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Much of Hampton Roads falls into 'high' transmission zone for COVID-19; will businesses change their mask requirements?

Governor Ralph Northam tweeted "All Virginians should consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings where there is an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission."

NORFOLK, Va. — On Thursday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam tweeted “All Virginians should consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings where there is an increased risk of COVID-19.”

A few hours later, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper echoed that sentiment on his own social media.

So, what does that mean for mask policies at restaurants and businesses in Norfolk? Will they change?

Here in Hampton Roads, almost every city is considered to be an area of "high" transmission. Norfolk and Hampton aren't there yet, but they're close, in the "substantial" category.

Based on new guidance from the CDC, most of our area should start wearing masks indoors again.

"We just require anyone that is not vaccinated, which of course includes anyone who is ineligible for the vaccine, to still wear a mask," says Laurelyn Flowers with the Catnip Cat Café.

She says they’re watching the latest COVID-19 updates closely.

"Staff, if they are vaccinated, it is up to them whether or not they do still wear a mask. So, some of us choose to and some of us don’t."

Down the road on Granby Street at the Brick Anchor Brew House, Brianna West says that for now, their policies are staying the same.

"For staff, if you’re not vaccinated, you have to wear a mask, as it should be for the CDC guidelines. Guest-wise, we encourage everyone who is not vaccinated to still wear a mask."

But just like at the cat café, they’re keeping an eye on the latest data and recommendations.

"We’re still paying attention and obviously the Delta strain is very new," she says. "We’re paying attention to it, we’re watching what is coming out, new guidelines, what is being said with the Governor."

Right now, the CDC recommends people in “high” transmission areas should wear masks inside public places, regardless of their vaccination status.

VDH Chief Deputy Commissioner Dr. Parham Jaberi says now that Norfolk is sitting at a “substantial” level, something may have to change.

"Unfortunately, with the rise in cases, we may have to second look into what is safe and what is not in the coming weeks and coming months."

North Carolina’s mask mandate is set to expire on July 30 and right now both governors say wearing a mask indoors is a strong recommendation, but not a requirement.

They are continuing to urge people to get vaccinated.

City leaders across Hampton Roads say as of now, COVID-19 vaccine clinics are here to stay.

Officials running the Military Circle Mall COVID-19 vaccine clinic say they are reducing the hours at the site in August.

It will open every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. People can also get a COVID-19 vaccine on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.