Virginia Beach Welcomes Phase I Reopenings

Friday, May 15, 2020

​Like much of the rest of the state, Virginia Beach is preparing for today's Phase I reopenings as outlined in the Governor's Forward Virginia plan. Many aspects of Phase I remain unchanged from what has been in place for the last several weeks. For example:

  • Beaches are restricted to exercise and fishing only
  • Entertainment and public amusement facilities remain closed
  • Fitness and exercise facilities remain closed (outdoor fitness classes allowed)
  • Gatherings limited to 10 people
  • Schools and overnight summer camps remain closed
  • Teleworking and wearing face coverings are strongly encouraged
  • Childcare is open for working families

However, increased activity is being allowed in several key areas. Among them:

  • Restaurants are being allowed to provide service in outdoor seating areas at 50% capacity. The Virginia Beach City Council yesterday approved temporary changes to the City Code to provide restaurants with options to expand outdoor seating 
  • Non-essential retail businesses can open with 50% capacity
  • Personal grooming businesses can open by appointment only
  • Private campgrounds can open
  • Overnight use of state parks will be introduced in phases/over time

"It has been a long few weeks for all of us, and while we still have a long road ahead before we regain some semblance of normal activity, we welcome this important first step," said Mayor Bobby Dyer. "We have to be smart, savvy and safe so we can continue to make progress, which includes working with the Governor to develop plans that meet the guidelines for lessening restrictions. In addition to opening up the beaches to more leisurely activities, we want to be able to reopen facilities like recreation centers and libraries and see continued expansion of economic activity in our businesses, restaurants and hotels." 

With the weather getting warmer and people being increasingly drawn to the beaches, the City has engaged local event management company IMGoing to manage a multifaceted program that includes cleaning high-touch surfaces, educating guests on how they can enjoy the beach with physical distancing and reinforcing healthy guidelines through interactions with Beach Ambassadors. "While our beaches are great places to exercise, we want people to be able to visit and just sit, relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean," said Deputy City Manager Ron Williams, who is overseeing the City's recovery initiatives. "To do that, we are focusing on ways to make it safe for our residents, visitors and the thousands of frontline staff who are waiting to welcome everyone to Virginia Beach, the best coastal community on the Atlantic coast." 

The first batch of posters featuring some of the City's safety messaging will be put up and the first group of Beach Ambassadors will begin training and familiarizing themselves with our beaches this weekend. 

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