Recreational businesses in Virginia, including gyms and movie theaters, will remain closed under the state’s order until May 8, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday.
Northam expanded an executive order issued on March 23 that was slated to expire April 23.
Northam said he based the decision on new projections, from the University of Virginia and others, showing that social distancing is helping slow the spread of the disease in Virginia, but that lifting restrictions too soon could ramp up the spread and overwhelm hospitals.
“I want everyone to know the sacrifices that you have made are helping slow the spread, and giving us more time to plan and prepare,” Northam said.
The list of businesses includes museums, concert venues, indoor sporting facilities, beauty salons, barbershops and other personal care establishments.
At the same time, Northam said that the state’s stay-at-home order will remain in effect until June 10, despite models from the University of Virginia that the state could see cases peak in August.
“I don’t have any intentions as of today to extend that,” Northam said, adding that the situation is fluid and that models change daily with new data.
He said it would be hard to predict two months in advance whether the order would be extended. He suggested that if the situation in the state improved, it could be lifted sooner.
“I know that’s frustrating. I love data, and I want to be exact,” Northam said. “But I’d ask all of your and our viewers to be patient.”