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Stoney: Richmond Ready to "Cautiously" Enter Phase One Friday

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Richmond’s mayor  believes the city can cautiously begin reopening on Friday.

In a news conference Wednesday morning, Mayor Levar Stoney asked restaurants and breweries to keep a log of seated customers’ names and phone numbers. "Now this is completely voluntary for both individuals and restaurants," the mayor said.  "But this small amount of information will help the health district trace and contain outbreaks should they occur."

Stoney had asked the state to keep churches and personal grooming businesses closed, but the governor said no. Stoney pleaded with churches to observe mask and social distancing guidelines if they decide to open this weekend.  "I recommend you continue to operate virtually and refrain from gathering in person," Stoney suggested. "If you choose to gather in person I strongly recommend you do so outdoors."

In denying Richmond's request to keep churches and grooming businesses closed, Governor Ralph Northam noted that city officials could take local action on their own.  Stoney said Wednesday morning that enacting a local emergency ordinance to keep them closed would take too long, with Friday's deadline approaching.

Click here for more about Richmond's reopening plan