Local businesses rejoice for plan to relax COVID-19 restrictions

Gov. Northam said Virginia could be close to normal come June

ROANOKE, VA. – The possible end of COVID-19 related restrictions is in sight in Virginia. On Thursday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a major roll-back set to take place in about three weeks.

Starting May 15, the limits on gatherings increase, as well as capacity limits at event venues and sporting events. Restaurants will also be able to resume serving alcohol until 2 a.m.

Northam said there’s more on the way if Virginia stays on track, too.

“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 mitigation measures in June hopefully all the way,” Northam said.

Vicki Shannan owns Creative Entertainment in Roanoke. They’re known for their Vegas-style games and showgirls. Her business relies on other people partying, which as of late, hasn’t been happening. She’s excited by the news.

“I am so anxious to be able to get back to wearing sequins and being around people and, you know, everyone having a good time,” Shannan said. “My business has probably been off, which is pretty standard in the entertainment and venues, about 90% from what it was in the prior year.”

Dave Trinkle owns the Fork restaurants in Roanoke. The governor’s announcement includes late-night alcohol service which is critical for his business.

“I’m a little bit of an optimist too, way back when I kept saying it’s only going to be to be two more months, two more months, and here we are,” Trinkle said. “Especially downtown Roanoke, it will be really important to be able to stay open a little later, there’s just a group of people that that caters to.”

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