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Richmond to delay moving into Phase One of state reopening plan until May 28 at the earliest

Mayor Stoney on Thursday announced that the city requested and has been granted a local delay of the state’s reopening plan. The city will move into Phase One no earlier than May 28th. The move comes as many restaurateurs were making preparations to open their patios at 50% capacity on Friday as most of the Commonwealth moves into Phase One.

RVAHub Staff

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Mayor Stoney on Thursday announced that the city requested and has been granted a local delay of the state’s reopening plan. The city will move into Phase One no earlier than May 28th. The move comes as many restaurateurs were making preparations to open their patios at 50% capacity on Friday as most of the Commonwealth moves into Phase One.

“I want to thank Governor Northam for working with us,” said Mayor Stoney. “This step will make Richmond safer as we face this challenge together.”

The city has experienced an increase in both positive cases and percent positivity in the past two weeks. Percent positivity speaks to the intersection of the spread of the virus and the recently enhanced testing capacity; the metric represents the percentage of people tested who have been positively diagnosed. The images below illustrate those trends.

The state provided the Stoney Administration with the information on local percent positivity on Thursday morning, which then allowed the city to formally request a delay.

The mayor cited that data provided by the state as the key factor in applying for the delay.

“Right now, the data is showing an increase in percent positivity over the past two weeks. Therefore, I cannot justify risking the health and safety of the residents of the City of Richmond by moving forward with Phase One.”

The governor plans to move the majority of the state into Phase 1 of the reopening plan on Friday, May 15. A coalition of Northern Virginia localities have applied for and been granted a delay.

In his letter to Governor Northam and during Thursday’s announcement, Mayor Stoney emphasized the outsized effect the pandemic is having on Richmond’s most vulnerable, including communities of color and essential workers.

“For me, it’s not just the total number of cases in the region or the city that I believe we must be vigilant in monitoring – it’s the impact this disease is having on our most vulnerable,” said Mayor Stoney. “It’s the essential personnel, the grocery workers, the uber drivers, the restaurant workers and my own employees here at city hall.”

In the press conference, Mayor Stoney cited the disparate impact the disease has on Black Richmonders as a reason he requested the delay, stating, “In Richmond, 16 out of the 18 resident deaths have been Black people. This is a factor we can’t ignore.”

On Wednesday, May 13, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus published a letter in opposition to reopening on Friday due to the disproportionate toll it may take on the Black community. On Thursday, May 14, the Richmond branch of the NAACP issued a press release supporting Mayor Stoney’s decision to request a delay.

The mayor indicated he will continue to prioritize areas that are at the highest-risk of community spread and fatality, making a request that the state continue to support the city in its targeted, intentional testing events.

He also made an appeal to the business community, thanking them for saving lives with their patience and compliance.

“Please be patient with me and my administration as we work to ensure community safety. I’m so thankful to you for making tough, responsible decisions in the face of a global crisis.”

The city will provide specific guidance in the coming days to businesses affected by this delay in reopening, making sure all parties are informed of expectations.

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Gourmet popcorn shop Lammar Marie’s reopens renovated tasting room in Short Pump

The business, which closed its retail store during COVID-19, is back open for in-person shopping and has renovated their storefront.

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Short Pump gourmet snack shop Lammar Marie’s closed its doors as covid-19 settled into the US this March. Business never stopped, however. The gourmet popcorn shop continued to brighten days and elevate snack time as families quarantined.

“It was exceptional to be a part of something larger and bring people together,” says owner Rialand Lammar. “We all appreciate the little things so much more now.”

Through the summer, the popcorn shop’s action-packed flavors arrived on doorsteps across the country, including the blogging family behind Young House Love. Back in the shop, the brand underwent renovations and curated its growing collection of wines.

“We’re so excited about our partnership with Prince Michel, the winery behind our label,” Lammar says. “Each variety has tasting notes to pair with our popcorn flavors.”

The tasting room features new COVID precautions, including floor decals, sneeze guards, and seating arrangements. Fresh merch is speckled throughout, including blankets, hoodies, punny popcorn greeting cards, bowls, and more.

The tasting room reopened on Thursday, October 22. New popcorn flavors of the month are on the way, including Chicken & Waffles and S’mores. The VIP Popcorn Club continues to grow, and they are preparing for holiday orders–they can customize any flavor or bag for businesses and events.

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Foodē is a new food delivery service hoping to shake up the game in Richmond

While other services charge 30 percent on delivery orders, Foodē only charges 10 percent. As a bonus, ordering take out has zero additional fees.

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A Richmond entrepreneur is aiming to create a new food delivery service without the hefty fees at a time when every penny counts and many restaurants are struggling. Foodē, a new app launching next month, is a user-friendly service that delivers great food without crazy fees.

The pandemic has been especially challenging for restaurant owners. While delivery services may be necessary to keep doors open, the fees associated may be causing restaurants to lose money. Foodē aims to solve that problem by offering food delivery services that won’t destroy profits for small mom and pop restaurants. While other services charge 30 percent on delivery orders, Foodē only charges 10 percent. As a bonus, ordering take out has zero additional fees.

Restaurants can test the service for 60 days free of charge. The hardware necessary to use the app is free and Foodē is offering to enter the full menu for the first restaurants that sign up. From there, restaurants can manage inventory, add discounts, and make changes to the menu and hours.

Much like other delivery services in the market, consumers can download an app or use a web browser to view restaurants and place an order. However, the difference lies in the savings. Whether one chooses takeout or delivery, they will pay exactly what the merchant charges, never more. Contactless dine-in and curbside pickup is included as features for no additional fee.

With family in the restaurant industry as both owners and employees, Foodē founders Phu and Anna Nguyen know from experience how challenging fees can be for restaurants first hand. They wanted to create a service that would help, not hinder, a restaurant’s growth.

With no investors to answer to, they don’t have to worry about the pressure to increase profits.

“The goal is to create a platform that is more socially responsible. It’s not about making money as the end goal,” said Phu.

The service is expected to launch next month. Restaurants and grocery stores interested in registering should contact [email protected].

For more information on how to join as a business or consumer, visit go-foode.com.

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Lamplighter co-owner cooking up new Chipotle-style breakfast concept in West End

Zach Archibald, co-owner of Lamplighter Coffee Roasters, is betting on a new Chipotle-style breakfast concept near Freeman High School.

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From Richmond BizSense:

Zach Archibald is betting there’s a place in the West End for his style of breakfast.

The co-founder and co-owner of Lamplighter Coffee Roasters will launch Surrounding Counties Specialty Coffee Explorers Club, a quick-serve breakfast concept on Nov. 1 at 8801-A Three Chopt Road.

The 1,500-square-foot spot in the Westbury Shopping Center will sell coffee drinks and breakfast food in a to-go format with a cafeteria-line format similar to the Chipotle experience.

Continue reading here.

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