Northam raises limits on attendance at school performances

School play attendance is about to get bigger: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is increasing the pandemic-era attendance limits for performance events like musicals and concerts following criticism from parents and students.

At a news conference Monday, Northam said the spectator cap for school performances, including musicals, is increasing to a maximum of 100 attendees for indoor venues — a substantial boost from the previous limit of 50. Outdoor venues will be allowed to welcome up to 500 people.

“I’ve heard a lot of feedback from parents and students that these events should be treated the same as athletic events, and I agree,” Northam said. “We’re on the right track, we just need to keep being careful and vigilant.”

Northam also is raising the limit on the number of cross-country runners who can line up at a starting line to 68, up from 50.

Northam expects to release more details on the caps in the coming days.

The governor spoke in Tysons ahead of Tuesday’s opening of a mass vaccination center inside the old Lord & Taylor store in Tysons Corner Center.

Parent groups and local officials had been pressuring the Democratic governor to bring limits on school performances more in line with sporting events.

Last week, Loudoun County School Board members joined interim superintendent Scott Ziegler in decrying an executive order preserving tighter attendance restrictions on school performances than sporting events or independent entertainment venues.

Virginia’s seven-day testing positivity rate has fallen to just above 6%, after surging to around 17% during the winter holidays. As of Tuesday, about 42% of the state’s total population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

WTOP’s Kyle Cooper contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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