**FILE** Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (Courtesy of the governor's office via Twitter)
**FILE** Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (Courtesy of the governor's office via Twitter)

Northern Virginia opened Friday for the first time since shutting down in mid-March at the onset of coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Wednesday that the jurisdictions that serve as suburbs and exurbs of D.C. can resume business activities with some restrictions.

Under Northam’s order, retail stores and churches can fill 50 percent of their capacity, restaurants can use 50 percent of their outdoor seating and salons, barbershops and massage studios are by appointment only and under strict rules regarding capacity, face masks and cleaning and gyms are limited to outdoor classes with 10 students applying social distancing.

However, Northam gave business owners discretion on reopening.

“I want to emphasize that while Phase One loosens some restrictions, it does not require any business or place of worship to reopen until they are comfortable that they can do so safely,” the governor said Tuesday. “Just because you can open doesn’t mean you have to open.”

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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