In a press briefing on April 19, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will be loosening restrictions on social gatherings and venue capacity, as well as extending the capacity of recreational sporting events.
The governor has cited the rise in vaccinations in the Commonwealth as the reason for easing restrictions. Half of all adults in Virginia have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine so far, and all Virginians who are 16 and older are now eligible for the vaccine. According to the New River Health District’s website, as of April 26 over 49,800 people, more than 27% of the total population, have been vaccinated in the New River Valley.
Starting Saturday, May 15, the maximum number of people that can gather will be increased to 100 people for indoor settings and 250 people for outdoor settings from the current maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
Venue capacity for indoor events will be permitted to operate at 50% capacity or 1,000 people, an increase from 30% or 500 people. For outdoor venues, the capacity will also rise to 50%, but with no cap on the number of people.
Recreational sporting event restrictions will loosen and allow for 100 to 250 spectators or 50% capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less.
Dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5 a.m. and restaurants will be able to return to selling alcohol after midnight.
Northam continued to urge safe practices, such as social distancing and mask wearing, in a video message.
“I’m optimistic that we will be able to take more steps in June,” Northam said. “We are aiming to significantly ramp up vaccinations even further and aim to reduce mitigation measures in June, hopefully all the way.”