Citing rising coronavirus positive cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday imposed news restrictions ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Among them are modified stay-at-home order between midnight and 5 a.m., a universal mask requirement, and lowering the limit on social gatherings from 25 people to 10 people.
The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14 and remain in place through Jan. 31, 2021, unless rescinded or amended, according to the governor’s office.
The exceptions are people who are working.
“It’s just plain common sense,” he said during a news conference Thursday.
“New daily case numbers are higher than they have been at any previous point in the pandemic, and while the trends in Virginia are better than most of the country, we are taking action now to slow the spread of this virus before our hospitals get overwhelmed,” Northam said. “We already have strong public health measures in place, and with these additional steps, we can turn this around. Virginians, if you don’t have to be out, stay at home.”
Virginia has been averaging 4,000 cases a day, he added.
In addition, Northam noted social gatherings are now limited to 10 people or less and everyone indoors around others are required to wear a mask.
Previously, social gatherings were limited to 25 people.
Before announcing the new restrictions, Northam showed a YouTube video of Emily Nichole Egan, a nurse from Ballad Health talking about the coronavirus. He later showed a Facebook post from Greg Crowder, who admitted publicly he did not take the virus seriously and now needed oxygen for his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Here’s some items from the order:
- Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.
- Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged 5 and older are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. The order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released Dec. 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
- Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
- Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
- Teleworking: Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.
- COVID-19 Vaccinations: Expected to start in 24-48 hrs.
- Testing: Virginia is averaging 20,000 tests per day. Turnaround time for results is 2 days statewide.
- National Guard: Activated through March.
- Recreation: 25 people per field indoors and two guests for outdoor sports.
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Here are the latest numbers for the Historic Triangle, courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health’s website: