Several new covid restrictions went into place on Monday, December 14th including a stricter mask mandate, a midnight curfew, and a limit on public gatherings.

The new restrictions are a response to the record number of positive cases in Northern Virginia over the last few weeks. Currently, Virginia is averaging four thousand new cases per day. The last time the state saw case numbers this high was in May, when the daily average was around 1,200.

It is now required that individuals wear masks in all outdoor areas where social distancing isn’t possible as well as outdoor areas where social distancing isn’t possible, as well as in all indoor areas. Personal homes are an exception.

Public gatherings of 25 or fewer people are no longer permitted. The government now mandates that only gatherings of ten or fewer people are permitted.

The restrictions came in the form of an executive order from Governor Northam who is calling it a ‘modified stay at home order’. Citizens are asked to remain inside of their homes from the hours of twelve a.m. to five a.m., unless necessary.

The new covid numbers have also impacted the Fairfax County Public School district return to in-person instruction plan. Group three, which is comprised of students who TK, has returned to virtual instruction, the district’s first move backward.

The district has been pressured to return to in-person instruction quickly by parent groups like Open FCPS Coalition, and that pressure has only intensified with the release of a report that shows increased student failures since the transition to virtual learning.

A glimmer of hope for the community comes in the form of the Pfizer vaccine which was shipped to INOVA on Monday.

According to The Virginia Health Commissioner, Norman Oliver, “The vaccine will be provided to Virginians in a way that is fair, ethical, and transparent. We will focus initially on the groups that have been most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infections and those whose work puts them at the greatest risk of contracting COVID- 19 infections.”

After tier 1A has been vaccinated, essential workers like school teachers, police and firemen, as well as high-risk individuals will be next in line.

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