Virginia lifted all social distancing and capacity restrictions Friday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, though a mask mandate will remain for certain situations.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order went into effect at 12:01 a.m., two weeks earlier than he initially planned, Richmond’s local ABC News affiliate WRIC-TV reported.

“Common-sense public health restrictions have kept many Virginians safe during the last year, and with vaccines now widely available — over three million Virginians are fully vaccinated and safe from serious illness or death caused by COVID-19 — it is time to begin a new normal,” Northam wrote in his updated order.

Fully vaccinated Virginians can go without a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings, while unvaccinated residents are encouraged to wear a face covering in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

However, face coverings are required for people using public transportation, health care facilities, K-12 schools and in businesses that mandate them, the affiliate reported.

State analysts say new COVID-19 cases are at their lowest rate since last summer, WRIC reported.

As of Friday, the state has administered roughly 85% of its 9 million available coronavirus vaccine doses, according a health department tracker.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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