(Part of) Virginia is Officially Set to Begin Reopening This Friday
Dogwood newsletter
By Arianna Coghill
May 13, 2020

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood. We’ve got a roundup of Virginia news coming right up.

But First…

Restaurants in parking lots? Cleaning teams scouring the beach routinely? These are only some of the safety measures Virginia Beach has pitched in the hopes of lifting some of the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by Memorial Day weekend. — Dogwood

Five Things You Need to Know Today

  1. Virginia Coronavirus Has 946 New Cases of COVID-19- Virginia had 946 new cases of coronavirus, an increase of 4% since yesterday and bringing the total to 26,746 statewide. Currently, 927 people have died due to the virus, an increase of 36 people from yesterday. Over 3,500 people have been hospitalized, and 180,084 people have been tested for COVID-19 across the commonwealth. — Dogwood

  2. Most of Virginia Set to Begin Phase One on Friday- Gov. Ralph Northam announced today during a press conference that Virginia is set to begin Phase One of the governor’s plan to reopen the commonwealth on Friday. However, Northern Virginia will remain closed until May 29 due to their high volume of reported COVID cases. Under Phase One, non-essential retail will be able to open at 50% capacity and restaurants and breweries can serve people outdoors at 50% capacity, among other light restrictions getting lifted. — Dogwood

  3. Virginia Residents Could Lose Unemployment Benefits if They Refuse to Return to Work- As Virginia prepares the reopening process on Friday, the Virginia Employment Commission states that any people who refuse to return to work are at risk of losing their unemployment benefits. William Walton, VEC’s director of unemployment insurance, is beginning to hear more cases like this. “Being afraid of getting sick” is not a sufficient reason to maintain eligibility for benefits, said Walton. —  WRIC

  4. Virginia Schools are Preparing for Students to Return in the Fall Semester- The Virginia Department of Education is advising school systems to plan extensively for students to return in the fall. School systems should be prepared to do everything from changing schedules to shutting down buildings once again.  “When we open, we’re going to have to take extraordinary measures,” said Roanoke County School Board Chairman Don Butzer. — WSLS

  5. Eleven DMV Centers Set to Reopen in Virginia- After two months of staying closed, 11 Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles centers across seven to eight regions are set to reopen. No centers in Northern Virginia are to be reopened. As a part of the DMV’s reopening plan, appointments are required for some in-person services, like getting, replacing or renewing original driver’s licenses. — WSLS
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