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City of Richmond to enter Phase Two of reopening plan on Friday, June 12th

Under Phase Two of Forward Virginia, eating and drinking establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent capacity, fitness centers may open indoor facilities at 30 percent capacity, and certain recreation and entertainment venues that do not rely on shared equipment may open with restrictions.

RVAHub Staff

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On Friday, June 12, the City of Richmond will move into Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan, Forward Virginia.

Under Phase Two of Forward Virginia, eating and drinking establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent capacity, fitness centers may open indoor facilities at 30 percent capacity, and certain recreation and entertainment venues that do not rely on shared equipment may open with restrictions.

“Given the data landscape, the governor’s requirement that all Virginians wear face coverings and my trust in the Richmond community to look out for each other, I’m comfortable with our city entering Phase Two of Forward Virginia,” said Mayor Stoney.

“However, we cannot forget that beating this disease for good will require avid community testing, contact tracing and stable isolation for COVID-19 positive patients,” he continued. “This is the biggest team project we’ve ever undertaken as a city, and it will continue to require compassion and cooperation from every one of us.”

Since mid-March, the City of Richmond has operated under various stages of closure while adopting basic practices that are proven to fight the spread of COVID-19: wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, sanitizing hands and spaces and intentionally protecting the most vulnerable individuals and communities.

The Richmond City Health District, alongside the City of Richmond, continues to provide testing opportunities, primary care support, mask distribution and supported isolations for those that need it.

Said Director of Richmond City and Henrico County Health Districts Dr. Danny Avula: “We know that our ability to reopen our economy, to enjoy social and faith-based gatherings, and to move forward from the most difficult early days of this pandemic depends on our continued practice of these same key prevention methods.”

“This week, as we look at local and regional trends in cases, hospitalization data, and continued reassuring reports on hospital capacity, I support Richmond’s advancement to Phase 2,” continued Dr. Avula. “However, our success in this phase will depend on everyone becoming familiar with the guidelines for how we can live, work, and play safely at this point, and sharing what they learn with their family, friends, and coworkers.”

The following is a list of guidelines all Richmonders should follow during Phase Two:

  • Continue to wear face masks.
  • Keep six feet of distance from anyone outside your household.
  • Avoid visits or social gatherings, especially with individuals who are at higher risk.
  • Continue to wash or sanitize your hands frequently, but especially after leaving a public place or before adjusting or removing your mask.
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and call your primary care provider to discuss testing opportunities, or call the Richmond and Henrico COVID-19 hotline at 804-205-3501 to register for a free testing event. Testing opportunities for City of Richmond residents are listed at RVAStrong.org/testing.
  • Remember and remind others that public playgrounds, wading pools and other recreational spaces where physical distancing and avoidance of common surfaces would be impossible will remain closed through Phase Two.
  • Social gatherings are limited to 50 people or 50 percent capacity of the event space, whichever is less.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has determined the guidelines that businesses and individuals who patronize those businesses should abide by during Phase Two. The following information is a summary of the requirements the state has made of businesses who wish to open during Phase Two. Requirements and best practices are available online in full here.

The state requires all businesses serving the public to undertake rigorous sanitation practices and display extensive signage promoting the health and safety of patrons and employees.

The signage should clearly state that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days is permitted in the establishment. It should also include reminders of public health precautions, such as social distancing, isolating when sick and options for high-risk individuals.

A link to these guidelines, printable resources, opportunities for small businesses to receive support and other guidance are available on RVAStrong.org/reopeningguidance.

Restaurant and beverage services

Occupancy in the establishment is limited to 50 percent of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy. Bar seating and congregate areas of the establishment must be closed.

Tables must be at least six feet apart to allow for adequate social distancing. If tables are immovable, then parties must be seated at least six feet apart.

All establishments should use single-use menus.

Additional mandatory requirements are provided in this document.

Restaurants in the City of Richmond who wish to expand outdoor seating on their own private property, such as a parking lot, should contact Chuck Davidson, Zoning Administrator at [email protected]. Those who wish to expand outdoor seating into the public right of way should apply for an encroachment permit. More guidance is available at RVAStrong.org/reopeningguidance.

Non-essential brick and mortar

Non-essential brick and mortar retailers must limit occupancy to 50 percent of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy.

Retailers must also encourage and assist in customers keeping six feet of distance while shopping and standing in line.

Additional mandatory requirements are provided in this document.

Fitness and exercise facilities

Occupancy is limited to no more than 30 percent of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy.

Patrons should keep 10 feet of distance between each other. To facilitate this, business owners must place exercise equipment at least 10 feet apart.

Before allowing patrons to enter, fitness facility staff should screen them for symptoms of COVID-19, asking if they are experiencing a fever, a cough, shortness of breath, chills, a sore throat, or muscle aches unaffiliated with another health condition. Anyone experiencing symptoms should not be permitted to use the facility. The state notes that these screenings should be conducted in accordance with applicable privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.

Basketball and racquetball courts may be used as long as patrons maintain ten feet of social distance throughout use if they are not from the same household.

Additional mandatory requirements are provided in this document.

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools

Swimming pools may be open only for lap swimming, diving, exercise, and instruction. Hot tubs, spas, saunas, splash pads, spray pools, and interactive play features must be closed.

Lap swimmers and divers are to be held to the same standard of ten feet of distance as in exercise facilities.

Seating on pool decks must be at least ten feet apart.

As in exercise facilities, before allowing patrons to enter, pool staff should screen them for symptoms of COVID-19, asking if they are experiencing a fever, a cough, shortness of breath, chills, a sore throat, or muscle aches unaffiliated with another health condition. Anyone experiencing symptoms should not be permitted to use the pool. The state notes that these screenings should be conducted in accordance with applicable privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.

Additional mandatory requirements are provided in this document.

Personal care and personal grooming services

Service should still be offered by appointment only, with a maximum of two appointments occurring in one facility at a time.

Occupancy is limited to 50 percent of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy.

Work stations must be at least six feet apart, and clients must wear face coverings during the entirety of the service.

Employers must maintain a list of the names and contact information for all clients, to include the date and time of the appointment, to aid in contact tracing efforts.

Additional mandatory requirements are provided in this document.

Entertainment and public amusement

The following entertainment venues must still be closed in Phase Two: indoor theaters, indoor performing arts centers, indoor concert venues, indoor sports venues, horse racing facilities, bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, carnivals, arts and craft facilities, escape rooms, trampoline parks and anything not explicitly approved by the state.

Phase Two allows for outdoor performing arts venues, outdoor concert venues, outdoor movie theaters, drive-in entertainment, outdoor sports venues, museums, botanical gardens, aquariums, zoos and public or private social clubs to open with restrictions.

Facilities that are permitted to and wish to open must create a guest flow plan that identifies potential areas of crowding and adjust layout inside and outside the facility accordingly.

Any on-site retail, food or drink services, or fitness facilities must abide by the state requirements specific to those classifications of the establishment.

Additional mandatory requirements for specific venue types are provided in this document.

Religious services

Occupancy is limited to 50 percent of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy of the room in which services are conducted.

Individuals not from the same household must be seated six feet away from each other. An acceptable seating distance should be marked.

Nothing should be passed around the gathering, and any items used to distribute food or drink must be single-use and immediately discarded.

Places of worship are still encouraged to continue meeting virtually, if possible, to protect congregants.

Additional mandatory requirements are provided in this document.

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Venture Richmond teams up with city for “Picnic in a Parklet” program to assist businesses during reopening phases

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

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Venture Richmond has announced a new initiative, “Picnic in a Parklet,” a program designed to assist Richmond restaurants and other businesses with Phase 2 and 3 of Forward Virginia. Through this new partnership with the City of Richmond, business owners can receive design and permitting assistance for their requests for more outdoor space, particularly parklets.

Parklets are outdoor patio spaces constructed in the on-street parking lane of the street in front of a business that can function as an area for customers to gather and/or take to-go orders and eat outside in a physically-distanced environment. Parklets are, by definition, public space; but, restaurants can offer lightly packaged to-go orders for people who simply want to dine in the parklet in front of the restaurant.

“Transforming our use of public space innovatively and sustainably requires partnerships just like this one,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “By linking the business and design communities, this program will expand the city’s growing network of creatively designed public spaces.”

Business-owners who are interested in temporarily converting an on-street parking space adjacent to their storefront into a parklet will be connected with Venture Richmond to better assess their needs. If a parklet will be helpful and appropriate, Venture Richmond will work with the American Institute of Architects Richmond Chapter (AIA Richmond) to connect businesses with a certified architect for pro-bono parklet design services. Venture Richmond will assist the applicant through the steps needed to obtain a permit from the City of Richmond.

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

Unless otherwise specified or revoked, parklet permits are valid for three years. All requests within Richmond City limits will be considered.

Requests for parklets can be submitted through the RVA Strong website. General information about parklets can be found here, and more information about the City of Richmond’s Parklet Program can be found here.

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Former staff from Julep’s, Pasture, Comfort launch Richmond’s first “ghost kitchen”

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads. 

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Jon Martin, formerly of Julep’s and Pasture, and Liz Clifford, formerly of Comfort, have opened Richmond’s first ghost kitchen.

A ghost kitchen is a delivery-only restaurant that allows the parent business to operate multiple concepts from one commercial kitchen.

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads.

With no brick and mortar, Clifford and Martin can keep the focus on the food.

“We’ve spent our entire professional careers feeding people,” Clifford said. “The ghost kitchen concept allows us to keep overhead low. We don’t have to worry about the expenses that come with running a traditional restaurant including designing, maintaining, and staffing a physical space.”

Dunharrow Concepts operates out of Hatch Kitchen RVA, a food and beverage incubator and commercial kitchen located at Clopton Siteworks in Manchester. They have partnered with UberEats with plans to add other delivery services in the coming weeks.

The husband-wife duo, who moved from DC two years ago, is passionate about ensuring those with food restrictions don’t have to miss out on experiencing a good meal.

“Cooking for vegans with a nut allergy makes you push boundaries,” says Clifford. “With all ordering online, items can be easily customized to accommodate most dietary restrictions and food preferences.”

Menu items range from a BBQ Tofu Bahn Mi, crispy green beans, a Tex Mex Salad to homemade fudgy brownies.

Next month, Clifford and Martin plan to launch two additional concepts, Fat Kid Sandwiches which will feature overstuffed subs and clubs, and Victory Garden which focuses on made-to-order salads.

For more information on Dunharrow Concepts and Garden Party, visit gardenpartyrva.com or follow @gardenpartyrva on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Carytown Panera closes permanently, joins Stony Point location’s announced closure last week

The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

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The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

From Richmond BizSense:

Another local outpost of Panera Bread has hit the chopping block, this time in Carytown.

The restaurant chain’s location at 10 N. Nansemond St. in the Carytown Place shopping center is permanently closed. The closure follows that of the Panera outpost in Stony Point Fashion Park.

It’s unclear when or why the Carytown Panera permanently closed. The restaurant didn’t alert Maryland Financial Investors, which manages the center, about the closing, property manager Scott Cherry said.

“We found out about it the same way the community did,” Cherry said.

Continue reading here.

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