Virginia Gov. announces new coronavirus restrictions to curb spread

Southeast

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a reporter’s question during a press briefing inside the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (NewsNation Now) —  Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday several new coronavirus restrictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The following changes go into effect Sunday, November 15:

  • Reducing capacity at indoor and outdoor gatherings to 25 people, down from the current limit of 250
  • Expansion of Virginia’s mask mandate in indoor public spaces to Virginians ages five and over (the previous mandate set in May was for ages 10 and over)
  • All essential retail business (grocery stores, pharmacies) must adhere to face covering and social distancing guidelines and violations can now be enforced through the Virginia Department of Health as a class 1 misdemeanor
  • Alcohol sales will be cut off at 10 p.m. at restaurants, breweries, wineries, etc. and all establishments must close at midnight

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” Gov. Northam said in a press release. “Everyone is tired of this pandemic and restrictions on our lives. I’m tired, and I know you are tired too. But as we saw earlier this year, these mitigation measures work. I am confident that we can come together as one Commonwealth to get this virus under control and save lives.”

Though it’s still doing relatively well compared to many other states, Virginia has seen its average of new cases double from about 750 per day to 1,500 per day in the past month. That’s about 300 cases per day above previous peaks. Cases and hospitalizations are also going up, with about a 35 percent increase in hospitalizations statewide in the past month. Reported deaths, which lag cases, have also gone up this past week.

NewsNation affiliate WAVY contributed to this report.

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