Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that Virginians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 would not have to wear masks outdoors when alone or in small gatherings with other fully vaccinated individuals. Northam amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to align Virginia’s policies with new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Masks must still be worn indoors and outdoors during crowded events such as sporting events, concerts and graduation ceremonies. An individual is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the last required dose of their given vaccine.
“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 press 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 revised mask mandate follows announcements on Apr. 23 that Northam was expanding social gathering limits for outdoor and indoor recreational events. Northam announced Thursday that outdoor recreational sporting events could allow up to 1,000 spectators, effective immediately. All other social gathering expansions will go into effect on May 15 as previously announced.
As of Friday, more than 2.5 million Virginians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 -- roughly 39% of the state’s population. Vaccines are currently available to all Virginians age 16 and older. To schedule an appointment, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA.