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Northern Virginia residents enjoy freedoms of Phase 2 transition

Restaurants, bars, and gyms can now let some customers inside their doors thanks to an order from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — After three months of being cooped up inside their homes, Northern Virginia residents finally got the chance to do some of the things they were allowed to do before the coronavirus spread into our region.

Northern Virginia entered Phase 2 of Gov. Ralph Northam’s recovery plan Friday.

That means social gatherings can now have up to 50 people, bars and restaurants can now offer indoor dining at a reduced capacity, and gyms can even let a few of their members inside their doors as well.

Alexandria resident Kathy Markardt said while it may all seem small, the new freedoms afforded to the public by state officials are much appreciated.

"You don't understand how great it is that I'm seeing people out and about having fun,” she said. “Having a cocktail and not having to say we're going to ‘zoom’ a cocktail hour. I'm tired of zooming cocktail hours."

Restaurants like "Chadwicks" in Old Town Alexandria said they were also happy to reopen their doors to customers.

RELATED: Phase 2 reopening: Here's what the first day looked like in Alexandria

Owner Trae Lamond said getting his business, Chadwicks, ready for limited indoor dining took a lot of preparation.

"A lot of knocking the cobwebs off,” he said. “We've been doing carryout and delivery. It's not the same work involved as putting on a full-service restaurant.”

Chadwicks is one of dozens of businesses in Alexandria participating in the “ALX Promise” program. Those businesses have stickers on their windows noting they have been trained by the Alexandria health department as to how to safely reopen their facilities.

As Chadwicks did its best to keep its customers socially distanced, there were a few areas along King Street in Old Town Alexandria where people were closer than six feet to one another.

However, most people WUSA9 talked to said they were not worried about the size of the crowd.

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