Northam eases some COVID restrictions in Virginia

Alcohol sales expanded to midnight, curfew lifted
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Posted at 12:15 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 13:05:35-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- As COVID-19 numbers fall and vaccination numbers continue to rise in Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam is slowly easing some COVID-19 restrictions.

At his press conference Tuesday, Northam said mitigation measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 last year worked and recent trends allows the state to ease some of those measures.

Beginning Monday, March 1, the modified stay-at-home order from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., will be lifted.

Also beginning Monday, Virginia's limit on outdoor social gatherings will increase from 10 to 25 people and alcohol sales will be expanded until midnight instead of 10 p.m.

The new guidance is also good news for outdoor entertainment venues and public amusement venues.

The limit will move from 250 people to 30% with a cap of 1000 people.

"Now, if the trends continue as they are, cases down, and vaccinations up, I would expect that by April, we could be able to continue the 30% measure but remove the 1000 person cap for outdoor venues," said Northam. "We will be working with venues to strengthen their ability to implement safety measures."

The Governor says if the cases down, vaccinations up trend continues, the state will look at further steps in the coming months.

"But it's critical that we do this slowly and thoughtfully," said Northam.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released a statement Tuesday applauding the Governor for lifting some of the restrictions.

“We appreciate the Governor made the decision to lift some of the restrictions, especially those for gatherings at outdoor venues with Spring approaching. Hopefully it will allow restaurants, those who handle events, and recreational businesses to bring in more revenue. It might just give them the boost they need until the day all restrictions are lifted," said NFIB’s Virginia State Director Nicole Riley.

“We do hope to see a change very soon in indoor gathering restrictions and expect the Governor will do that as soon as the number of positive cases continue to go down and the number of vaccinated Virginians are widespread. It is still extremely difficult for those who don’t have outdoor space, and there are also limits to outdoor dining during inclement weather.

Many small business owners have been severely impacted for almost a year now, beginning last March when they were closed for weeks, then restrictions were ongoing. It was a financial and emotional rollercoaster and we hope they will land on their feet when this pandemic ends and people are excited to get together at local businesses once again.”

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.

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COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.