UPDATED 7:12 PM PT — Thursday, May 14, 2020
Local leaders in Virginia have called for more testing as the state begins to reopen. Richmond’s mayor has asked the governor to provide more testing for the city or exempt it from the first phase of reopening.
The city requested data from the state on the number of tests completed, but has yet to receive it. The mayor has said he wants proof that coronavirus cases are dropping in his city.
On Monday, I requested this data from VDH. Today, the state made that data available, so we were able to make an informed decision to request a delay.
Here are my letters to Governor Northam. pic.twitter.com/gE3Yg9Z1gR
— Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) May 14, 2020
While he’s called for an exemption, he noted he is not against reopening Richmond.
“I’m stating in the city of Richmond, we will take a slow approach to reopening. That is the approach I think is prudent because of public health. Obviously, you always will have to weigh the economic recovery alongside public health, but I truly believe that the life is more valuable than the dollar.” – Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond
Following this request, Governor Ralph Northam announced an exemption for the city.
“As I have said previously, Virginia’s phase one guidelines represent a floor, not a ceiling,” stated Northam. “I have encouraged local leaders to request exemptions when appropriate, and I am pleased to grant the delays for both Accomack County and the City of Richmond.”
— Richmond Free Press (@FreePressRVA) May 14, 2020