Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam listens as he prepares to speak to a group of volunteers to distribute supplies at health equity community event Tuesday May 12, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam listens as he prepares to speak to a group of volunteers to distribute supplies at health equity community event Tuesday May 12, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he is issuing an emergency executive order to tighten COVID-19 restrictions in Hampton Roads due to the drastic increase in reported cases in the region. 

In a press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam said the area’s positivity rate was extremely high compared to other regions in the commonwealth. 

As of yesterday, test positivity rates in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk and Hampton had nearly doubled, rising from 9.9% to 18.6%. 

“We are concerned about Hampton Roads and the peninsula,” said Northam. “Case numbers are rising as well as hospitalizations, intensive care and emergency run businesses.” 

Northam also said there has been a significant increase of cases amongst people in their twenties and younger, especially in Hampton Roads. Health officials also reported seeing increased socialization with non household members, like birthday parties and backyard barbecues.

Starting on Friday at 12 a.m., these guidelines will go into effect for the eastern part of the state. 

  • No alcohol will be served or consumed on sight after 10 p.m. 
  • All restaurants must close by midnight
  • Indoor dining will be limited to 50% capacity, including food courts, wineries and distilleries
  • Public and private social gatherings with more than 50 individuals are prohibited, including indoor and outdoor parties

When asked how long the restrictions will stay in place, Northam stated that it depends on the data but will last for a minimum of two to three weeks. 

“This is about stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Hampton Roads,” said Northam. “It happens when too many people gather together and when too many people are non-compliant. I’ve said it before, but this happens when too many people are selfish.”