On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 62, allowing the Northern Virginia region to remain in Phase Zero while the rest of the Commonwealth prepares to enter Phase One of reopening. Entrance into Phase One will be delayed and the restrictions set forth in Executive Order 53 will remain in place for Northern Virginia until 11:59 p.m. May 28, 2020.
On May 9, 2020, local officials from the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, as well as the Towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna (making up the Northern Virginia Region) formally requested to remain in Phase Zero in accordance with Governor Northam’s guidance that any region unready to move forward into Phase One could remain in Phase Zero upon request.
Data suggests Northern Virginia faces unique challenges in comparison to the rest of the state, as positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Northern Virginia are substantially higher than the rest of the Commonwealth. The Northern Virginia region has approximately a 25% positivity rate, while the rest of the Commonwealth has about a 10% positivity rate. On any given day, Northern Virginia accounts for about 70% of the Commonwealth’s positive COVID-19 cases and in one 24-hour period Northern Virginia reported over 700 positive cases, while the rest of the Commonwealth reported less than 300 cases.
The request for Northern Virginia to remain in Phase Zero is in response to the May 08, 2020 Executive Order 61 easing certain restrictions currently in place and paving the way for the Commonwealth to enter Phase One of reopening certain business operations effective at 12:00 a.m., May 15, 2020.