RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has issued new coronavirus restrictions to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions are in response to the rise of cases and hospitalizations in the state.
The state is now seeing over 4,000 new cases per day on average. Back in May, the Virginia Department of Health was reporting an average of 1,200 new daily cases.
These coronavirus measures will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 14.
Modified stay-at-home order
All Virginians must stay at home between the hours of 12 to 5 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work and seeking medical attention.
Universal mask requirement
Anyone over the age of 5 in Virginia is required to wear a face covering when in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29.
Reduction in social gatherings
All social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
Events affected by these news limits include weddings, seminars and parties. The maximum number of people allowed at a gathering was previously 25.
Continued limits on dining establishments
Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place.
Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so, Northam said.
New restrictions for school systems were not announced Thursday. Northam’s administration will allow localities to continue to implement specific regulations for schools. However, Northam is encouraging schools to get creative when it comes to games and spectators.
Places of worship
The governor did not place any new capacity limits on places of worship. Despite this he is still urging faith leaders to keep their congregations safe during the holidays. He called on them to “lead the way” during Hannukah and Christmas, encouraging them to hold worship ceremonies either outside or online.
If worship ceremonies are being held indoors Northam asks that masks be worn at all times.
Enforcement of the new social gathering restrictions will be carried out the same way as previous gathering restrictions. The local health department receives reports from the public and then will offer education and guidance as a first step. If follow up is necessary then the local health department will refer to the appropriate agency. Catherine Long with the Richmond Henrico Health District says, “If necessary, we can take enforcement action.”
In the past, Long says they have received a few reports about gatherings breaking statewide restrictions. The health district was able to resolve those issues.
Under Virginia’s Executive Order 72, the enforcement of coronavirus restrictions at businesses is delegated to local health districts. Long says this can include dining establishments, alcohol serving establishments, farmer’s markets, non-essential brick and mortar businesses, fitness facilities, personal care/grooming facilities, campgrounds, indoor shooting ranges, public beaches, racetracks/speedways, amusement parks, zoos, entertainment and amusement businesses, recreational sports, and essential businesses.
- Coronavirus update: 25% of Virginia's population fully vaccinated; Residents over 16 eligible for vaccineVirginia is getting 77,983 COVID-19 vaccine doses into arms each day on average. According to the state’s health department, more than 5.3 million doses have been administered in Virginia.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, hinted that there could soon be changes to the COVID-19 health policy on face masks.
- All adults in the U.S. should be eligible for coronavirus vaccines starting Monday after President Joe Biden announced a deadline for states to expand eligibility.
- This morning, the Virginia Department of Health will be issuing a message alerting everyone 16+ they are now eligible to register for the shot under Phase 2.
- Petersburg City Public Schools announced that two students at Cool Spring Elementary School have tested positive for COVID-19.
- A woman was not allowed on her flight out of Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina, all because of the type of mask she was wearing.
- The CEO of drug company Moderna announced this week that they will make a third booster shot for the two-dose vaccine available by the fall.
- The United States will likely move to resume Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this coming week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.
- With summer travel plans heating up as the country continues to see vaccination numbers rise, many are eager to hit the road.
- Virginia is closing in on averaging 78,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per day. This as the Virginia Department of Health reports 1,305 new cases of COVID-19 in Virginia for April 18.