Groups protesting Virginia's lockdown say orders violate their ...

Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said Friday that Phase One of reopening the state under federal guidelines could last as long as two years as the state battles the novel Wuhan coronavirus.

“I personally think Phase One will be a two year affair,” said State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “There are a lot of people working on this, and I hope they prove me wrong, but I don’t see it happening in less than two years.”

Phase One under federal recommendations feature a limited reopening of some businesses with strict safety restrictions, social distancing requirements remaining in place, continued teleworking encouraged and face masks suggested in public. Nowhere do the guidelines mention reopening schools that will already remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

The Virginia health department tried to clarify Oliver’s comments on Saturday, saying the health commissioner misspoke when speculating that Phase One of recovery would last 24 months.

“Dr. Oliver intended to say that the Commonwealth will likely be dealing with COVID-19 in some form until a vaccine is produced, not that Phase One itself would take two years,” a department spokesperson told Newsradio WRVA.

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