Virginia to Ease COVID-19 Restriction in April

| March 23, 2021 | 0 Comments | News

Credit: Jiffy Lube Live

Governor Ralph Northam announced today that Virginia will be loosening some of its COVID-19 restrictions as of April. Virginia will now allow more people to attend outdoor and indoor events.

Changes are possible thanks to positive changes in COVID-19 trends in the state. Cases of COVID-19 have greatly decreased in Virginia since peaking in early January. Currently, cases have a plateaued. Northam attributes the positive changes to vaccinations and mitigation strategies. One out of four Virginians have now been vaccinated.

The new COVID-19 mitigation policies are as follows:

Large profession outdoor venues such as concert amphitheaters and sports stadium will be allowed a maximum of 5,000 or 30% of crowd capacity (whichever is less.) Venues will need to abide by distancing rules and attendees will have to wear masks.

For indoor entertainment events, 500 people will be allowed or 30% capacity. Recreational sports, such as high school sports, will allow 500 spectators outside and 100 inside or 30% capacity.

Weddings and similar private parties held at a venue can have 100 guests outdoors or 50 indoors guests or 30% capacity for the room.

Outdoor graduations can have roughly 3,000 people outdoors, 5,000 in a large enough venue or 30% of capacity. Only 500 people will be indoors or 30% capacity, whichever is less.

Northam said this policy favors large professional venues only because they more capacity to spread out and more staff to effectively enforce mitigation strategies.

He said he encourages people take most of their socializing and entertainment outdoors where the virus spreads less easily.

Northam said their guidelines “closely follows the data,” and they cannot just “flip a switch” and open everything completely. “It really depended on Virginia.”

“I expect our cases counts will keep going down [as vaccinations increase,]” Northam said. “Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel but only if we take them and only if we make smart choices”

And he encourages everyone who can get the vaccine to accept it. To reach herd immunity, requires 70-75% of the population, but that includes people of all ages, and vaccines have not yet been approved for children.

Dr. Norm Oliver said that there are confirmed cases of different variants of the virus in Virginia now. They include the U.K., South African and California strains. He said they are not more deadly, just more contagious. However, he cautions that if we do not eliminate the threat of the virus through vaccinations a more dangerous strain could emerge.

Soon, with the help of labs, Oliver said they will do a better job identifying and tracking the variants.

Responding to questions about some areas of the state moving through phases quicker, a reporter asked if Virginia should continue to distribute the vaccines based upon population. They said they may adjust their strategy. It is true that fewer people want the vaccine in some rural areas. The state also plans a PR campaign to encourges people to take the vaccines.

Northam expects students will be able to fully return to school in the fall. When more people return to school, 6 feet of space may not be possible but 3 feet of distance, in accordance with CDC guidelines, is safe with all the other mitigations such as mask-wearing, he said.

He spoke out against hate, especially against the Asian community.

© 2021, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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