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Virginia to ease social gathering limits, expand venue capacity May 15

Coronavirus Virginia
Coronavirus Virginia(Associated Press)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - As vaccinations rise in Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam has announced an expansion in venue capacity and social gathering limits beginning May 15.

More than half of Virginia adults have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and everyone 16 and older is now eligible to receive it. Gov. Northam made the announcement in a video message Thursday.

“It’s good news that half of all adults in Virginia have gotten a shot so far,” Gov. Northam said. “Vaccination numbers are up, and our COVID-19 case numbers are substantially lower than they were earlier this year. So, we have been able to begin easing some mitigation measures. We took a few more targeted steps this week, and we will do more next month.”

“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. 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.”

Virginia will continue to mandate mask-wearing and social distancing, even as commercial restrictions are further eased. The key changes that will take effect in May by decree of the Sixth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two are listed below:

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor settings and 250 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Entertainment venues: Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people, up from 30 percent capacity or 500 people. Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity—up from 30 percent—with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
  • Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase from 100 to 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less.
  • Alcohol sales: Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

Earlier in the week, Gov. Northam made minor changes, including increasing accommodations for cross-country events and school-based fine arts performances, and expanding access to bar seating in restaurants with strict social distancing.

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