Virginia Lifting Mask Mandate

Virginia Lifting Mask Mandate

Melanie Wang

As of May 28th, Virginia has officially lifted its mask mandate to those who have been fully vaccinated in most cases. Currently across the country, 23 states have lifted the Covid-19 mask mandates and over time will continue to increase. 

According to Ralph Northam, on May 14th, Virginia’s universal mask mandate to stop the spread of COVID-19 was coming to an end.  “This is good news, and it’s thanks to Virginians who have done the right thing for so long,” Northam said during a news conference in Richmond. Effective 12am May 28th, the state will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to allow fully vaccinated individuals go mask free in most cases. The lifting of the mandate applies both to outdoor as well as indoor activities, with the exception of public transportation, airlines, and specific mandated areas. Although the Virginia mask mandate is lifted some retail stores and companies have continued to keep a mask requirement. On the other hand, stores such as Walmart and Costco Wholesale have dropped mask requirements for fully vaccinated people.

Ralph Northam believes the lifting of the mask mandate was made possible because of the increasing vaccine rates in Virginia and the dramatic decline in rates of Covid-19 cases. The state’s Covid-19 rates have decreased with 3.5% of people testing positive for the virus, compared to a year ago, this is the lowest Virginia has been since the pandemic hit. Northam urges unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated to help protect communities and others from the virus. He quotes “Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts.” 

Overall, Virginia has given about 7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 4 million individuals have received the first dose as of May 28th. About 64% of Virginia state’s adult population has been vaccinated which is why Northam remains confident about meeting the President’s goal of having 70 percent adults vaccinated by this July.