purchased for the 2020 season will be honored in 2021 once next season's schedule is released.
In Henrico, Fourth of July festivities kick off today at Dorey Park!
The county canceled its Red, White and Lights celebration, but you can still enjoy fireworks displays through July 5. We’re told some 70 flags, various artwork and sand sculptures are on display.
Check out event times plus a look at other celebrations happening throughout RVA here.
“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” - Peter Marshall
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