Bar seating can reopen in Virginia restaurants, according to a revised executive order signed by Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday.
Restaurants must still maintain a 6-foot distance between parties at bars, but their bar seating areas have been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March. Restaurants were allowed to start opening in late May, initially only for outdoor seating and then with reduced capacity.
Neither Northam nor his office formally announced the change, contained in a revised executive order and effective immediately. The revision was first reported by the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.
The order maintains a ban on the sale or consumption of alcohol at restaurants and other venues between midnight and 5 a.m., and all such venues must close during those hours.
Northam's revised order also clarified some rules around running events and school activities.
Outdoor races, such as cross-country meets or marathons, can include up to 100 runners per grouping, Northam said.
School social activities and events not tied to instruction must comply with restrictions on social gatherings of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, Northam said. This includes PTA meetings, dances and fund-raising activities. Different guidelines have been announced for graduation ceremonies.
However, school performances such as concerts and plays are now allowed with 30% capacity indoors, up to 500 people, or 30% capacity outdoors, with no maximum. Previously, such performances had been subject to the restrictions on social gatherings.
The order also clarifies that current restrictions on social gatherings of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors does not apply to religious services provided that physical distancing and mask requirements are enforced, along with other guidelines.