Thursday, December 7, 2023

Gov. Northam extends COVID-19 restrictions through the end of February

Gov. Ralph Northam during a December press conference in Richmond. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of InsideNoVa)
Gov. Ralph Northam during a December press conference in Richmond. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of InsideNoVa)

Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order on Wednesday extending the state’s December restrictions through the end of February.

The current restrictions, which closed bars and limited restaurant capacity as well as social gatherings, was set to expire this week.

“We are ramping up vaccinations,” Northam said. “This is no time to let down our guard.” 

The December restrictions, which took effect Monday, Dec. 14, included a “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.

RELATED STORY: Northam imposes added COVID-19 restrictions – curfew, 10-person limit among them

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. These changes are consistent with new Centers of Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, released Dec. 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
  • Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals. 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.

The primary focus of the briefing was a vaccination update, with Northam pledging transparency commonwealth’s efforts. 

“Vaccines are the light at the end of this long and dark tunnel, and they are a great reason for hope and optimism,” Northam said, adding he understands residents are inpatient. “That’s why I wanted to make sure that you understand the actions that we’re taking to get more shots in more arms, every day.”

“It will take time to reach everyone, but we are reaching more people every day, and the pace is increasing,” he added.


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