Governor Northam has issued new COVID restrictions
Virginia’s Governor Northam issued a press conference on November 13, announcing new restrictions going into effect as of November 15 due to increased numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. Hardest hit is the hospitality industry, particularly bars and restaurants. Starting Monday, those establishments must stop on-site alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and close by midnight.
“Numbers are going up in every region of the state and we must act as one commonwealth to get this virus under control. Virginia is not an island. While our cases may not be rising as rapidly as some states, I do not intend to wait until they are,” said Northam.
- Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings. This limit does not affect schools, churches, capacity at businesses and offices.
- Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.
- Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
- On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 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. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.
Let’s keep supporting all of the small businesses in the region this holiday season. They need it more than ever as the year draws to a close.