VPM Daily Newscast May 18, 2021
VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Hosted by Benjamin Dolle, episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.
Listeners can subscribe through NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts.
Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, May 18, 2021:
A group called “Power for Tomorrow” is blanketing Virginia with TV ads warning against changes to the commonwealth’s electrical grid. VPM dug into the group and discovered it’s connected to Dominion Energy.
Settlement talks are underway between the Virginia Employment Commission and residents who sued over delays in their unemployment benefits. Whittney Evans reports.
Yesterday, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates announced the body will return to in-person meetings. Delegates began meeting virtually during a special session last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a controversial move, with Republican lawmakers saying virtual meetings were less accessible and transparent, but the Democratic majority forced the change through without their support. House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said in a statement that declining infection rates and the vaccine rollout are enabling the House to return to the state Capitol.
Leaders of Virginia’s Senate Republican Caucus are calling for Gov. Ralph Northam to lift remaining COVID-19 guidelines immediately. Precautions around gathering and distancing are set to be phased out on May 28, and Northam lifted the mask mandate last weekend. GOP Senate leaders say the commonwealth needs to fully reopen sooner in order to jump start industries set back by the pandemic. But public health experts say dropping all precautions too soon could result in an early-summer spike in infections.
While the Virginia National Guard wrapped up its mission at the U.S. Capitol in early February, thousands of troops remained stationed there following the insurrection. As Dominique Maria Bonessi from our partner station WAMU reports, those service members will be returning home on May 23.
- Busch Gardens says fully vaccinated guests do not need to wear a mask inside the park. That news comes after Gov. Northam updated Virginia’s mask mandate to match new CDC guidance, which says fully vaccinated people don’t need masks in most indoor and outdoor settings. Private companies, though, can still require face coverings. At Busch Gardens, employees will still be required to mask up. For guests, the park will rely on an honor system and won’t require proof of vaccination to enter mask-free.