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Charlottesville, Albemarle County approve stricter virus regulations

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Charlottesville, Albemarle County approve stricter virus regulations

DAILY PROGRESS FILE University of Virginia students congregate at the Boylan Heights restaurant on the Corner in mid-July. Charlottesville and Albemarle County have approved stricter restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The ordinances make masks mandatory in public, limit restaurants to 50% occupancy indoors and restrict certain public and private in-person gatherings to a maximum of 50 people.

The new regulations take effect at 12 a.m. Saturday for a 60-day period. Officials would have to hold a public hearing and another vote to extend the measures.

“We are walking a bit of a tightrope here to make sure we’re taking enough action without taking too much action,” Supervisor Donna Price said. “If we don’t take enough action, we run the risk of our residents getting infected. … If we do too much, we have to worry about the economic impact.”

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The push to return to stricter regulations comes as the localities are concerned about returning University of Virginia students and an increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

Through Monday, the Thomas Jefferson Health District reported 1,648 cases of the virus, with 133 hospitalizations and 30 deaths. Cases have increased nearly 78% since July 1, with 722 cases so far this month, compared with 926 between mid-March and the end of June.

A majority of the cases in the health district are in Charlottesville and Albemarle, which combine for 1,151 cases, 73 hospitalizations and 18 deaths.Under the county’s ordinance, indoor occupancy at food establishments, farm wineries, limited breweries and limited distilleries is capped at 50% of the lowest occupancy load. For businesses without an occupancy count, capacity is capped at 50 people. Workers do not […]

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