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COVID-19 safety guidance for heading to polls during 2021 primary election

As more voters hit the polls for the primary on June 8, city officials in Hampton Roads are explaining the latest COVID-19 safety guidelines.

NORFOLK, Va. — Hampton Roads city officials are gearing up for voters to turn out to the polling locations during the June 8 primary election

They're taking precautions after the easing of pandemic restrictions set in place last year.

Donna Patterson, from Virginia Beach's General Registrar, said election teams have a lot of ground to cover. She said the pandemic created obstacles for the general election last year.

"Last year was challenging, but I'd say our employees, staff and voters adjusted very well," Patterson explained.

Virginia Beach currently has about 100 voting locations for early voting and Primary Day voting. 

This year, with COVID-19 restrictions slowly easing in Virginia, the process should be easier - depending on if you go to a school, a library or another facility to cast your vote. 

"In schools, masks are still required and most other facilities, you can follow the new guidelines given to other buildings, but bottom line it's based on what the facility says," Patterson said.

The same goes for the City of Chesapeake. 

Mary Lynn Pinkerman from General Registrar said Chesapeake's polling locations will also vary on mask mandates.

"Some of the things, we left in place like the social distancing... and asking that folks wear masks once they do go inside," Pinkerman said.

She told 13News Now her department wasn't seeing a large turnout of early voters, but hoped more people would head to the polls on Tuesday. 

She said they were trusting voters to wear their masks if they were not fully vaccinated.

"I think it just makes more people comfortable if they wear the [masks] inside, because a lot of our locations are schools and libraries where there are children and a lot of at-risk folks," she said.

Pinkerman said there are a few location changes for the City of Chespeake:

  • Voters in the JOLLIFF Precinct (0019) will vote at Alexander Baptist Church 4316 Pamela Court, Chesapeake on June 8. 
  • Voters in the PARKWAYS Precinct (0042) will vote at Greenbrier Middle School 1016 Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake on June 8.
  • Voters in the SHIPYARD ROAD Precinct (0052) will vote at New Light Church 2418 Cedar Road, Chesapeake on June 8.  

Early voting in Virginia ends Saturday, June 5.