“But some things need to continue — we all need to keep wearing masks, social distancing, and encouraging each other to get a shot,” Northam said in a news release announcing the loosening of restrictions. "It’s how we take care of one another.”
New daily reported cases and deaths in Virginia
For a detailed look at cases and deaths, see The Post’s interactive map here.
What are the current restrictions in Virginia?
Starting May 15, several restrictions will be updated. The limit on social gatherings will be 100 people indoors and 250 outdoors. Outdoor entertainment venues will be able tooperate at 50 percent capacity, with no specific cap on the number of attendees. Indoor entertainment venues are allowed to have 1,000 people, but not more than 50 percent capacity.
Restaurants and other establishments can offer indoor dining and, starting May 15, can sell alcohol later than midnight. Patrons can sit at bars, but must remain six feet apart. Indoor entertainment venues can have as many as 250 people or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less. Fitness centers and sports facilities can operate at 75 percent capacity, with a 25-person limit. Beauty salons, barbershops and spas can operate, but everyone must wear a mask. Recreational sports are allowed with a limit of 25 spectators per field for indoor sports. Outdoor sports can have up to 1,000 spectators.
Recreational sports are able to have 250 spectators indoors and 1,000 outdoors, with a 50 percent capacity limit. Social gatherings, including weddings, are able to have 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors. School graduations can have 500 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors, or 30 percent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less.
Have any of the variants of the virus been found in Virginia?
Yes. The virus variants that were first discovered in the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and California have all been found in Virginia. More transmissible, those variants have contributed to a recent surge in cases, along with looser attitudes about masks and other protective measures, epidemiologists say. Available vaccines are thought to be effective against the variants.
Are there enough hospital beds in Virginia?
Yes. You can find updated information on hospitalizations here.
How can I get tested for the virus?
Testing locations change often, while local health departments and some private groups have been hosting pop-up testing sites for limited periods. The most up-to-date information on where to get a coronavirus test can be found here.
Can I travel out of state?
Yes, but be mindful that some states have quarantine mandates for out-of-state travelers. If you’re traveling to other states, check with the state and local health departments to see if Virginia is on their list.
Is it safe to travel by airplane, train or bus?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it’s safe to travel once you’ve been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. However, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky still says she does not recommend travel in general. “I would advocate against general travel overall,” she said at a White House briefing April 2. “Our guidance is silent on recommending or not recommending fully vaccinated people travel. Our guidance speaks to the safety of doing so.”
For those who are not yet vaccinated, the CDC is recommending that people avoid travel if it’s not necessary.
Are schools in Virginia holding classes in person?
Yes, in-person instruction is occurring. In Fairfax County, the state’s largest district, more than 84,000 students returned to in-person class the week of March 15. Loudoun County schools have seen about 36 percent of the student body return to class, or just under 30,000 students, while in Arlington, a total of about 17,000 students has returned to class. Alexandria returned almost 5,400 students to in-person learning.
Do I have to wear a mask in public in Virginia?
Northam on April 29 said masks will now be required only at “large crowded events like concerts, sporting events, and graduation ceremonies,” reflecting updated guidance from the CDC.
Federal health officials said April 27 that fully vaccinated people can go without masks outdoors when walking, jogging or biking, or dining with friends at outdoor restaurants. The guidance also says that even unvaccinated individuals may forego masks when walking, jogging or biking outdoors with household members. Officials cautioned that crowded outdoor settings still pose risks and urged both the vaccinated and unvaccinated to wear masks when with strangers or in large groups.
Is it safe to eat in a restaurant, go shopping, hit the gym or attend a religious service?
Public health experts say any indoor spaces have higher transmission risks than being outdoors. Masking, social distancing and limited capacity can reduce the risk of transmission indoors but cannot eliminate it.
The CDC recommends not visiting any of these places if you are feeling ill and to check in advance about mask policies.
Is it safe to eat in a tent outdoors at a restaurant?
The risk of transmission depends on who else is in the tent with you. If it’s a pod limited to only the diners in your household, your transmission risk is less than if multiple tables are seated inside the same sealed tent. Although outdoors, the tent, if closed off to the elements, could create poor ventilation akin to dining indoors. Experts recommend wearing your mask whenever not actively eating and drinking.
How is Virginia distributing vaccines?
Virginia has created a statewide registration system for residents to register for vaccine appointments. Residents can also call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA to register. The state is also using the “vaccine finder” site developed by the CDC for appointments at pharamacies. Fairfax County, which was previously using its own website to register people for vaccine appointments, is now also relying on that site.
Health-care workers and residents of long-term-care facilities were the first to get vaccinated. Virginia is now offering doses to everyone 16 or older.
Nearly $40 million in federal Cares Act funds will go toward helping people who are uninsured or underinsured receive vaccinations. Local health officials will be tasked with getting the vaccine to any non-federally recognized tribal communities.
More answers to questions about how the coronavirus vaccine is being distributed in the region can be found here.
Erin Cox, Hannah Natanson, Jenna Portnoy, Laura Vozzella and Julie Zauzmer contributed to this report.