Crowd size restrictions will be relaxed in part

February 26, 2021

As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and infection rates decline, Gov. Ralph Northam has announced new state guidelines on the size of public gatherings.

In a Wednesday press release, Northam said effective March 1, social gatherings can increase from 10 to 25 people in outdoor settings, while staying at 10 for indoor events.

Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 people or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. Indoor facilities must stay at a 250-person cap.

Onsite sale and consumption of alcohol will be permitted until midnight; the current cutoff is 10 p.m. Restaurants and other dining establishments, bars and similar facilities still must be closed from midnight to 5 a.m.

The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month. Restrictions may be eased further “if key health metrics continue to improve,” according to the release.

Current guidelines for retail stores, fitness facilities, large amusement venues and personal grooming services will remain in place.