Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday he will expand capacity for venues and social gathering limits beginning May 15 as more residents across the state receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
The amended executive order permits social gatherings of 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50% capacity or up to 1,000 people. Indoor recreational sporting events will be able to run at 50% capacity or have up to 250 spectators, whichever is less. Under the revised order, restaurants will be able to return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining rooms will no longer have to close between midnight and 5 a.m.
“Vaccination numbers are up, and our COVID-19 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,” Mr. Northam said in a statement. “I’m optimistic that we will be able to take more steps in June. We are working 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, social distancing, and encouraging each other to get a shot. It’s how we take care of one another.”
More than 3.5 million people in Virginia, about 41% of the population, have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine dose as of Thursday. More than 2.2 million, or 26% of the population, Virginia residents are fully vaccinated, state health data shows.