Ralph Northam

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam speaks to reporters after the debate, July 22, 2017.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a number of coronavirus-suppressing mandates Friday afternoon that went into effect Sunday at midnight.

All indoor and outdoor private and public gatherings must be limited to 25 people, which is substantially reduced from the current limit of 250, and those aged 5 and older must wear a face covering in public spaces.

Northam announced restrictions on businesses where physical distancing, appropriate face coverings and enhanced cleaning guidelines are enforceable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Consumption and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10 p.m. for businesses with on-site sale, and all restaurants must close at midnight.

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are,” Northam said. “We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse.”

The Virginia Department of Health has reported 183,454 confirmed statewide coronavirus cases as of Nov. 15, and the state positivity rate is increasing, according to Northam’s announcement on Facebook.

“Numbers are going up in every region of the state, and we must act as one Commonwealth to get this virus under control,” Northam said. “We’re acting now, so things don't get worse.”

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