Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Northam says Virginia localities can set stricter restrictions once state begins phased reopening

I disagree politically with Virginia’s governor on many things, though not everything, but I think his performance during all of this has been reasonable, probably because he’s an MD who actually understands the medical science behind COVID-19. What he’s saying here is appropriate. One of the main mistakes that have been made during the quarantine is the “one size fits all” model that has been applied. Trump is right to say that individual states should have their own policies on quarantine, and Northam is right to say localities should have leeway as well. It’s ridiculous to expect densely populated rural counties in the Dakotas to abide by the same restrictions as Los Angeles and New York City. The rural Virginia county where my family lives have only had one person-ONE!-hospitalized with COVID-19 so far and the adjacent city has only had five hospitalizations and one death.

By Mel Leonor

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that the guidelines for a phased reopening of the state will serve as a “floor” for localities — meaning they can impose stricter restrictions — after rejecting a regional approach two days earlier.

Northam said localities seeing more COVID-19 cases might need to delay lifting some of the statewide restrictions on public gatherings he plans to relax starting May 15.

He said he spoke to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, and had conversations with local leaders in Northern Virginia, where the state has reported the largest number of outbreaks. Fairfax County alone is home to nearly 1 in 4 COVID-19 cases in Virginia.

“We realized that the greater Washington area is an area we need to pay particular attention to,” Northam said.

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