Governor Northam just announced the next big step in the reopening of Virginia.

After months of closures and partial reinstatements, Virginia's businesses are starting to get back to pre-COVID-19 levels of operations. Phase 3—which begins on Wednesday, July 1—allows entertainment venues to open their doors and raises capacity rates for other industries like retail establishments and salons.

The biggest difference between Phase 2 and Phase 3 is the variety of businesses that will be allowed to operate. While the emphasis is on getting retailers open again, the governor reminds residents to take precautions.

“Our Phase Three guidelines will help Virginia families and businesses plan for what the next stage of easing public health restrictions will look like in our Commonwealth. While we may not have the same spike in infections that many states are seeing right now, Virginians need to remain cautious and do the things that we know reduce transmission: wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. This virus is still with us, and we must continue to adapt our lives around it and ensure we are keeping our vulnerable communities safe.” —Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

Newly-opened businesses opening at 50 percent capacity (up to 1,000 people) will include entertainment venues like:

  • amusement parks
  • escape rooms
  • movie theaters
  • skating rinks
  • zoos and aquariums
  • museums
  • botanic gardens
  • concert venues
  • private social clubs

Business owners and staff will have to keep a regular cleaning schedule and have enhanced sanitation stations throughout high-touch areas. Things like cash registers, door handles, and dressing rooms will require constant disinfecting in order to meet the state's stringent guidelines.

Don't get out those going-out clothes ready just yet—what outfit will look best with a face mask? That's right, face coverings remain mandatory during Phase 3. The current mask mandate remains in full effect until it is lifted by an executive order from the governor's office.

For more information, you can read the governor's press release here. You can also check out the full list of Phase 3 guidelines here.

What are your thoughts on Virginia's move to Phase 3? Are we ready? Sound off in the comments!