Loudoun businesses got some good news from Governor Ralph Northam in this afternoon’s press conference.
Almost one million people in the Commonwealth are fully vaccinated, and now nearly one in four Virginians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.
With fewer case counts and higher vaccinations, the governor announced targeted changes to the Forward Virginia guidelines. These updates continue the trend of gradually easing public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.
Looking to plan ahead? Here’s what local business owners need to know about the changes:
- Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 50 people for indoor settings and 100 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Entertainment venues: All indoor and outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity. Indoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity or with a maximum of 500 people, an increase from the current cap of 250 people. Outdoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity, with no specific cap on the number of attendees. These venues were previously limited to 30 percent capacity or up to 1,000 attendees, whichever was fewer.
- Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at recreational sporting events will increase from 25 to 100 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for indoor settings, and from 250 to 500 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for outdoor settings.
- In-person graduation and commencement events: Last week, Governor Northam issued preliminary guidance on safe in-person graduations and commencements, which included a cap of 5,000 people or 30 percent of the venue capacity for outdoor events, whichever is less. Events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) March 23, 2021
“With increased vaccination capacity and our health metrics continuing to trend the right direction, we can safely take these targeted steps to ease certain mitigation measures,” said Governor Northam. “Virginians have come so far over the past year, and now is not the time to simply throw the doors open or let down our guard. While some capacity limits will be increased, we must all remember to stay vigilant and work together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.”
The increased availability of doses has also had promising impacts closer to home. Earlier this week, the Loudoun County Health Department extended vaccine eligibility to everyone in Phase 1b. Visit the Health Department’s website to review eligibility phases or pre-register for your appointment online or by phone.
The full text of Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here. Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Visit Forward Virginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
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