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Northam prohibits seating in bars as state enters Phase Three

Bar seating in restaurants remains prohibited in Virginia under a decision made by Gov. Ralph Northam just hours before the state was scheduled to begin moving into Phase Three of reopening at midnight on Tuesday. In addition, a statewide requirement to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces remains in place.

To reduce the likelihood of patrons gathering in bar areas without observing social distancing guidelines, bar seating and congregating areas of restaurants will remain closed except for those passing through, according to a release from the governor’s office. Restaurants may use non-bar seating in their bar areas, as long as a minimum of six feet between tables is provided.

Northam made the announcement regarding the bar seating on Tuesday afternoon in light of the rise in COVID-19 cases in other states that have allowed restaurants to reopen their bar seating areas.

“I am watching what is happening in other states,” said Northam. “If our public health metrics begi...

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