Governor Northam's easing of mask restrictions
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a number of regarding social distancing and use of masks and face coverings, following the CDC's May 13 updated guidelines. The following recap was provided by Christopher Revere, Deputy Director for Innovation and Planning, Fairfax County Health Department:
Governor Northam has issued a video message and news release to announce several important updates based on last week's recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; increasing vaccination rates among Virginians; and dramatically declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and positive tests.
Here is the latest information available (business-related guidance is in red):
Effective at midnight May 14, masks will no longer be required by Executive Order 72 for fully vaccinated individuals in most indoor settings. Exceptions will include public transit, health care facilities, and congregate settings. Anyone who is not yet vaccinated is strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.
- Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, consistent with CDC guidelines.
- Masks will continue to be required in K-12 settings, given low rates of vaccination among children.
- Businesses will retain the ability to require masks in their establishments if they choose to, and individuals will continue to be permitted to wear masks if they choose to.
- Social distancing and capacity restrictions will be lifted on May 28, instead of June 15 as previously planned.
- Virginia's state of emergency will remain in effect at least through June 30. The Governor's Office is currently reviewing implications of ending the state of emergency, and will continue to engage with localities on the timing and substance of future changes.