Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced on Thursday, April 22 that sports and entertainment venues in Virginia could begin operating with increased capacity and that social gathering limits would increase as of Saturday, May 15.
The announcement comes as vaccinations continue to rise in the Commonwealth and more than half of all adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s good news that half of all adults in Virginia have had a chance so far,” Gov. Northam said. “The number of vaccinations is on the rise and the number of our COVID-19 cases is significantly lower than it was earlier this year. So we were able to start relaxing some of the mitigation measures. We’ve taken some more focused action this week, and we’ll be doing more next month. “
“I am optimistic that we will be able to take further action in June. We are working to increase vaccinations even further and aim to lower capacity limits in June, hopefully through to the end. But some things must continue – we all must continue to wear masks, socialize and encourage each other to take a photo. This is how we take care of each other, ”Northam said.
The governor also reminded Virginians that getting vaccinated keeps communities safer and allows for the expansion of personal activities – for example, people who have been fully vaccinated do not have to self-quarantine after exposure, according to guidelines. guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Commonwealth will continue to enforce mask wear and social distancing, even as trade restrictions are further relaxed. The main changes to the Sixth Amended Legislative Decree Seventy-Two will come into effect in approximately three weeks and will include:
- Social meetings:The maximum number of people allowed in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor environments and 250 people for outdoor environments. Social gatherings are currently limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
- Places of entertainment:Indoor and public entertainment venues will be able to operate at a capacity of 50% or 1000 people, compared to 30% or 500 people. Open-air sites will be able to operate at a capacity of 50% – against 30% – with no specific limit on the number of participants.
- Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase from 100 to 250 spectators or 50 percent of capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50% of capacity, whichever is less.
- Alcohol sales:Restaurants may resume selling alcohol after midnight, and dining halls will no longer be required between midnight and 5 a.m.
Earlier this week, Governor Northam made minor changes to existing mitigation measures, including increased accommodation for transnational events, fine art performances in schools and expanded access to bar seating in restaurants with strict social distancing.