RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In mid-May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed mask recommendations and began suggesting that in most settings, only unvaccinated people needed to wear their masks. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam soon followed suit and lifted mask requirements for vaccinated Virginians.
Now just over two months later, the Delta variant has become more of a concern and the CDC says anyone living in areas with “substantial and high” virus transmission should wear masks in indoor public spaces.
On Thursday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said masks will be recommended in all indoor public settings regardless of vaccination. However, the governor says this is not a requirement.
Locally, Richmond and Henrico health districts have stated that everyone is recommended to resume mask-wearing in those two localities.
Some businesses and organizations in the Richmond region are starting to require masks again. While most requirements are applied only to employees, there are updated policies that customers need to be aware of as well. 8News has compiled a list so people are prepared as they go about their summer.
The grocery store is now “strongly” encouraging anyone working or shopping in the store to wear their mask regardless of vaccination status.
Publix employees will once again be required to wear masks while working. Masks will not be required for customers but the grocery chain is encouraging customers to follow CDC guidance.
Walmart employees working in areas with high infection rates will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. Walmart is encouraging customers to wear masks in stores located in areas with surging cases and will be adding back signs at the entrances.
Some stores will be bringing back health ambassadors who greet customers and hand out masks.
Masks will now be required for all unvaccinated visitors to the museum, and strongly encouraged for vaccinated visitors.
The museum has already implemented timed entry for its more popular exhibits, including Tyrannasaurus: Meet the Family, in order to prevent crowding.
Restaurants in the Richmond area are beginning to adapt their policies following the new CDC guidance. Helens in Richmond’s Fan neighborhood is returning to outdoor-only dining this weekend. Their staff will be getting tested weekly and will all be required to wear masks.
Longoven in Scott’s Addition will begin restricting indoor and garden dining to vaccinated customers only. Starting Aug. 1, people must bring proof of vaccination with them to the restaurant.
People heading out to eat this weekend should double-check the restaurant’s social media pages or give them a call to make sure they are prepared for possibly changing policies.
The Richmond SPCA has returned to requiring everyone to wear a mask while at their humane center, veterinary hospital and training facilities. These mask requirements will apply to everyone over the age of three, regardless of vaccination status.