The Governor of Virginia has announced Forward Virginia Guidelines as the Commonwealth continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Ralph Northam updated his executive order to align with recent announcements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highlights include:
• Effective on May 15, masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated individuals in most indoor settings. Exceptions will include public transit, health care facilities, and congregate settings. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
Anyone who is not yet vaccinated is strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.
• Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, consistent with CDC guidelines.
• Masks will continue to be required in K-12 school settings, given low rates of vaccination among children.
• Businesses will retain the ability to require masks in their establishments if they choose to, and individuals will continue to be permitted to wear masks if they choose to.
• Social distancing and capacity restrictions will be lifted on May 28, instead of June 15 as previously planned.
• Virginia’s state of emergency will remain in effect at least through June 30.
Changes taking effect 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% capacity or 1,000 people, up from 30% capacity or 500 people. Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50% capacity, up from 30%, 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% capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50% 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.
Detailed information can be found regarding Forward Virginia Guidelines on the official Commonwealth of Virginia website, including general guidelines and best practices for all types of businesses, as well as additional resources related to COVID-19. Visit the Forward Virginia Website.
***Please reach out to individual businesses directly or visit their website and social media feeds for the latest information regarding operating status.
Always continue to follow proper social distancing guidelines and use face coverings when in public spaces. If you feel sick or are showing any symptoms of being sick, stay home.
All patrons aged 5 and over shall wear face coverings over their mouth and nose when entering, exiting, traveling through, or spending time inside buildings. Individuals who have trouble breathing or have medical conditions that prohibit wearing a mask or face covering will not be required to do so. These individuals will not be required to prove or explain medical conditions. ***