From pandemic to protests, from voting to vaccines and everything in between, 2020 in the Richmond area — and across the globe — has been a year like no other.
“Unprecedented” is a word thrown around when describing the past 12 months (or was it 12 years?), but to come up with one that better encapsulates what has happened across our region, state, country and world would be to perhaps create a new language.
As we prepare with hopeful anticipation for a new year with new promises and priorities, the Richmond Times-Dispatch looks back on what happened locally and across the commonwealth in 2020 — the year that was.
Jan. 8 — Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, is sworn in as Virginia’s first female speaker of the House after more than 400 years, saying it “ushers in a modern era.” Democrats gain control of the legislature and will usher in sweeping changes, from new gun restrictions to LGBTQ protections, expanded access to voting and more local control of Confederate monuments.
Jan. 9 — The World Health Organization announces coronavirus-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China. There are 59 known cases worldwide.
Jan. 15 — Legislators make Virginia the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Opponents, including the Trump administration, say the ratification deadline has passed.
Jan. 20 — An estimated 22,000 people gather at and around the state Capitol in a passionate but nonviolent protest of Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed gun restrictions. Police arrest one person, a 21-year-old Richmond woman charged with wearing a mask in public, but prosecutors later drop the charge.
Jan. 21 — A Washington state man in his 30s who just returned from Wuhan becomes the first person in the United States with a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.
Jan. 26 — The Virginia Department of Health launches “a novel coronavirus webpage” to share updates and information about “the respiratory outbreak first detected in Wuhan, China caused by a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).” It also investigates three possible coronavirus cases that ultimately test negative.
Jan. 27 — The Virginia Department of Health begins posting a count of “patients under investigation” on the agency’s coronavirus monitoring webpage.
Feb. 1 — Sharmar Hill Jr., 3, is playing outside in front of his family’s apartment in the 1700 block of Southlawn Avenue, in Richmond’s Hillside Court, when he is fatally struck by gunfire.
Feb. 5 — The U.S. Senate acquits President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress at his impeachment trial. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Virginia Democrats, vote to convict on both counts.
Feb. 6 — The Virginia Senate joins the House of Delegates in passing landmark legislation to bar discrimination in housing as well as public and private employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Feb. 10 — The Richmond City Council kills the $1.5 billion Navy Hill plan, Mayor Levar Stoney’s signature downtown redevelopment project.
Feb. 24 — Katherine Johnson, a pioneering African American mathematician at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, featured in the book and movie “Hidden Figures,” dies at age 101.
Feb. 28 — The Virginia Department of Health says eight possible virus cases so far all tested negative. U.S. cases at 62.
March 3 — Joe Biden easily wins Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary, receiving twice as many votes as Bernie Sanders.
March 4 — The number of people tested for the coronavirus in Virginia grows to 17 as of the morning of March 4, but the state remains clear of confirmed cases, state health officials say. Fourteen people have tested negative and three await results, officials say, as the state braces for a possible outbreak.
March 7 — A U.S. Marine assigned to Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County becomes the first person in Virginia diagnosed with COVID-19.
March 10 — Coronavirus cases rise to eight in the state. The Virginia Festival of the Book, scheduled to be held over the weekend, is scrubbed, marking the first major event to cancel due to COVID-19.
March 11 — Virginia universities and colleges announce they will turn to online instruction, including: Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Richmond, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, the College of William & Mary, Mary Washington University and George Mason University.
Large employers in the state, including Capital One and Genworth, are part of a growing number of companies telling employees to work remotely from home amid coronavirus concerns.
The NCAA basketball tournament and ACC and A10 tournaments will be played without fans because of the coronavirus.
March 12 — Northam declares a state of emergency as the statewide count hits 17 coronavirus cases.
Richmond and Henrico County Public Schools announce they will close for at least two weeks.
VCU, UR and other universities begin closing residence halls.
VCU officials say university housing will be restricted “for the foreseeable future.”
Moments before tipoff at New York’s Barclays Center, VCU learns that its tournament game against Massachusetts is canceled. Shortly after, the ACC cancels its tournament, as does every other major college conference. Days later, the NCAA cancels its signature event, March Madness.
Ahead of the city’s first big festival weekend of the year, Shamrock the Block, the Irish Festival and the Monument Ave. 10K announce they will postpone. Stoney urges the rest, including Shamrock the Block and St. Paddy’s Palooza, to cancel.
March 13 — Northam closes all K-12 schools in the state for a minimum of two weeks. There are now 30 cases in Virginia.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Richmond library say they will temporarily close. The Something in the Water music festival in Virginia Beach set for April is canceled as well as the Greek Festival planned for the end of May.
‘This is absolutely crazy’: Coronavirus concerns cause shortages of toilet paper and other items at Richmond-area stores, including meat, hand sanitizers, soap and other cleaning products.
March 14 — Virginia reports its first COVID-19 fatality, a James City County man in his 70s. Chesterfield County reports its first case. There are now 41 coronavirus cases in Virginia.
Some Richmond restaurants report drop in sales due to COVID-19 fears. Many announce enhanced cleaning protocols and paid sick leave policies for workers.
March 15 — Northam announces a statewide ban on all events over 100 people. 45 people have tested positive in Virginia for the coronavirus, including a person who attended at program at VCU, the school’s first case.
March 16 — A second person in Virginia, a man in his 70s in the Peninsula Health District, has died from the coronavirus
Northam-ordered two-week K-12 school closures take effect statewide; Richmond school system announces it will extend its closure for two more weeks.
Virginia Department of Corrections suspends taking new inmates from local jails for 30 days. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the system’s 30,000 inmates or among the staff at its more than 40 facilities, officials said.
Stoney announces meals tax amnesty program for local restaurants. In exchange, most of the largest restaurant groups in the area say they will close their dining rooms.
City of Richmond recommends all restaurants limit on-site service to 50 or fewer guests, remove bar seating, and move tables at least 6 feet apart to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Area malls reduce hours; some movie theaters temporarily close.
March 17 — Virginia bans gatherings of 10 or more people, including inside restaurants, gyms and theaters. The ban exempts grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, manufacturing plants and distribution centers, as well as transportation hubs like airports and bus depots.
The state has its first known case at a long-term care facility — a male resident in his mid-80s at the Westminster Canterbury Richmond retirement community in Henrico.
Virginia has 67 cases of COVID-19, including eight people in the Richmond area.
Northam says “high-risk Virginians,” people who have chronic health conditions or who are 65 or older, should “self-quarantine”; he directs the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits.
March 18 — Statewide cases are at 77, including the first case reported in the city of Richmond. There are 13 total cases in the Richmond area.
The Chesterfield, Hanover County and Henrico school districts announce they will be closed through spring break, or mid-April.
March 20 — Northam says any restaurant in Virginia with a valid license to sell wine and beer on-premises can now sell wine and beer to go and for delivery without applying for additional permits. The change is in response to the ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people, which effectively shut down the dine-in business for restaurants across the state.
March 23 — Northam orders schools closed for the rest of the academic year and closes restaurant dining rooms, breweries, gyms, theaters and entertainment venues.
There are 254 confirmed coronavirus cases in Virginia.
March 24 — Health officials report that two residents of Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Henrico are the Richmond area’s first COVID-19 fatalities. More than 50 people will die in the center’s outbreak.
March 27 — The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security — or CARES — Act is signed, including nearly $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans for small firms with fewer than 500 employees under what is called the “Paycheck Protection Program,” designed for small businesses to keep workers employed. Virginia is set to get $1.8 billion in CARES Act money. The package also includes $1.5 billion for Virginia cities and local governments.
604 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 people have died.
March 30 — Northam issues order for state residents to remain at home except for certain necessities following a warm weekend that attracted crowds to beaches and public spaces. In Virginia, 1,020 people have tested positive for the virus and 25 have died.
March 31 — Two Richmond men die from coronavirus-related causes, the first in the city; hours later, Chesterfield announces its first death. There are 1,250 confirmed infections and 27 deaths in the state.
April 1 — “I want Virginians to prepare themselves for the long haul,” Northam says at a news conference. There are 1,484 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state and 34 deaths. A third Richmond resident dies as well as two more residents of Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, bring its total to 11 deaths there.
Three Virginia inmates and four staff at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women are diagnosed with COVID-19.
April 2 — The Virginia Employment Commission reports a record 112,487 in weekly jobless benefit claims, a 143% increase from the 46,277 claims the previous week. The agency says it’s logged more jobless claims in the past two weeks than it did for all of 2019.
The Richmond Economic Development Authority establishes a $1 million loan program for small businesses hurt by the pandemic. The program will convert 48 loans totaling $934,000 to grants in July.
April 6 — The Virginia Department of Health reports that 2,878 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19 and 54 have died. Officials say numbers are likely higher due to testing lag.
Eight more residents of Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center have died of COVID-19, boosting the death toll there from the disease to 28.
Northam urges Virginians to wear face masks in public.
April 10 — The Virginia Parole Board votes to grant parole for Vincent Lamont Martin, who was convicted in the Nov. 13, 1979, slaying of Richmond police officer Michael P. Connors.
Businesses with mixed-beverage licenses, such as restaurants and distilleries, can now sell mixed drinks and cocktails on a takeout and delivery basis.
April 11 — Virginia sees its largest one-day increase yet in COVID-19 cases with 5,077 positive test reports in the state. Deaths in Virginia hit 130; 42 people have died at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center.
April 13 — The Richmond and Henrico health districts begin sharing demographic data on COVID-19 cases showing that although Black people comprise less than half of the city’s population, they account for more than 60% — 102 — of the 164 diagnoses to date. White people account for 24%, with 40 diagnoses, according to data from the health districts. Racial data for about 10% of the city’s cases remains unknown.
April 16 — The Flying Squirrels are scheduled to begin the 2020 season, but instead the season is postponed and later canceled. It’s the first time in the franchise’s 11-year history that it has not played a season.
Virginia surpasses 200 deaths, reaching 208; 6,889 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19.
Tired of staying at home, a group of roughly 50 people gather on Capitol Square to protest Northam’s executive orders requiring that some businesses stay closed because of the pandemic. Most are not wearing masks and are part of a new coalition of groups — called ReOpen Virginia, End The Lockdown VA and Virginians Against Excessive Quarantine.
April 18 — Unemployed workers in Virginia report delays in receiving benefits. The Virginia Employment Commission says it’s overwhelmed. In Virginia, 410,762 people have filed for benefits in the past four weeks, roughly 9% of the state’s workforce. Nationwide, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in just four weeks.
Long-term care facilities make up 74 of Virginia’s 129 COVID-19 outbreaks. The Virginia Department of Health reports 8,053 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19 and 258 people have died from the virus.
April 24 — Northam says he will ease business restrictions in a phased approach once the percentages of positive tests per day and hospitalizations show sustained decline over 14 consecutive days.
April 28 — VCU President Michael Rao says he’s committed to having students on campus in the fall. Other universities in the state say they, too, will have in-person classes in the fall.
Virginia has 14,339 COVID-19 cases and 492 COVID-19 deaths.
April 29 — Northam says elective surgeries can resume May 1; state to start releasing ethnicity data on COVID-19 cases next week.
The state has 14,961 COVID-19 cases and 522 COVID-19 deaths.
May 7 — After a five-hour public hearing, the Hanover Board of Supervisors votes 4-3 to accept new zoning conditions to clear a path for Wegmans to build a 1.7 million-square-foot distribution center at the intersection of Sliding Hill and Ashcake roads. The decision is met with hundreds of Hanover residents showing up in person to protest the decision.
May 15 — Virginia moves in to Phase One of its reopening plan after the COVID-19 pandemic forced an unprecedented nation- and state-wide shutdown in March. The city of Richmond requests — and is granted — a two-week delay in reopening because of rising positivity rates.
May 22 — Virginia’s unemployment rate soars to 10.6% for the month of April, the highest in more than 40 years, according to a Virginia Employment Commission report released May 22. It’s the highest monthly rate since current data collection methods started in 1976.
May 25 — George Floyd is killed in Minneapolis police custody, sparking protests in Richmond and around the nation against police brutality.
May 26 — Northam announces a statewide indoor face mask policy for anyone over the age of 10 to wear a mask while inside a public building or business establishment.
May 29-31 — The first night of what would become more than 90 consecutive days of protests in Richmond begins four days after Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. Over the weekend, hundreds of protesters are arrested after Stoney enacts an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Multiple businesses and buildings are looted and/or burned, including the United Daughters of the Confederacy building on Monument Avenue.
June 1 — Richmond police use tear gas to clear a crowd of peaceful protesters at the Robert E. Lee monument nearly 20 minutes before the mandatory 8 p.m. curfew.
June 2 — More than 1,000 people protesting Richmond police’s use of tear gas on a peaceful crowd the night before gather at City Hall demanding answers from Stoney.
June 3 — Northam announces plans to remove the statue of Lee from Monument Avenue. Stoney announces the planned removal of the other four Confederate statues along Monument Avenue.
June 5 — Virginia moves into Phase Two of reopening since the March shutdown caused by the coronavirus.
June 8 — Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley Cavedo issues a temporary injunction barring the state from taking down the Lee statue on Monument Avenue for 10 days as removal crews inspect the 130-year-old statue. Cavedo will later recuse himself from cases related to the statue because he lives in the Monument Avenue Historic District.
Virginia hits 50,000 COVID-19 cases with 50,681 positive cases and 1,472 deaths.
June 10 — The statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis is pulled down by protesters shortly before 11 p.m., just a week after city leaders promised to remove all of the Lost Cause iconography along Monument Avenue. A crowd cheered and chanted as the bronze statue, which had stood since June 3, 1907, is hauled away on a flatbed truck.
June 13-14 — A Richmond police SUV drives through a crowd of protesters who moved in to block its path around Lee Circle. No one is seriously injured in the incident. The following night, hundreds protest outside RPD headquarters on Grace Street, where chemical agents are deployed by police and one woman is arrested.
June 16 — Stoney forces Richmond Police Chief William C. Smith to resign in the midst of the social unrest and protests in the city. Stoney appoints Maj. William “Jody” Blackwell as interim chief.
June 18 — A Richmond judge extends indefinitely an injunction barring the state from removing the Lee statue. A lawsuit is filed by decedents of two signatories of an 1890 deed that transferred ownership of the land the statue resides on to the state on the grounds the state is to consider the monument and the area around it “perpetually sacred” and to “faithfully guard it and affectionately protect it.” Another hearing is set for July 23.
June 19 — Upward of 500 people gather at the Lee statue for a peaceful demonstration and celebration of Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.
June 26 — Hours after Blackwell, the interim Richmond police chief, steps down from his post, Stoney announces his handpicked selection in Gerald Smith, a deputy police chief in Charlotte, N.C.
July 1 — In a hint of pre-pandemic normalcy, Virginia begins Phase Three COVID-19 guidelines that lift capacity restrictions at retail stores and restaurants. (Other businesses, as well as social gatherings, remain subject to various capacity limits.)
The state’s new law on universal background checks for gun purchases takes effect.
A year of historic change along Monument Avenue intensifies as the city takes down the statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson under emergency authority cited by Stoney. It had stood at Monument and the Boulevard (now Arthur Ashe Boulevard) since 1919.
July 2 — Removal of the Matthew Fontaine Maury statue begins on Monument Avenue; it was unveiled in 1929 at the intersection of Belmont Avenue.
July 5 — Dominion Energy announces cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline; the six-year effort to build the natural gas pipeline had faced repeated environmental challenges in court.
July 7 — The J.E.B. Stuart statue is removed from Monument Avenue at the intersection of Lombardy Street; it had stood there since 1907.
Oliver Hill Jr., who forged his own trail as an educator, civic conscience and torchbearer of his father’s civil rights legacy, dies.
July 8 — The tall figure atop the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument at Libby Hill Park is removed. (It dated to 1894.) Crews also removed remaining elements from the Jefferson Davis memorial on Monument Avenue.
July 13 — The Washington Redskins announce they are discontinuing the use of their name and logo as the football franchise faces growing criticism of its longtime Native American moniker. (Washington Football Team becomes the interim name.)
July 14 — The Hanover County School Board votes 4-3 to rename two schools that honor Confederate figures: Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.
July 15 — Virginia becomes the first state in the nation to adopt mandatory workplace safety rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
July 17 — Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, an icon of the civil rights movement, dies at age 80.
July 18 — In a convention, the GOP picks Del. Nick Freitas of Culpeper to face Democratic incumbent Abigail Spanberger of Henrico for the 7th District seat in Congress. (Spanberger is re-elected in November by a slim margin.)
July 23 — Amid the pandemic, the Henrico School Board votes unanimously to begin the upcoming school year with online-only instruction.
July 23-24 — At Filler-Corn’s direction, a statue of Lee and seven busts depicting Confederate leaders are removed from the Old House Chamber inside the state Capitol. Also, a state panel recommends replacing Virginia’s statue of Lee in the U.S. Capitol.
July 25-26 — After 24 days without major clashes between police and protesters, weekend demonstrations lead to two dozen arrests, damage to several businesses and VCU properties, and a city dump truck in flames outside Richmond police headquarters.
Aug. 3 — The Richmond City Council votes unanimously to accept offers for the recently removed Confederate statues that are being held in storage.
Aug. 5 — Virginia launches its COVIDWISE contact-tracing app for smartphones.
Aug. 6 — Three GOP lawmakers release an unredacted version of a report from the Office of the Inspector General that finds the Virginia Parole Board and its former chairperson violated state law and its own policies in its decision to grant parole to Vincent Lamont Martin, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1980 for killing a Richmond police officer.
Aug. 10 — Virginia COVID-19 cases surpass 100,000 with 100,749. There have been 2,327 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia.
Aug. 11 — Biden chooses Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate, making her the first Black woman and first Asian American to run for vice president.
Aug. 12 — Chesterfield police announce that advanced DNA testing determined that human remains found in 1986 were those of Christy Lynn Floyd, who had disappeared that year at age 16.
Aug. 17 — The Washington Football Team announces that Jason Wright will be its president; at 38, he becomes the youngest person to hold the role in the NFL and is the first Black man in league history to be named a team president.
Aug. 18 — Virginia lawmakers kick off a special session on COVID-19, the budget and police reform that will last 84 days. Lawmakers will back an amended budget, a host of new laws on police conduct and a compromise on “Marcus Alert” legislation meant to help people in psychiatric crisis without police force.
Aug. 23 — Former Virginia Lt. Gov. John H. Hager dies at age 83.
Aug. 24 — Henrico introduces Eric English as its new police chief. English held that role in Harrisonburg and was a former deputy chief of Richmond police.
Aug. 25 — Jerry Falwell Jr. announces his resignation as head of Liberty University; a provocative photo and revelations of his wife’s extramarital affair had roiled the evangelical school founded by his father. The school will soon begin an inquiry into his tenure.
Aug. 31 — A state panel says Virginia should make immediate technical changes to learning standards related to African American history and explore broader changes during a formal standards review process.
Sept. 8 — The Richmond City Council votes unanimously to adopt a gun ban on public property during protests and other events.
Sept. 18 — VCU’s board of visitors votes unanimously to remove Confederate names and symbols from campus.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at age 87. Trump will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat.
Sept. 24 — Northam and first lady Pam Northam test positive for COVID-19.
Sept. 25 — Trump makes his only public Virginia campaign appearance of the year at a rally in Newport News, criticizing Northam and promising a “heavy play” for Virginia.
Sept. 29 — The Hanover school system announces the School Board has settled on new names for two schools named after Confederates: the former Lee-Davis High School would become Mechanicsville, while the former Stonewall Jackson Middle School would become Bell Creek.
Oct. 1 — Virginia’s college campuses report more than 5,300 positive COVID-19 cases so far, with three schools — James Madison University, Virginia Tech and UVA — accounting for more than 3,000 of the cases.
Oct. 2 — Trump is taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be treated for COVID-19.
Oct. 4 — A COVID-19 outbreak has infected 18 patients and 11 employees at Central State Hospital, the state mental institution near Petersburg.
The statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 152,557 with 3,276 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia.
State prisons are especially hard hit; nearly 3,700 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 33 have died. The warden of the Baskerville Correctional Center in Mecklenburg County died Sept. 9.
Oct. 5 — Two Richmond police detectives are indicted on misdemeanor assault charges stemming from their actions on the tumultuous night of May 30-31, when fires were set by protesters and tear gas was fired outside police headquarters.
Oct. 14 — A federal judge extends the deadline for registering to vote by another day after a construction accident shut down Virginia’s online voter registration system for several hours.
Oct. 15 — The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announces it is paying $6.3 million to 51 individuals who as minors experienced sexual abuse by clergy.
Oct. 16 — The General Assembly all but ends the strangest legislative session in modern memory by adopting a budget to cope with the economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oct. 26 — Virginia Military Institute’s superintendent, retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, resigns a week after Northam announced an investigation into the school’s culture and policies following reports of racism that received national attention. Also, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith announces he has established an External Advisory Committee to help improve relationships between his department and the communities it serves.
Oct. 27 — Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant rules in favor of Northam’s order to take down the Lee monument, saying that arguments to keep it in place are contrary to current public policy. Also, Chesterfield health officials confirm that 16 residents of Tyler’s Retreat at Iron Bridge, a skilled nursing facility, have died of COVID-19 in an outbreak that infected 69 residents and 36 staff.
Oct. 28 — Northam signs more than a dozen police and criminal justice reform measures into law, which he describes as a “tremendous step forward in rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Nov. 3 — Voters in Virginia and across the country stream into socially distant voting booths for an unprecedented election; about 46% of the state’s roughly 5.97 million registered voters already had cast ballots as of the Sunday before Election Day. Results of several area contests will be murky a full week later as registrars battle COVID-19, count mail-in ballots and navigate complaints. Ultimately, Biden beats Trump in Virginia, and Warner wins a third term, topping Republican Daniel Gade. Spanberger edges Freitas to win a second term in the 7th District. Stoney wins a second term, and Virginians easily approve a constitutional amendment to set up a new redistricting commission. Virginia’s turnout of 74.6% is a modern state record.
Nov. 7 — The Associated Press calls the presidential race for Biden. Trump refuses to concede.
Nov. 9 — Chesterfield Public Schools welcomes a final wave of about 34,000 students to join those already back in classrooms as health officials warn of a looming spike in COVID-19 cases. The county’s health committee voted 3-2, against its own metrics, to approve the return.
Virginia lawmakers agree to budget $1 million for an independent investigation of alleged racist practices at VMI, with the support of Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, one of the institute’s most powerful graduates in the legislature. Later in November, the institution names Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins its interim chief. He is the first Black person to hold the highest position of leadership at the country’s oldest state-supported military college.
Nov. 11 — Finalized Richmond city election contests yield two historical firsts: the nine-member City Council will include seven women — the most in the history of the body. Likewise, eight women will sit on the nine-member School Board, also a record.
Nov. 13 — Northam announces new COVID-19 restrictions for the state, limiting certain gatherings to 25 people indoors and outdoors ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday; serving alcohol after 10 p.m. statewide is banned; and restaurants must close at midnight.
Nov. 14 — Virginia COVID-19 cases surpass 200,000, reaching 200,799 with 23,085 cases in the Richmond area. Stoney, who has been quarantining after 25 city employees test positive, says he has tested negative for the coronavirus. In total, 58 city workers have been quarantining, 37 of whom are in the police department.
Nov. 16 — Northam publicly backs efforts to legalize recreational marijuana use as the legislature’s oversight arm released a report highlighting racial disparities in how the state’s current laws are enforced. If the efforts are successful, Virginia would become the first state in the South to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining 15 other states that have done so.
Henrico Public Schools scraps a planned Nov. 30 expansion of in-person learning until at least January, citing a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Richmond area.
Nov. 22 — Over the preceding week, Virginia’s average new daily cases hit 2,010, levels double those of a month earlier. The percent of positive test results reaches 7%, up from 5% a month earlier.
Nov. 23 — This week, Richmond’s first medical marijuana dispensary, Green Leaf Medical of Virginia, opens to the public as the state readies to consider the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Nov. 24 — A 38-member task force charged by Richmond’s mayor with “re-imagining public safety” issues a final report with 15 recommendations, including: reallocating police budget dollars, developing a new dispatch system that reroutes noncriminal calls to agencies other than police, and forming a new city department for restorative justice and community programs.
Nov. 25 — Chesterfield Public Schools announces it will pull students from classrooms beginning Nov. 30 and return to remote learning until at least Jan. 29.
Dec. 1 — From the ashes of the failed Navy Hill deal, GreenCity arises, Henrico officials announce. The $2.3 billion privately funded mixed-use development, anchored by a 17,000-seat sports and concert arena, is set to spring up on land that includes the site of the former corporate headquarters of catalog showroom retailer Best Products off East Parham Road and Interstate 95.
Dec. 4 — Federal data shared by the Virginia Department of Health shows the state is on track to receive 480,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna by month’s end, enough to inject nearly all of the state’s 500,000 health care workers and long-term care residents.
Dec. 7 — Richmond’s School Board votes 8-1 to keep children learning virtually through the end of the school year.
VMI removes a prominent statue of Stonewall Jackson amid a campus reckoning on systemic racism.
Dec. 10 — A day after Virginia recorded a record-high 4,398 new cases of COVID-19, Northam announces the state will be under a nightly curfew from midnight until 5 a.m., and social gatherings will be limited to 10 people under restrictions that take effect Dec. 14.
Dec. 11 — As colleges across the country fight for their financial lives, VCU President Michael Rao tells the school’s governing board that revenues will fall at least $75 million in the spring 2021 semester under a best-case scenario of estimates ranging up to $144 million. VCU Health is projecting a loss of $60 million.
Dec. 14 — The first vaccines for COVID-19 arrive in Virginia, with front-line hospital workers the first to receive the shots.
The Electoral College formally chooses Biden as the nation’s next president, giving him 306 electoral votes. Trump still does not concede.
Dec. 16 — A state panel recommends teenage civil rights heroine Barbara Johns for a Virginia statue in the U.S. Capitol to replace that of Robert E. Lee.
Dec. 19 — Virginia COVID-19 cases surpass 300,000. In the last five weeks of the year, Virginia added more COVID-19 cases than it had in the first seven months of virus combined.
Dec. 24 — Virginia sees its largest daily increase of COVID-19 infections with 4,782 new cases a day.
Dec. 26 – Virginia reaches 329,577 COVID-19 cases and 4,840 deaths. The state added nearly as many cases in December as it saw in the first 5 months of the virus combined.