Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced the easing of restrictions on the Peninsula and Hampton Roads, citing “significantly improved health metrics.”
“Hampton Roads residents, businesses, and health officials have worked together to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Northam said. “New cases have dropped by more than half, hospitalizations have declined, and percent positivity has fallen below the statewide average. But we cannot let our guard down—we all must continue practicing social distancing, wearing facial coverings, and following all public health guidelines. If we want to keep moving forward, we must stay vigilant and do the things that we know will keep our communities safe.”
The region’s targeted COVID-19 restrictions went into effect nearly six weeks ago on July 31 and included a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, a reduction in indoor dining to 50 percent capacity, and a requirement that restaurants close at midnight and stop the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m.
The impacted localities include cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Williamsburg, Newport News, Poquoson, James City County and York County.
As of Sept. 9, the percent positivity rate for polymerase chain reaction tests in the Eastern Region is 6.7 percent and has been decreasing for 12 days, according to the governor’s office.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Region has been decreasing for 46 days. Hospitalizations, including COVID-19 intensive care unit hospitalizations, have been declining for approximately three weeks, and the current rate of emergency room admissions is steadily decreasing.
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