Residents of a town that sits on the Virginia-Tennessee state border are dealing with coronavirus lockdown restrictions quite differently despite living on the same street.
The town of Bristol has different lockdown restrictions depending on what side of State Street a person is on.
For example, on the Bristol, Tennessee, side of State Street people have already started dining inside restaurants after the state reopened most of its businesses on April 27.
Meanwhile, on the Bristol, Virginia, side of State Street, restaurants aren’t allowed to accept customers for dine-in options.
Virginia is expected to start lifting some restrictions on businesses, mainly stores and salons, as well as churches, beginning May 15.
Residents of a town that sits on the Virginia-Tennessee state border are dealing with coronavirus lockdown restrictions quite differently despite being just 50 yards away. State Street divides Bristol, Tennessee, and Bristol, Virginia
For example, on the Bristol, Tennessee, side of State Street (pictured) people have already started dining inside restaurants after the state reopened most of its businesses on April 27. On the Bristol, Virginia, side of State Street, restaurants aren’t offering dine-in options
Joe Deel, of Virginia, who owns Burger Bar, told CNN: ‘If there’s a virus over there, it’s over here.’
Travis Penn, the owner of Delta Blues BBQ in Tennessee, also told the network: ‘I really would like to see the other side open. I know there are some businesses that are competitors, but it’s good for everybody. I believe if we’re all open, I want to see everybody do well.’
Tennessee Gov Bill Lee allowed restaurants to operate at a reduced capacity beginning April 27.
Since then, other businesses like gyms, salons and retail outlets have reopened.
But Virginia Gov Ralph Northam announced that phase one of the state’s reopening process won’t begin until Friday.
Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open their outdoor dining areas at 50 per cent capacity in Virginia beginning Friday.
According to CNN, Beth Rhineheart, the president and CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, said the COVID-19 cases in Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee are pretty low.
Rhineheart believes Gov Northam should take a regional approach to reopening.
Tennessee Gov Bill Lee allowed restaurants (file image) to operate at a reduced capacity beginning April 27. Since then, other businesses like gyms, salons and retail outlets have reopened
But Virginia Gov Ralph Northam announced that phase one of the state’s reopening process won’t begin until Friday. A foot massage shop in Falls Church, Virginia, remained shut on Monday
‘We’ve been told that he’s not really interested in a regional approach for a number of different reasons. But for us here, I mean when it impacts you at face value, you have a restaurant that can look out the window and 30 yards across the street, there are people walking into businesses, dining, shopping, and so that’s a challenge,’ Rhineheart told the network.
In Tennessee, there are more than 15,500 cases with at least 251 deaths. However, in Virginia, there are more than 25,000 cases with at least 850 deaths.
Northam said at a news conference Monday that the state continues to see positive trends in key metrics related to the virus’ spread, hospital readiness and testing capacity.
He said the state is almost ready to begin a gradual reopening of nonessential businesses, houses of worship and other places currently closed.
‘If our numbers continue to trend in the direction they are … I anticipate that will go into phase one on Friday,’ Northam said.
People wearing face masks check their phones in the street amid the coronavirus outbreak on Monday in Alexandria, Virginia
But he added while the same trends are moving in the right direction in northern Virginia, he is still concerned about the region’s elevated number of cases.
For example, Northern Virginia reported more than 700 cases in the previous 24 hours, Northam said, while the rest of the state reported less than 300.
The region’s political leaders wrote a letter to Northam on Sunday asking the governor to allow northern Virginia to move at a slower pace in easing restrictions. Northam said he’s happy to work with those leaders and plans to provide more detail about what northern Virginia’s eventual reopening will look like on Wednesday.
He also asked residents of northern Virginia to avoid traveling to other parts of the state, if their reopening schedules are different.
The northern Virginia region shares a border with Washington, DC, and Maryland, whose leaders have not given a specific date for reopening.