Governor Northam announced that he's working with officials to develop a plan.
In his COVID-19 press briefing on Tuesday, May 26, Governor Ralph Northam said Virginia Beach's Memorial Day reopening was a success and that more beaches on the Peninsula (in Hampton and Norfolk) may reopen soon.
The governor said he's working with officials in Hampton and Norfolk to develop a plan based on the Virginia Beach model.
"We are working with other beach cities such as Norfolk and Hampton as they make preparations to open their beaches this weekend," Northam said. "If they can show us a plan that can work as Virginia Beach's plan worked, they may be able to move forward."
Following a trip last weekend to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront as the new COVID-19 guidelines were set in place, Northam said he was pleased with what he saw. He said the City successfully upheld its new physical distancing and business regulations, and most people behaved responsibly. He observed beachgoers practicing safe social distancing and businesses adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
"Virginia Beach did not see large crowds over the weekend like in other parts of the country," he said. "The City kept its commitments, and most people did the right thing," he said.
Northam says he wants Virginia Beach to serve as a model for how other cities will reopen their beaches across the state:
"I'm convinced that Virginia Beach can be... a model for how to open the right way, and how to operate a beach safely, even while the pandemic remains with us."
Chiks Beach, First Landing State Park, the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and other beaches in the destination city reopened last Friday, May 22, with strict requirements. Visitors were required to practice physical distancing, avoid group sports, avoid clusters of tents or umbrellas, and ditch the alcohol, among other restrictions.
Some regulations posted on the Virginia Beach Visitors Center website (Current May 26, 2020)
Individual beaches posted their own additional guidelines. Entertainment or "public programming to generate mass gatherings" were also both prohibited.
Beaches in Hampton include Buckroe Beach, Grandview Nature Preserve, and Outlook Beach. Norfolk—adjacent to Virginia Beach City—contains Ocean View Beach, among others.
Northam said state and local officials are working closely together and that he will provide more updates later in the week. Check the current guidelines for beaches on the City of Hampton and City of Norfolk websites.