NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s the first weekend of a step many have been waiting for.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam lifted the universal mask mandate as of midnight Friday.
He announced those who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear a mask in most situations following new guidance from the CDC.
All gathering restrictions will also be lifted on May 28, including capacity and distancing requirements in businesses and public spaces, according to a video released by Northam’s office Friday.
Yet, it’s a change some feel is abrupt like local resident Shawn Rosenberg who works in downtown Norfolk.
“It’s too soon. We should keep wearing masks and social distancing. I do work at another job, and we don’t do that and I don’t feel comfortable, but I have to be comfortable,” Rosenberg said.
Businesses will still be able to require mask-wearing and ask for proof of people’s vaccination status. Masks will also still be required in schools.
In accordance with the CDC guidance, Virginia will still require fully vaccinated people to wear masks on public transportation, at health care and correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.
Northam said his decision is based on lower COVID-19 case counts and increases in the number of people vaccinated.
About half of Virginians have received at least one shot, and Northam urged Virginians to get vaccinated in the next two weeks if they haven’t already.
Sunday morning, 10 On Your Side called over a dozen popular brunch and coffee spots in Norfolk as businesses can still decide their own mask policy.
Many said they hadn’t change their policies at this point and were experiencing staff shortages so they could not step away to interview.
10 On Your Side went out and noticed many people still masking up entering the businesses.
“The truth is I don’t know if they’ve been vaccinated, I don’t know if they have the virus or if they had the virus there’s no peace of mind there,” Rosenberg said.