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Northam announces expanded capacity, social gathering limits to begin May 15

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 4:35 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV/Press Release from the Office of Gov. Northam) — On Thursday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced some changes in COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state beginning on Saturday, May 15.

Northam says in a couple of weeks, sports and entertainment venues in Virginia may begin to operate with expanded capacity and the social gatherings limit will increase.

According to a press release from Governor Northam’s office, the decision comes as vaccinations continue to rise in Virginia. The press release says more than half of all adults in Virginia have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Virginia will continue to mandate mask-wearing and social distancing, but the following key changes will go into effect on May 15:

  • 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.

“I’m optimistic that we will be able to take more steps in June,” Northam said in the press release. “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.”

To read the full press release from the governor’s office, click here.

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