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Northam to lift all capacity limits on June 15 if COVID-19 cases keep going down and vaccinations are up

Governor Ralph Northam holding a news briefing in Richmond.
Governor Ralph Northam holding a news briefing in Richmond.(VPM)
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 7:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Gov. Ralph Northam held a news briefing in Richmond Thursday with information on the status of COVID-19 cases, vaccine progress, and a reduction in restrictions for indoor and outdoor gatherings.

He started with saying he has good news to share including a drop in COVID-19 cases in Virginia, fewer people having to be hospitalized, and a dramatic drop in COVID-19 deaths.

Roughly 46% of Virginians have had at least one vaccine dose and around 1-in-3 are fully vaccinated. Northam says community vaccination centers have met their goals, and he urges everyone to get the vaccine.

He adds that he anticipates vaccines being approved for younger children in the coming weeks and months.

“The vaccines are working,” Northam said. “We expect the federal government to approve the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 and over very soon, perhaps as early as next week.”

Gov. Northam says he doesn’t anticipate mandating on the state level getting the vaccine.

Many clinics are now accepting walk-ins for the vaccine and next week VDH will be running mobile vaccination clinics. Dr. Avula says the program will likely use Johnson & Johnson single-doses.

“Just this week we met our goal to give 300,000 shots,” Northam said. “Next week, we will launch new mobile vaccine units together with local health departments, these will focus on underserved areas.”

Visit vaccinate.virginia.gov for more information. Additionally, if you’re looking for a vaccine clinic near you, text your zip code to GetVax and it will provide 3 clinics near you.

Gov. Northam says he feels confident that Virginia can meet President Biden’s goal of getting 70% of the population vaccinated by the Fourth of July.

Northam stressed the severity of getting COVID-19. He says he is still experiencing a loss of smell and taste from when he had COVID-19 months ago.

Some more restrictions will be loosened in Virginia as of May 15, according to Northam. For social gatherings, 100 people at a time will be allowed indoors and 250 outdoors. For entertainment events, 50% capacity will be allowed for indoor events up to 1,000 people, and 50% will be allowed outdoors with no cap. Restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol after midnight, and dining rooms will be allowed to stay open later.

If COVID-19 cases keep going down and vaccinations are up, Northam says he will lift all capacity and social distancing measures on June 15. He will reevaluate the mask mandate at that time as well. He says they will continue to follow the CDC guidance.

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