State officials are taking additional steps to combat a surge of COVID-19 in Hampton Roads.
18.6%. That’s the positivity rate some areas in Hampton Roads recorded over the weekend.
It’s a statistic Governor Ralph Northam cited Tuesday as the reason why he has issued an executive and public health order for the region set to go into effect on Friday.
“First, no alcohol will be sold or consumed on site after 10pm, and all restaurants must close by midnight," he said. "Second, indoor dining will be limited to 50% capacity. Third, public and private social gatherings of more than 50 individuals are prohibited.”
Northam said other areas of the state are either holding steady or have seen recent, smaller increases in new virus cases. He indicated that similar restrictions could be established in other parts of the Commonwealth should COVID-19 reemerge.
The governor’s announcement came after he and other top state health officials met with Dr. Deborah Birx – a White House expert working to guide the nation’s coronavirus response.
She said states like Arizona and Texas have been successful in reining in the virus by closing bars that could not maintain proper social distancing guidelines.
Governor Northam has also announced that local governments across the Commonwealth will soon get more funding to fight COVID-19.
“This week we will begin the process of distributing the second half of federal CARES Act money to Virginia localities – almost $645 million,” he said during the Tuesday press conference.
The CARES Act requires states to give 15% of the funding to local governments. Northam said Virginia has gone above and beyond that – allocating nearly half of the money to localities.