We were going to spend some time today talking about higher education this fall in light of COVID and everything that's changing. However, phase two was announced this week, so we’re going to displace that conversation to next week which will give us a chance to get you more information. Many different colleges are doing different things, and we want to make sure we can map that out for you, and that we can give you an idea of any overreaching plans or consensus that’s being built, which will take us a while to figure out.
After today, we’re going to start doing these once a week because demand is down. We will always answer your questions via email, please send those to us. If there’s a real need, we can increase the number we do.
Thankfully, Phase Two is coming this Friday. I did have a conversation with the Governor’s office last week. They told me that the fastest they can go from one phase to another is three weeks. The reason that is their conviction is because we know this virus has a two week incubation period. If they’re looking to see if there’s an increase in infections or hospitalizations, they need to have at least two weeks and a few days, and in that case they’d only have a few days of actionable data. That was their explanation. They did not tell me that we are moving into Phase Three three weeks later, and we’ll talk about that.
For Phase Two, we can now have indoor dining. Richmond and Northern Virginia will not go into phase two when we do, they are two weeks away from us. They did not enter phase one until the 29th, but we are moving into Phase Two this Friday. Restaurants can have 50% capacity with spaced tables and people should demonstrate appropriate distancing. Gyms can reopen to 30% capacity as long as their volume stays low and equipment stays clean. You don’t have to wear a mask while exercising, but other policies remain in place. Some outdoor gatherings and entertainment facilities can begin to open at 30% capacity. The max number of people allowed at a social gathering is up to 50, but precautions must be taken. Current religious guidelines remain the same. Overnight camps are not allowed, and most indoor entertainment facilities remain closed in phase two. There are specifics listed on the website.
I’ve had many conversations with businesses about some sort of predictability. Businesses need to be able to anticipate what their next step is. Restaurants won’t hire back all of their wait staff at 50% capacity because it won’t be profitable. This won’t happen until phase three. The Boy Scouts have also reached out about their overnight camps, so I’m asking the Governor to give us a tentative date. We understand things can happen, but a tentative date can be very helpful.
What numbers can we look at to make sure we know what is happening in the state and to see when things are going well?
Answer: There are two websites, we can put them up today. One is the Virginia Department of Health, the first page you go to shows the number of deaths in Virginia, if you check a specific box that can show you the curves. The downward trajectory of the curve can be seen, one that we’ve seen since April. For more information, there is a page titled Key Measures that shows Testing Measures, which shows the curve for the number of tests being done and how many of those tests are positive. We have to have percent positive tests decreasing in order for us to do well.
The other website is the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA). This website tells you how hospitals are doing in terms of occupancy and how many beds are available.
Question 2: Can you speak to the unequal enforcement of the Governor’s executive order, specifically about gatherings of more than 10, in light of the protests we’re seeing. It seems lik