Richmond, Virginia—Progress Virginia stands with the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in urging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to delay Phase One of his “Forward Virginia” plan to reopen Virginia businesses in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Data from the Virginia Department of Health shows ongoing serious outbreaks, some clustered in communities of color. Reopening too soon puts all Virginians, but especially Virginians of Color, at risk and endangers all of our communities.
“We should be asking ourselves not how we can reopen businesses before it is safe to do so, but how we can support communities that need access to health care and testing, and workers and families while they are unable to work. This push into Phase One will force many families to choose between returning to a job that may not have adequate safety procedures or protecting their families’ health. That choice is unacceptable,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia said.
“The goal shouldn’t be simply to reopen, but for us to be able to stay open. The key benchmark isn’t if there is significant hospital capacity for more sick people, but tools and mitigation in place to keep people from getting sick in the first place, both employees and customers. We need widespread testing, greater access to PPE, and an expansive ability to conduct contact tracing to ensure everyone in our communities is able to return to work safely.”
A May 11, 2020 poll from Navigator Research found widespread support for continuing stay at home measures, including:
- 83% of people are avoiding public events and gatherings
- 79% of people are avoiding restaurants and bars
- 78% of people are spending almost all time inside their house or apartment
- 64% of people are avoiding in person social interactions with friends and family
- 65% of people are wearing a mask always or most of the time when they do leave the house
- 83% of people are worried about a second wave of COVID-19 if we reopen too soon