(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) The Alexandria City Council will consider adjusting the city’s face mask ordinance to evolve with Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order, which is continually being amended to loosen statewide coronavirus restrictions.
The ordinance states that all city residents under the age of five years old are required to wear face masks except while exercising, eating and drinking or if they have a verified health condition. The ordinance was approved last September and expires this September.
The amendment under consideration for Tuesday night means that the governor’s eventual lifting of a mask mandate will subsequently result in the city taking the same immediate action.
ALXnow first reported the city’s intention to amend the mask ordinance after the CDC issued its guidance last month that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues.
Northam also recently announced that, should COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, he would lift the following restrictions on May 15,
- Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor settings and 250 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
- Entertainment venues: Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people, up from 30 percent capacity or 500 people. Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity–up from 30 percent–with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
- Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase from 100 to 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less.
- Alcohol sales: Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
There have been 134 COVID-19 deaths and 11,754 cases in Alexandria, according to the Virginia Department of Health. More than half of the city’s residents have gotten one shot of the vaccine (73,709 residents) and about 38% of city residents have been fully vaccinated (51,161 residents).