VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer hopes the city’s recent positive COVID-19 trends can convince the governor to relax restrictions on some businesses ahead of Labor Day weekend.
Since July 31, much of Hampton Roads has been under additional restrictions after case numbers spiked in the region in July. The day Gov. Ralph Northam, (D-Virginia), announced the additional restrictions, the seven-day average percent positivity rate for Hampton Roads was 11.67 percent.
All restaurants have been required to close by midnight, with all in-person alcohol sales cutting off at 10 p.m. When restaurants are open, capacity has been limited to 50 percent indoors. In addition, all gatherings, no matter the business or event, continue to be capped at 50 people.
Several of those restrictions, Dyer himself suggested in a letter to Northam back on July 23.
In a letter sent to on Friday, Dyer pointed out that the “number of cases reported is declining, the percent of positive laboratory results in Virginia Beach has dropped below the statewide average … and we’re seeing a shorter test result turnaround time …”
On Friday, the city’s percent positive case rate was 6 percent, the lowest it has been since July 4.
“It’s time to progress,” said Dyer in an interview Friday afternoon. “I mean obviously we had a spike in the amount of cases a couple weeks ago. That needed some action … but so many businesses especially restaurants are particularly adversely affected right now.”
Dyer asked Northam to consider modifying his latest executive order to allow for alcohol to be served in restaurants until at least 11 p.m. He also asked for indoor dining to go back to being held to the same occupancy levels as the rest of the state.
“If we can get things really going for Labor Day, things are going to be so much better. We can, this can, really may help salvage the summer for us,” Dyer said.
Indeed, hotel and restaurant owners alike in the city’s economic engine, the Oceanfront resort, say revenues have taken a nosedive since restrictions went into place.
“We had a strong July,” said Brad Capps, whose family owns The Breakers Resort Inn on 16th Street. “The restrictions just killed us.”
Other restaurant managers in the resort area say they will have people waiting to be seated at 9:30 p.m., but upon learning they can not drink past 10 p.m. leave.
Northam has not held a press conference related to COVID-19 specifically since he imposed the restrictions and his office when contacted by WAVY-TV gave no signs as to when he will be lifting them.
Both cities to Virginia Beach’s West have seven-day percent positivity rates above 10 percent.
“The Governor will continue to make decisions in consultations with state and local health experts,” said Alena Yarmosky, Northam’s press secretary. “No decision has been made at this time.”
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