RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Ralph Northam issued an executive order Tuesday tightening COVID-19 restrictions in the Hampton Roads.
The executive order comes as the percent positivity in the region continues to rise.
Northam says the percent positivity in Virginia outside of Hampton Roads area is 6%. The rate in the Eastern Region ranges from 9.9% - 18.6%.
"Case numbers are rising as well as our hospitalizations, intensive care and emergency room visits," said Northam. "Our local health directors and their teams have been clear... they are seeing a significant shift toward younger people testing positive people in their 20s and even younger. They're seeing increased socialization with non household members such as birthday parties, backyard barbecues, and other celebrations. So, we need to act to turn this around."
The governor issued an executive order for the Hampton Roads, effective at 12 a.m. Friday, July 31.
The executive order will impose the following restrictions.
- No alcohol will be sold or consumed after 10PM. All restaurants must close at midnight.
- Indoor dining limited to 50% capacity.
- Public and private gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.
"This is about stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Hampton Roads. It happens when too many people gather together when too many people are non compliant. And as I've said before, when too many people are selfish," said Northam.
The governor’s announcement comes a few hours after he met with Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, who was touring five states where she’s concerned with increasing COVID-19 case numbers.
She recommended restaurant and bar closures or restrictions, but suggested it be done statewide rather than by locality.
Governor Northam was asked about his decision on the locality approach.
He said he is watching the case numbers daily and that four of the five regions are relatively stable, but added, all options are on the table.
"I had that discussion with Dr. Birx and, you know, the best policy is to really stay ahead of the curve and if we see numbers trending up and I’ll continue to do that everyday." said Northam.
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.