Reston, VA

Gov. Ralph Northam announced during his press conference today that Northern Virginia localities may take a slower approach to easing COVID-19 restrictions as the state prepares for its first phase of reopening.

“Different regions face different challenges,” Northam said, calling his phased Forward Virginia guidelines a “floor but not a ceiling.” The first phase is set to start this Friday (May 15).

Northam noted that no region can roll back restrictions faster than the guidelines previously outlined and that he does not want restrictions to be “piece meal across towns and counties.”

“We’re open to some regions moving more slowly,” Northam said, addressing calls from the top officials in Fairfax County, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties to keep restrictions in place in their localities.

Fairfax County has continually had the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths due to the illness in the state. As of today (Monday), there are 6,200 cases and 243 deaths in the county, according to the state’s health department.

Northam said that he is “speaking regularly” to Northern Virginia officials about the plans to reopen Virginia in phases and that he asked the officials to say they are uniform in their request for the delay.

On Sunday (May 10), Northern Virginia officials sent the governor a letter asking that regional threshold metrics be used instead of statewide metrics for reopening.

Northam said that more information about “how this will work” for Northern Virginia localities will be released on Wednesday.

“The key to all of this is testing,” Northam said.

Image via Governor Ralph Northam/Facebook

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