Virginia to expand capacity in sports, entertainment venues starting May 15

Virginia is expanding capacity at sports and entertainment venues and increasing the limit on social gatherings next month.

With more than half of all adults having received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and vaccinations expected to rise now that those 16 and older are eligible for a shot, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that starting May 15 at midnight, some pandemic-related restrictions can be relaxed.

  • Social gatherings can increase to 100 people indoors and 250 outdoors.
  • Indoor entertainment and amusement venues may operate at 50% capacity or 1,000 people — up from the current 30% capacity or 500 people.
  • Outdoor entertainment and amusement venues may operate at 50% capacity with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
  • The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events can increase to 250 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less. While outdoors, the number of people can increase to 1,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less.
  • Restaurants may resume selling alcohol after midnight, and dining rooms no longer have to be closed between midnight and 5 a.m.

The order also rolls back restrictions on bar seating or “congregating areas” of restaurants, which had been closed since the start at the pandemic. Under the new order, bar seating can be used if there is six feet between patrons.

“I’m optimistic that we will be able to take more steps in June. We are working to significantly ramp up vaccinations even further and aim to reduce capacity limits in June, hopefully all the way,” Northam said in a statement.

However, he said that several measures need to continue, including the wearing of masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated.

The latest order follows increased accommodations Northam allowed earlier this week for school sports and performances.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She has a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and a master’s degree in English Literature from The George Washington University.

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