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Restaurants now open at full capacity

Virginia will move into Phase 3 of reopening the commonwealth July 1, loosening the restrictions on businesses and social gatherings.

Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement Tuesday, June 23, saying as many states are experiencing a surge in new infections, Virginia’s case counts continue to trend downward.

“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,” Northam said.

For Paul Davies, owner of Rosewood Virginia Tavern and Café in Lunenburg, Phase 3 means he plans to open his business at full capacity.

“We do plan to open fully serving excellent food in the cafe and tavern and accept indoor seated dining in our two tea rooms by reservation,” Davies said.

In Phase 3, restaurant and beverage establishments are required to maintain six feet of distance between tables but may open at 100% capacity for inside seating.

According to Davies, Rosewood closed its doors due to COVID-19 March 16.

“We were not set up for a take-out dinner menu for a few weeks,” Davies said. “But we then offered a take-out dinner in the evenings with people ordering before noon, so we knew how much food to prepare.”

Davies said in Phase 2 they were able to open at 50% capacity and offer customers outdoor seating as well.

The Victoria Restaurant announced on its Facebook page that they would be reopening on July 10. Prior to that announcement, the restaurant had posted they were temporarily closed on June 2.

In Phase 3, the commonwealth will continue to maintain a Safer at Home strategy with recommendations for social distancing and teleworking, and the requirement that individuals wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals allowed in social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people.

“Our Phase 3 guidelines will help Virginia families and businesses plan for what the next stage of easing public health restrictions will look like in our commonwealth,” Northam said.

“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.”