Northam to ramp up enforcement of face coverings, other guidelines at businesses


RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Northam starts by emphasizing the coronavirus is not going anywhere and it’s going to take consistent adherence to health guidelines to keep the pandemic under control. We all hoped the virus would go away but that’s clearly not the case … we’re in this for the long haul [until a vaccine is released].”

He says Virginia is doing relatively well compared to other states, but he’s concerned about the rising case numbers in Hampton Roads, where cases have shot up in recent weeks.

Northam talked about the Virginia Department of Health’s new feature breaking down cases by region (it had previously only shown cases by date of symptom onset for regions). Hampton Roads is the primary cause of Virginia’s rising numbers. Its percent of positive cases is 10.1%, up significantly from three weeks ago.

Northam says non-compliance with face covering rules and physical distancing in restaurants and other gathering places is leading to the increases, and there’s been a significant uptick in cases (about 250% since May) in people age 20-29

He says he’s ramping up enforcement measures on businesses statewide, especially in Hampton Roads.

VDH has about 500 inspectors statewide and will add about 100 more to do those unannounced visits to businesses to monitor and enforce compliance with face coverings, etc.

“Your license will be on the line,” Northam said.

Gov. says he’s looking into scaling back the number of people allowed at gatherings (phase 3 allows up to 250 people), dropping the limit back to phase 2’s 50 person limit, and possibly imposing a cutoff time for alcohol sales at restaurants.

He says he’s also asking mayors with beaches for updates on their COVID-19 mitigation plans.

Watch the full news conference below:

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