Richmond request for stricter reopening denied, a Roanoke zip code problem, state laws hamstringing municipal broadband, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

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• Gov. Ralph Northam said he expects Northern Virginia and Richmond to begin reopening Friday. He denied Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s request to maintain restrictions on churches, barbershops and salons past Friday, telling him to propose restrictions at the local level if he thinks they’re necessary. “The capital city should operate under the same provisions that will apply to all 138 Virginia localities starting Friday.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Virginia Beach launched a $2 million ad campaign to try to lure tourists back to its beaches. “We’ve worked tirelessly to define the gold standard in beach safety and cleanliness,” the voiceover says. “And when you are ready, we’re open for you and your family.”—WAVY

• Spanish speakers say a dearth of information and news about COVID-19 in their native language has left them without good information about symptoms, testing centers and support.—The Virginian-Pilot

• The Gloucester County School Board asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to overturn a lower court’s ruling that it discriminated against a transgender student when it barred him from the boys’ restroom, arguing he remained “anatomically female.” The ACLU argued the school board’s policies were “stigmatizing and humiliating.”—Associated Press

• Health officials in Roanoke blamed the area’s lowest-in-the-state COVID-19 testing stats on private labs not providing zip codes for patients tested.—WVTF

• The challenges of distance learning during the pandemic is prompting some localities to push back against a state law that bars municipalities from providing internet access directly to residents.—The Washington Post

• The Virginian-Pilot announced it will close its Virginia Beach printing plant and outsource the work to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s facility outside of Richmond, eliminating 130 full-time jobs.—The Virginian-Pilot

• Amtrak’s new Acela trains will be capable of speeds over 180 mph, but the service will initially be capped at 160 mph.—WTOP

• “The number of Chesapeake Bay crabs dropped over the winter, but the totals for juveniles and female adults are still healthy, according to the latest winter blue crab dredge survey.“—Daily Press

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