THE BULLETIN — News to know

Quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

Trump plans another ‘Salute to America’ July 4 event, despite pandemic

WASHINGTON — The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t upended President Donald Trump’s plans to hold another contentious Fourth of July celebration in the nation’s capital this summer.The White House told the Associated Press this week that Trump intends to move ahead with a scaled-back version of last year’s massive “Salute to America” event on the National Mall. Those plans are taking place despite the pandemic and as lawmakers in the region have asked the administration to reconsider.“As President Trump has said, there will be an Independence Day celebration this year and it will have a different look than 2019 to ensure...
Virginia Mercury

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

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• 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...

Virginians now required to wear masks, but enforcement of the new mandate remains unclear

The consequences of disobeying Virginia’s new mask requirement?That’s a question for later, according to Gov. Ralph Northam, who announced the new executive order on Tuesday with few specifics on how it would be enforced. “It gets into a lot of the legalities of this and can get complicated in a hurry,” he said in response to a question on what would happen to businesses that didn’t implement the directive.Starting Friday, face coverings will be required inside almost all indoor establishments for Virginians aged 10 and older. But unlike some of Northam’s previous executive orders, the governor said failure to wear...

More than 1,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Virginia prisons; death toll rises to six

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Virginia prisoners passed the 1,000 mark over Memorial Day weekend, according to the official tally maintained by the Virginia Department of Corrections.As of Monday at 5 p.m., officials reported 1,141 total cases, 12 hospitalizations and six deaths.Virginia has the 10th highest rate of cases among state prisoners, with more than three cases for every 100 inmates, according to The Marshall Project, which has partnered with the Associated Press to track COVID-19 in correctional settings in all 50 states.The rate of cases is 719 percent higher than in Virginia overall, though that number...
Virginia Mercury

Northam goes mask-less at Va. Beach, Charlottesville discusses Confederate statue removal, 20 rescued from flash floods in Scott County, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Gov. Ralph Northam, who is expected to announce a statewide policy on face coverings today, drew criticism for going mask-less during a weekend visit to Virginia Beach that put him in close quarters with residents posing for photographs. Northam has repeatedly urged residents to wear masks, saying last week they “could literally save someone else’s life.”—Associated Press• Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk will require patients as young as 3 to wear face masks after health officials learned of potentially serious complications children can face from COVID-19.—The Virginian-Pilot• Virginia’s...
Virginia Mercury

Major flooding in Roanoke, a strained state unemployment system, messages of hope from a NoVa hotel, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• After more than three days of constant rain, the Roanoke River was expected to swell to more than 16 feet early this morning, a level classified as a major flood. A pair of Roanoke neighborhoods and a motel have been evacuated and multiple people rescued from cars trapped in floodwaters.—The Roanoke Times• Virginia’s unemployment filing system, created in 1985, "has strained under the demand for assistance unleashed by the pandemic." In February, before the pandemic began, the agency "had about half the number of workers it did during the Great...
Virginia Mercury

Other states criticized for blending COVID test results, Va. nearly hits 10,000 tests, social distancing haircuts become the norm, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• It turns out Virginia wasn't the only state blending viral and antibody test results into the same measure — a practice that led to scathing coverage of Virginia’s data practices.—The Atlantic• Virginia has nearly reached its goal of 10,000 tests per day, recording 9,782 new diagnostic tests Wednesday.—WVTF• “Nearly 860,000 additional travelers flocked to parts of Maryland and Virginia over the weekend as the states began to reopen Friday, according to researchers tracking smartphone data. Many of those travelers were from the Washington suburbs, which remained shut down due to their...

Two Virginia sites linked to environmental battles placed on 2020 ‘most endangered’ list

Two sites linked to high-profile environmental battles were among seven selected by Preservation Virginia for its 2020 list of the commonwealth's "Most Endangered Historic Places," released Tuesday.The Pine Grove School Community, a rural area of homes, businesses and churches that centers on the 103-year-old Pine Grove Rosenwald School for African American children near the border of Cumberland and Powhatan counties, was included because of plans for a large landfill near the site that Preservation Virginia says will “fundamentally change the historic character of this 100-year old community and put residents at risk from major environmental hazards.”The historic preservation group...
Virginia Mercury

Va. potatoes in national spotlight, state Supreme Court rejects executive order challenge, end of school year jeopardizes some unemployment, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Local elections went forward in more than 100 cities and towns around the state. “Some polling places had a new pen for every voter. At others, poll workers cleaned voting stations after each voter. Many … had tape lines spaced 6-feet apart to ensure social distancing.”—The Virginian-Pilot• President Donald Trump attacked Gov. Ralph Northam for his support of gun control legislation, warning there will be “no one to guard your potatoes.” In response, Northam tweeted, “Our potatoes are fine.”—The Virginian-Pilot• The Supreme Court of Virginia rejected an injunction request from the...

Virginia Department of Health names hospitals that received an experimental COVID-19 drug

After an initial delay, the Virginia Department of Health on Tuesday released the names of 55 hospitals to receive a share of remdesivir — currently the only drug with proven, though moderate, effects against severe cases of COVID-19.As the Mercury reported last week, Virginia was one of several states to receive a shipment of remdesivir from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, part of a donation from Gilead Sciences, the drug’s manufacturer. While VDH received its first allotment of 10 cases early last week, the agency initially declined to release the names of the 19 facilities to...