Arlington to Enter Phase 1 of Reopening

Published on May 27, 2020

Arlington County, along with other localities in Northern Virginia, is transitioning to Phase 1 of the Forward Virginia plan on Friday, May 29.

On May 24, the five Northern Virginia (NOVA) health directors conducted a new assessment indicating the region has met four of the six critical metrics: increased testing, downward trend in percentage of positive tests and hospitalizations over 14 days, and enough hospital beds and intensive care capacity. They also cited the need for continued focus on expanding our contact tracing capacity and developing sustainable supplies of PPE.

In a separate letter to Gov. Ralph Northam, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey and other local leaders also asked for NOVA to move to Phase 2, if the data supports it, in concert with the rest of the Commonwealth when that date is established.

"Moving to Phase 1 means we are making progress on the important metrics set out by the Governor, but we have a long way to go before we can be confident the virus is under control," said Garvey. "Continuing our forward progress depends on everyone following health guidelines. We will continue to watch the metrics closely in the coming weeks."

The Governor also announced that starting on Friday, May 29, Virginians will be required to wear masks or cloth face coverings while inside public places such as grocery stores, government buildings, and on public transportation. He outlined a few exceptions to this requirement, including during exercise, when eating or drinking, and due to medical conditions. Face coverings are not required for children under age 2 and are strongly encouraged for children under age 10.

Highlights of the Governor's Forward Virginia Phase 1 — Effective May 29

  • Non-essential businesses can open at 50 percent capacity, with strict requirements.

  • Take-out and curbside pickup for restaurants and beverage services can continue and outdoor seating will be allowed at 50 percent capacity (see more on this below).

  • Gyms and fitness facilities can offer limited outdoor exercise options.

  • Outdoor swimming pools may be open for lap swimming only, with one person per lane.

  • Beauty and nail salons, barbershops and other personal grooming services can provide services by appointment only and must follow strict guidelines.

  • Places of worship can open for drive-in services or services inside at 50 percent capacity.

  • Spray parks, basketball courts, and racquetball courts must remain closed, as well as entertainment facilities such as movie theaters.

  • Social gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned.

View more specific guidelines for all these sectors and others on the Forward Virginia website. Also see additional FAQs on the state website.

Helping Arlington Restaurants and Bars with Reopening

We recognize that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on small businesses, especially restaurants and bars.

The Arlington County Board on May 26 approved an administrative process to allow temporary outdoor seating areas (TOSAs) beyond those already permitted. TOSAs are intended to provide greater flexibility for businesses, while restrictions continue to limit the activity of restaurants and beverage establishments. The County will consider TOSAs that may be in parking lots, sidewalks, and other public spaces. Learn about the application process.

Parks & Other Amenities

Arlington's 148 parks reopened on May 23, prior to Memorial Day. In early June, the County plans to reopen athletic fields and shelters (with restrictions), batting cages, dog parks, pickleball courts, tennis courts and outdoor tracks. Learn more about parks facilities.

Resources for COVID-19 Related Information