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Gov. Northam creates COVID-19 Business Task Force with leaders from around the state

Florida's "Reopening Task Force" met Monday to come up with short term ways...
Florida's "Reopening Task Force" met Monday to come up with short term ways to relax measures put in place due to COVID-19. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 2:11 PM EDT
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On Friday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that his administration had established a COVID-19 Business Task Force, pulling leaders from a range of businesses across the commonwealth.

The task force will provide advice and guidance to the Virginia Cabinet on a safe, responsible strategy for easing restrictions on businesses and individuals as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

There are representatives from a variety of Virginia industries, scales, geographies, and backgrounds across the Commonwealth, including restaurants, breweries, wineries, small and large retailers, fitness centers, hair salons, barber shops, spas and estheticians, museums, hospitality groups, campgrounds, and entertainment venues.

However, none of the businesses represented are in the Shenandoah Valley.

“These are Virginians who are thinking everyday about how to protect the health of their staff and the communities in which they operate,” said Governor Northam. “They understand that our public health and business interests are aligned—we must take measures that both ensure the safety and confidence of consumers and prevent the spread of disease. Their input will continue to be critical as we plan a safe, consistent, successful path forward.”

Members of Virginia’s COVID-19 Business Task Force include:

  • Chad Ballard, Cherrystone Campground, Cape Charles
  • Katy Brown, Barter Theatre, Abington
  • Josh Chapman, Black Narrows Brewing, Chincoteague
  • Jenny Crittenden, Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, Gloucester
  • Patrick Crute, Virginia Alliance of YMCAs, Statewide
  • Christy Coleman, Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, Williamsburg
  • David Foster, High Point Barber Shop, Richmond
  • Angelyn Glasgow, Nu Image Salon, Blackstone
  • George Hodson, Veritas Vineyard, Afton
  • Lester Johnson, Mama J’s Restaurant, Richmond
  • Franky Marchard, Volvo, Pulaski
  • Owen Matthews, Kings Dominion, Doswell
  • Bill Meyer, Meyer Fitness, Norfolk
  • Brian Moore, Amazon, Arlington/Alexandria
  • Brooke Mueller, Walmart, Statewide
  • Jon Norton, Great American Restaurants, Arlington/Fairfax
  • Alex Nyerges, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
  • Chris Ray, Center of the Universe Brewing, Ashland
  • F. Dee Suarez-Diaz, ReNuew Wellness Spa LLC, Manassas
  • Warren Thompson, Thompson Hospitality, Reston
  • Bruce Thompson, Gold Key PHR, Virginia Beach
  • Laura Todd, Institute of Advanced Medical Aesthetics, Ashland
  • Terri Vander Vennet, Hampton Coliseum, Hampton

In addition to the task force, Governor Northam and his administration say they've been consulting with numerous businesses, labor, public health, trade, and professional organizations.

The task force is staffed by Deputy Secretaries of Commerce and Trade Angela Navarro and Cassidy Rasnick, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources Gena Berger, Chief Workforce Adviser Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Dr. Janice Underwood, along with key staff from the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

At a press conference on Friday, Gov. Northam

. He said the state's plan to reopen will be made in close conjunction with the business task force.

It includes a phased approach that is grounded in federal CDC guidelines, and includes specific goals to contain the spread of the virus through increased testing, contact tracing, and ensuring adequate medical capacity.