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Northam announces new measures to reduce spread of COVID-19

Governor Ralph Northam has released a number of mandates that will go into effect at midnight on Sunday.
Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 3:11 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ/Governor’s Office Release) - Governor Ralph Northam has released a number of mandates that will go into effect at midnight Sunday night.

Read the full new executive order here.

The measures are as follows:

Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.

· Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.

· Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.

· On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart."

According to Northam’s office, Virginia is averaging 1,500 newly-reported COVID-19 cases each day. All five of the state’s health regions are reporting a positivity rate of over five percent. While hospital capacity stays stable, hospitalizations have risen statewide by over 35 percent in the last four weeks.

The Virginia High School League’s Executive Director, Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun, released a response to the reduction of group gatherings announced by Northam:

“We want to make it very clear that the Governor’s order for reduction in public and private gatherings to 25 individuals applies to “spectators” and not participants at those events,” said Dr. Haun. “Nothing in the order prevents VHSL member schools from holding contests.”

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” added Northam Friday.

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