Justice Center Attacks Governor's Plan To Reopen

May 7, 2020

Governor Ralph Northam says parts of Virginia may be ready to begin re-opening for business as early as next Friday, May 15th.  The Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville says that’s reckless.  WMRA’s Bob Leweke reports.

Angela Ciolfi is the group’s executive director.  On its website and on social media, the Legal Aid Justice Center called the governor’s announcement “jaw-dropping.”

Angela Ciolfi is the LAJC's executive director. She has won numerous awards for her legal work.
Credit Courtesy of Legal Aid Justice Center

ANGELA CIOLFI: It’s just way too early to declare “mission accomplished.”  We are simply not ready to open up.  It’s not clear at all that the measures are trending in the right direction, and even if they were, it is still too soon given the lack of our ability to test in large numbers, and the complete, utter lack of contact tracing.

Ciolfi argues that without that method of tracking down all the people a person carrying the virus has been in contact with, and without a vaccine, we’re relying on herd immunity…

CIOLFI: …which means that up to 70 percent of people could get the virus, and that’s just simply unacceptable, especially when you take into account the disparate impact that this virus is having on black and brown residents in Virginia, due to inequities in our society that places those residents in some of the most vulnerable jobs, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other people, processing food, serving meals and performing other kinds of jobs where socially distancing is just not available.

The governor said Wednesday that some parts of the state, including northern and eastern Virginia hit the hardest may need to keep restrictions on businesses and social gatherings in place past the May 15th target date.