As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam on Friday announced new actions to mitigate the spread of the virus in Virginia. All five health regions in Virginia are experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases, positive tests and hospitalizations.
The following measures are in effect as of 12:00 a.m., Monday, Nov. 16, 2020:
- Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
- Fitness and exercise facilities: Occupancy must be limited to 75% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy. The total number of attendees (including both participants and instructors) in all group exercise and fitness classes cannot exceed the lesser of 75% of the minimum occupancy or 25 persons. Recreational sports are permitted, provided the total number of spectators does not exceed the lesser of 30% of the occupancy load for the venue, if applicable, or 25 spectators per field. Races or marathons may have up to 250 participants, provided staggered starts separate runners into groups of 25 or less.
- Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29.
- Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
- On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. Alcoholic beverages may continue to be sold via delivery or take-out after 10 p.m., as permitted by existing regulations promulgated by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.
- Closure of dining areas in restaurants: All dining areas restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart. Delivery and take-out service may continue to be offered between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Virginia is averaging 1,500 newly reported COVID-19 cases per day, up from a statewide peak of approximately 1,200 in May. Arlington County is also seeing a rise in cases: On Nov. 16, the 7-day average number of daily news cases reported jumped to a record-high of 46, and the current 7-day positivity rate is 6.8%, a level not seen since early June. See details in the County’s COVID Data Dashboard.
Support Our Local Businesses
Arlington County will continue to support businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage Arlingtonians to continue to support our local businesses and use carryout at their favorite restaurants.
Arlington Economic Development has also compiled resources on its COVID-19 Business Support page.
As we approach the holiday season, remember that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make your celebration safer.
Arlington County continues to implore all Arlingtonians to abide by the guidance we know slows the spread of COVID-19: Avoid large gatherings, wear a face mask, maintain physical distance and wash your hands.
Extensive information is available on the County’s COVID website, including: