Phase One and Face Coverings

For the past week and a half, most of Virginia has been in Phase One of the "Forward Virginia" plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19.  

Starting at midnight, Thursday May 28th, the remaining five Northern Virginia localities, Accomack County, and the City of Richmond will also enter Phase One.   
Governor Northam has also issued Executive Order Sixty-Three requiring Virginians 10 years of age and older to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The CDC strongly encourages individuals to wear cloth face coverings when out in public. Wearing a mask reduced the chances an individual with COVID-19 spreads the illness to others. This is particularly important even if you do not have symptoms, as you can have COVID-19 and be contagious before symptoms appear. Learn more about face coverings, including instructions on how to make them, here.
As a reminder, Phase One shifts the Commonwealth to a "Safer at Home" strategy, which continues the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people and maintains recommendations for social distancing and teleworking.  All businesses must make modifications to maintain six feet of physical distance, increase cleaning and sanitation of high contact surfaces, and provide enhanced workplace safety measures.  A list of vendors who can provide COVID-19 related products, such as personal protective equipment, masks and cleaning supplies, can be found here.

Under Phase One:
  • Retail establishments may operate at 50 percent occupancy. 
  • Restaurant and beverage establishments may offer outdoor dining at 50 percent occupancy.
  • Personal grooming services may operate with one patron per service provider.
  • Fitness centers may offer outdoor exercise services.
  • Campgrounds may begin taking reservations for short-term stays. 
  • Places of worship may hold services inside at 50 percent capacity or continue drive-in services.
Many of the restrictions put in place by Executive Order 53 will remain in place in Phase One: 
  • Entertainment and public amusement venues will remain closed. 
  • Beaches will remain open only for exercise and fishing. 
  • Childcare centers will remain open for children of working families. 
  • Overnight summer camps will remain closed.
Phase One guidelines for specific sectors are
available here or at 

Voting Absentee in the June Democratic Primaries 

The Democratic Primary for the 1st, 4th, and 5th Congressional Districts is now scheduled for June 23rd.  Voters are strongly encouraged to cast their ballot absentee and may choose reason "2A My disability or illness".  The deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is Tuesday, June 16th. Your request must be received by your Registrar by 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit here.
Mental Health Discussion and Tele-Town Hall Meeting Tonight


Tonight, we have two opportunities to connect: 

Let's Talk Mental Health
Join me and representatives  from Child Savers, Avail Outpatient Counseling, Family Focus and VA Association of Community Based Providers, and Guided Paths to discuss the importance of mental Health and access to resources. For additional information visit 
my Facebook Page. To register for the event use the following link
Joint Tele-Town Hall 

Join Senator Ghazala Hashmi and me with special guest Senator Tim Kaine for a tele-town hall to discuss COVID-19 and the 2020 General Assembly Session. We will be taking your questions live. 

For more information please visit my Facebook pageFor information on how to join the call call 804-482-0714 or email

In the Community: Mental Health America


May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the past two months have been a challenge for all of us.  Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 or losing a job as a result of the pandemic can be overwhelming. When stress or anxiety interfere with daily life, help is there through a variety of sources. 

Mental Health America (MHA), a community-based nonprofit, is committed to promoting mental health as a critical component of overall wellness, including prevention services; early identification and intervention; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal. 

Understanding your mental health is essential to remaining mentally healthy. MHA offers online screening tools for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol and substance use, early psychosis, work health, as well as screenings that are youth-focused and parent-focused. After completing a screening, individuals receive immediate results, education, resources and linkage to affiliates. Along with the results of their screens, individuals provide MHA with valuable demographic and survey responses that enable them to further support our mental health policy and education efforts. MHA also runs a " warm line,  
1-866-400-MHAV (6428), where someone can guide you or a loved one through resources and wellness tools available. For more information on these screenings, visit here.

Your support can help MHA continue providing free screening and other programming to help support mental health awareness and wellness.  To make a donation, visit here.  

My staff and I continue to monitor events and will share updates as they become available. Although our offices are closed, our team is still working remotely. As always, you may contact us at (804) 698-7509 or district09@senate.virginia.govYou can also stay informed about General Assembly activities and the latest coronavirus updated by following me on Twitterliking my Facebook page, and following me on Instagram
Jennifer L. McClellan
Senate of Virginia, 9th District