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COVID-19 in Virginia


State Supreme Court overturns lower court ruling in Smyth County sunshine case

By STEPHANIE PORTER-NICHOLS, Smyth County News & Messenger

Observers called a Thursday ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court a victory for the citizens of Smyth County and the commonwealth of Virginia. The Freedom of Information case had been appealed to the court by Beverly Cole, both individually and as president on behalf of the non-profit Friends of the Smyth-Bland Regional Library. The case accused the Smyth County Board of Supervisors of violating the commonwealth’s Freedom of Information Act when its members discussed dissolving the Smyth-Bland Regional Library behind closed doors without properly disclosing the subject of the discussion.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Altria Group Inc. files lawsuit accusing Reynolds American Inc. subsidiary of patent infringement

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

A legal battle is heating up between the nation’s top tobacco companies over the intellectual property rights to certain alternative nicotine products. Henrico County-based tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. on Thursday filed a lawsuit accusing a subsidiary of its largest competitor Reynolds American Inc. of infringing on patents owned by Altria for some e-vapor and smokeless tobacco products.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Virginia to remain in phase one for another week

By SOPHIE KAPLAN, Washington Times

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday that despite promising coronavirus data trends, the commonwealth will remain under phase one of the reopening plan for another week. Mr. Northam said at the press conference that starting Friday, NASCAR will host single-day, no-spectator events and that public beaches in Virginia will be able to reopen with restrictions — no gatherings of more than 10 people, no tents, no alcohol and no group sports.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Sen. Tim Kaine and wife Anne Holton test positive for COVID-19 antibodies

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and his wife, Anne Holton, interim president of George Mason University, have tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, a blood test that indicated previous exposure to COVID-19. Kaine said he and Holton decided to be tested for potential coronavirus exposure after both fell ill earlier this year. He said he received positive test results 10 days ago and his wife on Friday.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Metro takes wait-and-see approach as region begins to reopen

By JUSTIN GEORGE, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

As the Washington Metropolitan region takes its biggest step yet toward reopening, Metro plans to keep service limited — but will adjust if demand for rides exceeds the transit agency’s expectations.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Report Recommends Widening Mount Vernon Trail in Arlington


Portions of the Mount Vernon Trail in Arlington should be widened due to heavy use and crash risks, according to a new study. The National Park Service this month released a report on its Mount Vernon Trail Corridor Study, which examined the condition of the trail, usage patterns and potential improvements. The trail, which runs along the Potomac from the Rosslyn area to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, is used by more than one millions cyclists and pedestrians per year.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Sen. Tim Kaine says he and his wife tested positive for coronavirus antibodies

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat representing Virginia, said Thursday he and his wife have tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus. Kaine said in a press release he thinks they may have had mild cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in March or April.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Mass testing of inmates, staff at Riverside Regional Jail has found 36 more infected with COVID-19

By MARK BOWES, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

A mass testing of inmates, officers and medical staff at Riverside Regional Jail over the weekend has uncovered 36 additional infections of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 53, Riverside authorities confirmed Thursday.

VaNews May 29, 2020

Drinking at home has been good for Virginia’s treasury during pandemic


Virginia, like every other state, is facing a budget shortfall because of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on tax revenue, but there has been one bright spot: excise taxes collected from state-run liquor stores. Virginia ABC gets about 18% of its liquor store tax revenue from licensees, such as bars and restaurants, but those sales fell to as little as zero to 2.8% between mid-March and mid-May. Spending by retail customers, on the other hand, has skyrocketed.

VaNews May 29, 2020

GRTC passengers must wear face masks beginning Friday

By JEREMY M. LAZARUS, Richmond Free Press

The rides will still be free, but GRTC will require passengers to wear face masks, or nose and mouth coverings, as of Friday, May 29, to board its regular buses, vans and Pulse rapid transit. GRTC, which previously spurned a union request for such a safety precaution during the pandemic, bowed Tuesday to an order from Gov. Ralph S. Northam that anyone age 10 or older would need to wear a face covering to use public transportation, access government services or enter businesses like grocery stores where social distancing would be difficult.

VaNews May 29, 2020