As Va. lifts indoor capacity limits, most COVID-19 restrictions in region are gone

Friday marked another major step toward pre-pandemic life as Virginia lifted all of its coronavirus restrictions including indoor capacity limits and social distancing requirements.

That means businesses will no longer have to count how many people are inside.

The policy change followed the decision by Gov. Ralph Northam two weeks ago to lift the state’s indoor mask mandate in alignment with CDC guidelines saying that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask.

Northam praised Virginians for their hard work during the pandemic and credited strong vaccination numbers and lowered case counts for the ability to move forward.

“That’s why we can safely move up the timeline for lifting mitigation measures in Virginia. I strongly urge any Virginian who is not yet vaccinated to do so, the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19,” Northam said.

According to the CDC guidance, those who are fully vaccinated “no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings, such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. A secondary statement by the Transportation Security Administration said travelers are still required to wear a mask at transportation hubs such as airports and bus stations.

Most counties in Maryland have already been fully reopened as Gov. Larry Hogan previously lifted all pandemic restrictions statewide, however Prince George’s and Montgomery counties have been moving more slowly.

Friday also marked a big change for those counties.

Montgomery County decided to lift all of its restrictions as of 6 a.m.

Prince George’s County, which had already lifted most restrictions, is lifting its indoor mask mandate as of 5 p.m. Friday. County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said masks would still be required in schools, child-care facilities and on public transit.

Most restrictions in D.C. have already been eliminated, but bars and nightclubs will still need to operate under a 50% capacity limit until June 11.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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