SALEM, Va. – Virginians have adjusted their daily lives numerous times this year due to the threat of COVID-19, and Gov. Ralph Northam announced his new list of changes for the commonwealth this week.
Northam’s latest executive order takes effect at midnight Sunday. The new restrictions include:
- Limiting most indoor and outdoor events to 25 people, compared to the previous cap of 250 people
- Recommending masks for children ages 5 and up, compared to the previous recommendation of ages 10 and up
- Prohibiting on-site alcohol sales after 10 p.m. and ordering all food and drink establishments to close by midnight
- Expanding Virginia law so businesses that do not comply with restrictions could face a misdemeanor
Some Southwest Virginians, such as Bonnie Hughes, agree with the increased restrictions.
“We all want to be well. We all want to make sure we’re not spreading," Hughes said. “I think the governor is very knowledgeable and I think everyone should follow the guidelines 100 percent.”
Salem resident Jerry Compton said he remains worried about the pandemic’s effect on restaurants but agrees with implementing more preventative measures against COVID-19.
“It sure hurts our businesses, but we can’t let this virus get out of control," Compton said. "I think Northam is probably doing okay with this plan.”
The capacity limit will not affect all businesses, such as outdoor markets. Salem Farmers Market manager Isaac Campbell said he’s grateful the market’s vendors can continue to do business.
“It’s just a matter of operating in the most safe manner that we can," Campbell said. "Whatever the guidance is for that, that’s what we’ll end up doing here.”