Governor Grants Accomack 2-Week Delay, Putting Brakes on Chincoteague’s Reopening Plans

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By Connie Morrison —

The office of Gov. Ralph Northam issued a notice late Thursday afternoon that the governor had approved Accomack County’s request to delay its move into Phase One of reopening, extending the current level of business restrictions two more weeks, until 11:59 p.m., May 28, 2020, and classifying the county as a Phase Zero jurisdiction.

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors voted 5-4 in a special meeting Wednesday to ask the governor for the special consideration, similar to what was granted to Northern Virginia.

County Administrator Mike Mason wrote in the county’s request that Accomack’s COVID-19 case data align more closely “with localities in Northern Virginia, an area that you have allowed to remain in Phase Zero until May 29, 2020.”

Mason said the two-week delay would give the county time to review data to determine whether “it is indeed ready to take further steps to reopen.”

Unlike Northern Virginia, Accomack’s request was not regional, a fact Mason addressed in the county’s request, acknowledging both Northampton County and the town of Chincoteague supported the implementation of Phase One. Earlier this week, Chincoteague issued a phased reopening plan on the town’s website that would have had the island’s lodgings operating at full capacity by May 29.

As part of Northam’s approval of Accomack as a Phase Zero jurisdiction, he included all towns and political subdivisions, essentially scuttling Chincoteague’s reopening plan.

By 7 p.m. Friday, Chincoteague had posted a modified plan allowing lodgings to resume at 25% capacity but leaving campgrounds closed. Chincoteague’s full plan can be found on the town’s website.

The county’s request can be read here.

The governor’s amended Executive Order 62 can be found here.