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Virginia lifts mask mandate, loosens these COVID-19 restrictions, including social gathering limits today

FILE - Business owners have to rely on trust in customers about COVID-19 vaccines

RICHMOND, Va. – Today, Virginia will see some coronavirus restrictions eased.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced in April 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.

This change the same day the mask mandate is lifted for most settings in the state and one day after the Governor announced social distancing and gathering capacity restrictions will also be eased on May 28, two weeks earlier than planned.

The governor cited the increase in vaccinated Virginians as the reason for the easing of restrictions. So far, more than four million people in Virginia have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

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.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.