Virginia announces new measures to fight COVID-19 as virus cases rise across the country.
Among the requirements set to come into effect at midnight Sunday, indoor and outdoor gatherings will be reduced from 250 people to 25, and the age at which children must wear masks in indoor public places will be reduced from 10 to 5 years old.
“COVID-19 is escalating across the country, and although cases are not rising in Virginia as quickly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait for it to rise,” said Ralph Northam in a statement Friday afternoon. “We are working now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse.”
The following procedures apply at midnight Sunday:
- Minimizing public and private gatherings: All public and private personal gatherings must be restricted to 25 people, down from the current 250 people limit. This includes both external and internal settings.
- Expanding the mandate of the mask: All Virginia residents ages five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This broadens the scope of the current mask mandate, which has been in effect in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals 10 years and over to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces.
- Strengthening enforcement within core retail businesses: All major retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical spacing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While some core retail companies have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, the violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a misdemeanor in the first degree.
- Banning alcohol curfews on the site: The sale, consumption and possession of alcohol on site is prohibited after 10:00 PM in any restaurant, dining establishment, dining hall, brewery, small brewery, distillery, winery or tasting room. All restaurants, eating establishments, food halls, breweries, small breweries, distilleries, wineries and tasting rooms must be closed by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals who choose to drink alcohol must be served before 10:00 PM in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.
Northam is also sharing a new video to inform Virginia residents of additional steps the Commonwealth is taking to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Virginia averages 1,500 new coronavirus cases per day, up from a statewide peak of about 1,200 in May, according to officials.
State officials say that while the number of cases per capita and the positivity rate in Virginia remains relatively low, all five health districts are seeing increases in new COVID-19 cases, positive tests, and hospitalizations.
“Everyone is tired of this epidemic and the restrictions on our lives. I’m tired and I know you are tired too,” Northam said. “But as we saw earlier this year, these mitigation measures are working. I am confident we can come together as a single Commonwealth to control this virus and save lives.
The new measures in Virginia are the latest in a series of rolling reopening and intense safety efforts across the region.
District of Columbia now Travelers from all but four states are required to be tested for COVID-19Once before traveling and again if they plan to stay in the area for more than three days.
In Maryland, state officials Undo capacity limits in indoor dining establishments He urged people not to travel to countries where the Coronavirus is spreading very quickly.
Montgomery County Reducing capacity limits at several businesses, including in-house restaurants, to 25%. The county previously stopped giving concessions on alcohol sales after 10 p.m.
Prince George is County Tightening restrictions and a requirement to wear masks in the open air.
And in Frederick County, Maryland, the Health Board decided To implement the new regulations In both Frederick County and City starting at 5 p.m. Friday to help slow the spread of COVID-19.