Virginia allowing increased capacity at gatherings, entertainment venues on April 1


RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia is loosening some coronavirus restrictions on April 1, including increasing capacity limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings and entertainment venues.

The increase in indoor and outdoor gatherings also applies to weddings.

The changes include:

  • Indoor gatherings (including weddings) going from 10-person limit to 50 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings going from 25-person limit to 100 people
  • Indoor entertainment venues can have up to 500 people or 30% capacity, whichever is less (up from 250 people)
  • Outdoor entertainment venues can go up to 30% of capacity with no numerical cap (for example, a 9,000-person stadium can now go up to 2,700 people — it previously was capped at 1K)
  • Recreational sports (including high school) outdoor spectator limit now up to 500 people, 100 indoors

Gov. Ralph Northam touted Virginia’s progress in the virus fight (though numbers have become somewhat stagnant recently) in his announcement to loosen these capacity limits, but emphasized these are small changes rather than a complete lifting of restrictions all at once.

“With increased vaccination capacity and our health metrics continuing to trend the right direction, we can safely take these targeted steps to ease certain mitigation measures,” Northam said in a prepared statement in a news release Tuesday. “Virginians have come so far over the past year, and now is not the time to simply throw the doors open or let down our guard. While some capacity limits will be increased, we must all remember to stay vigilant and work together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.”

View the full text of Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine here.

Mask wearing, social distancing and other restrictions will still be in place.

Northam also said Virginia’s on track to have vaccines available for every person 16 and older by May 1, and might do better than that.

“I think we’ll be a week or two ahead of that in Virginia,” said Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s vaccination coordinator, on Monday.

More than 2 million Virginians, nearly a quarter of the population, now have at least one dose.

Avula also confirmed Monday that Virginia is still set to get 100,000 or more Johnson & Johnson doses per week later this month in addition to the 200,000 or so first doses of Moderna and Pfizer. Those extra doses will be used to operate mass vaccination centers across the state.

To reach herd immunity, the state’s goal is getting 75% of the state population vaccinated, about five million people. 1,142,467 people are fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, VDH data shows.

For more information on the vaccine, visit WAVY’s vaccination page.

Last week, Northam announced he would increase the number of people who can attend high school and college graduations this spring in Virginia.

The new guidelines cap outdoor graduations at 5,000 people or 30% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less. Indoor events are capped at 500 people or 30% occupancy, whichever is less.

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