Next month, Virginia will see some coronavirus restrictions eased.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that starting May 15, sports and entertainment venues in Virginia may begin to operate with expanded capacity and social gathering limits will increase. In addition to that, recreational sporting events will be able to have more people in attendance and the midnight ban on alcohol sales will be lifted.
The governor cited the increase in vaccinated Virginians as the reason for the easing of restrictions. So far, more than half of all adults in Virginia have been vaccinated with at least one dose.
“It’s good news that half of all adults in Virginia have gotten a shot so far,” said Northam.“Vaccination numbers are up, and our COVID case numbers are substantially lower than they were earlier this year. So we have been able to begin easing some mitigation measures. We took a few more targeted steps this week, and we will do more next month.”
Virginia will continue to mandate mask-wearing and social distancing, even as commercial restrictions are further eased.
Here’s a more detailed look at the key changes coming May 15:
- Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor settings and 250 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
- Entertainment venues: Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people, up from 30 percent capacity or 500 people. Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity—up from 30 percent—with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
- Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase from 100 to 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less.
- Alcohol sales: Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5 a.m.
He also said that Virginia could dial back more restrictions in June.
“I’m optimistic that we will be able to take more steps in June. We’re aiming to significantly ramp up vaccinations even further, and aim to reduce capacity limits in June, hopefully all the way. But some things need to continue—we all need to keep wearing masks, we need to continue social distancing, and we all need to keep encouraging each other to get a shot. It’s how we take care of one another,” said Northam.