RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY / WFXR) – Gov. Northam didn’t announce extra coronavirus restrictions for Virginia in a press conference on Wednesday, saying controlling the virus is in the hands of Virginians, but he did reemphasize new restrictions that started on Sunday.
He says he hopes those restrictions will be enough at the moment to help curb the spread of the virus, but stressed that all options are on the table as he and his team continue to watch the data.
The most recent restrictions include:
- 25 people or fewer gatherings “emphasis on fewer”
- masks required for Virginians 5 and older in public spaces
- limits on capacity at sporting venues
- alcohol sales cut off at 10 p.m.
Instead, Northam again asked Virginians to follow coronavirus safety guidelines (avoid crowds, wear a mask, wash hands, etc.) to help curb the rising numbers statewide.
Virginia is still seeing record levels of new cases, and hospitalizations are nearing record levels. However Northam pointed to New York Times data that shows Virginia is doing relatively well compared to nearly every other state in the country in cases per capita. It’s fourth from the bottom in that metric.
Northam says he’s encouraged by the news of two promising COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon. Pfizer announced on Wednesday its vaccine is roughly 95% effective and it will ask for emergency use authorization in the coming days. Moderna also recently announced its vaccine is just as effective.
“Light is a few months away still,” Northam said about the vaccines.
Virginia Health Commissioner Norm Oliver says the commonwealth is prepared to distribute those vaccines, noting the Moderna vaccine will be easier to handle because it doesn’t need the extremely cold temperatures needed for the Pfizer one.
With the holidays coming up, Northam has urged Virginians to avoid having in-person Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings outside of your immediate household. He again pushed that message on Wednesday, saying “this year, staying home is an act of love.”
If you do gather with others, Northam encourages eating outdoors to avoid spreading the virus.
Watch the full news conference below: