Northam updates mask mandate to align with new CDC guidance


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam listens as he prepares to speak to a group of volunteers in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced changes to Virginia’s face mask mandate on Thursday after the Centers for Disease Control eased its guidelines on masks earlier this week.

Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer have to wear masks outdoors when alone or in small gatherings. However, masks will still be required indoors and outdoors at large crowded events, such as concerts, sporting events, and graduation ceremonies.

“The CDC’s recommendations underscore what we have said all along—vaccinations are the way we will put this pandemic behind us and get back to normal life,” Northam said in a release. “Our increasing vaccination rate and decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases has made it possible to ease mitigation measures in a thoughtful and measured manner. I encourage all Virginians who have not yet received the vaccine to make an appointment today.”

The governor also revised a previous executive order to allow up to 1,000 spectators at outdoor sporting events effective immediately. Northam says this change was scheduled to go into effect on May 15 anyway.

Last week, Northam announced an easing of certain coronavirus-related restrictions, including increased capacity and social distancing limits.

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