With Vaccinations Increasing, Northam Plans to Ease Restrictions in VA on May 15

More than half of adults in the state have been vaccinated

Gov. Northam at an appearance in Alexandria in 2019. (Photo: James Cullum for The Zebra Press)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-With vaccinations on the rise in Virginia, Gov. Ralph S. Northam (D-VA) shared in a video message yesterday that capacity restrictions and social distancing guidelines may be eased starting May 15. The change is primarily because more than half of adults in the state have received the vaccine. In Alexandria, the average number of cases in the last week is 12.

As of this writing, 36 percent of Alexandrians aged 16 and older have been fully vaccinated. Forty-eight percent have received one dose.

Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two includes the following changes:

1) Social gatherings will increase to 100 people for indoor gatherings and 250 people for outdoor gatherings.
2) indoor entertainment venues will increase to 1,000 people and outdoor venues will be able to operate at half capacity with no cap on attendees.
3) Indoor sports venues will allow 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less, and outdoor sports venues will permit 1,000 spectators, whichever is less.
4) Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5 a.m.

Northam indicated that more changes will come next month. He stressed though that the mask and social distancing mandates will remain in effect.

“I’m optimistic that we will be able to take more steps in June. We are working to significantly ramp up vaccinations even further and aim to reduce capacity limits in June, hopefully all the way,” he said. “But some things need to continue—we all need to keep wearing masks, social distancing, and encouraging each other to get a shot. It’s how we take care of one another.”

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