Northam Expects to End Virginia’s Social Distancing Requirements in June


Governor Ralph Northam anticipates ending COVID-19 social-distancing and capacity restrictions on June 15. In a Thursday briefing, Northam credited vaccinations with driving COVID-19 case numbers down.

“The data gives us a very clear message. The vaccines are working,” Northam said.

Northam shared statistics showing 45.9 percent of Virginians had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and said one-in-three Virginians are fully vaccinated. He said, “It’s really up to Virginians how we move forward.”

Northam said he expects to end some COVID-19 restrictions on July 15.

Northam’s Chief of Staff Clark Mercer said, “If you’re planning your swim league or if you are planning for opening your theater or if you are planning your yoga studio plan on June 15 to be able to go to full capacity.”

Mercer said Northam’s state of emergency legalizing masks ends at the end of June. Northam and Mercer said the administration was still discussing its mask mandate. But Mercer suggested that some sort of mask guidance would remain in place, since without Northam’s state of emergency, Virginians are prohibited from wearing masks in public, even voluntarily.

Also on Thursday, the Washington Football Team (WFT) announced plans to have full capacity at its FedExField in Maryland for the 2021 season. To make that possible, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Marylanders should get vaccinated.

“Maryland continues to make steady progress on our health and economic recovery and working with the Washington Football Team to get fans safely back to FedExField is an important part of that process,” Hogan said in a WFT press release.

WFT President Jason Wright said his organization’s safety protocols were key. “Following the 2020 season, our organization was praised for its infection control approaches, and we now endeavor to build on this track record by providing a safe and fun 2021 gameday experience for our fans, the best in all of football,” Wright said in the press release.

“The results have been the best in the NFL, and because of that, we felt confident enough to announce our intention to welcome back fans to FedExField at full capacity,” Wright said in a Friday President’s Brief.

He said, “There are still some steps we need to take before that goal is realized, but if our future efforts to create a safe environment are anything like the ones in the past, we’re on track to have our fans back cheering on the reigning NFC East champions.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].











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