Severity: Warning Alert      

Transportation: Officials in Virginia, US, to increase restrictions in the Hampton Roads region starting July 31, due to elevated COVID-19 activity.

  • Alert Begins: 29 Jul 2020 12:51 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 13 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Virginia (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business disruptions ongoing

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued orders to impose additional restrictions in the Hampton Roads region, starting July 31, due to an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in the area. The rest of the state will remain under ongoing restrictions, part of Phase 3 of Virginia's economic recovery plan. The use of face coverings in public is required statewide.

Starting July 31, in the cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Williamsburg, Newport News, and Poquoson, and James City County and York County, authorities will ban gatherings of more than 50 people, and restaurants and other food establishments must limit indoor dining to a maximum of 50 percent capacity. Additionally, all restaurants, food courts, breweries, wineries, and other similar establishments must end the sale of alcohol nightly after 2200 and must close by midnight.

The rest of Virginia remains on Phase 3, under which gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed. Due to the easing of restrictions, the following businesses can operate:


  • Restaurants and food establishments without capacity limits; however, bar-areas must remain closed, and social distancing measures must remain in place.


  • Retail stores without capacity limits.


  • Gyms and fitness centers at 75 percent capacity.


  • Personal care businesses without capacity limits, but maintaining social distancing measures.


  • Racetracks and speedways with up to 50 percent capacity, or 1,000 spectators.


  • Entertainment venues, including movie theaters, museums, sports and music venues, amusement parks, zoos, and private clubs, can operate at 50 percent capacity or a maximum of 1,000 people.


  • Beaches and state parks can remain open, but overnight summer camps must remain closed.


Authorities continue to encourage employees to work from home whenever possible. Establishments allowed to open must adhere to directives requiring them to enhance sanitation procedures, comply with social distancing guidelines, and require sick employees to stay at home, among other measures. Essential businesses continue to operate, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and companies in media, transport, security, and critical manufacturing sectors.

Some business disruptions remain likely. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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