RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — When the clock strikes midnight there will no longer be any state-mandated capacity restrictions in Virginia, after over a year of COVID-19 mitigation measures.
An 8News crew headed to Shockoe Bottom in Richmond where many people were already out and enjoying themselves. The mask mandate is already lifted for people who have been vaccinated and now capacity limits are gone too. Virginia isn’t requiring people to show proof of vaccination when not using a mask.
In a stark contrast from last year, Virginians will be able to hold Memorial Day weekend gatherings of any size.
Local restaurants are trying to figure out what they’re comfortable with now that limited seating is no longer required.
Although they’ll be able to allow plenty of people in at Margaritas Cantina in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom, General Manager Farni Tano says they’ll take it easy—for now.
“If there’s not a chair in the dining room, we have no room for you, and we let them know,” Tano said.
Tano doesn’t believe Margaritas Cantina needs to rush into fully reopening.
In a similar boat, Tipsy Crab restaurant manager Andre Degenna says not so fast.
“We are excited to get our capacity up just like any other business simply to increase our sales volume,” Degenna said. “We will get there soon. We’re probably not going to rush to be the first.”
It’s not just restaurants that can open up fully, houses of worship can welcome more people, stadiums can open their gates and theaters can turn on the marquee.
There is one population still required to wear masks, unvaccinated school students attending class. Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
Though capacity limits are gone, Governor Northam says Virginia’s state of emergency remains in effect at least through June 30 to keep supporting vaccine efforts.