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Albemarle supervisors extend restrictions thru mid-January

Updated Albemarle County COVID-19 restrictions will now be in place until Jan.16.

On Wednesday night, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors adopted an emergency ordinance that is similar to what Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week, which limits public and private gatherings to no more than 25 people, stops alcohol sales at 10 p.m., and expands mask requirements to include those ages 5 and up.

“The executive orders that the governor issued made some changes to how the state is regulating them, and warranted us to look at our ordinances and come back to the board,” County Attorney Greg Kamptner said.

The updated ordinance still limits restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries to 50% occupancy indoors, but now also includes the same limits on gatherings as the state ordinance for entertainment and amusement businesses, recreational sports and religious services

“Their inclusion in the proposed ordinance provides clarity for county staff and ambassadors in their administration of the limitations and clear authority for local enforcement if enforcement becomes necessary,” a copy of the county ordinance says.

During a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Northam said he “strongly [discourages] Virginians from having social events” with 25 people, especially indoors.

Albemarle has been limiting the size of gatherings since July, and extended those restrictions in September.

“The very fact that we had already reduced the maximum size of gatherings from 250 to 50 is one of the reasons, in my opinion, that we’re in the good shape we’re in,” Supervisor Diantha McKeel said.

Locally, Ryan McKay, senior policy analyst for the Thomas Jefferson Health District, told the board on Wednesday that in late September and October there was a surge in cases, but that has dropped.

“Today we reported 11 new cases in Albemarle County, our seven day moving average is about nine new cases per day and then the case incidence on the seven day average is at 7.9 and then over a 14 day total is 109.5,” he said.

The board will likely hold a public hearing on an adoption of this ordinance as a non-emergency ordinance on Dec. 16 or Jan. 6.


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