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Navigating New Public Health Guidelines in Virginia

Virginia's mask mandate has been lifted, and it's not clear yet how local businesses and nonprofits should adapt our practices. Should we still require masks? What's the etiquette for asking someone if they are vaccinated?

We invited our business community to share their thoughts in a Zoom conversation on May 19, 2021, and this is some of what we heard.

Signage and Visitor Policies

Participants said signage templates would be helpful. Click the images below for printable PDFs.

Folks were curious what signage and policies are in use at local businesses. Below are a few snapshots from local storefronts. We've also seen some businesses that no longer have any COVID signage posted.

Need a written visitor policy? Here are recent policy statements from Second Street Gallery and Common House.


Attendees expressed concerns about

  • Ongoing risk for unvaccinated children and adults
  • Variant strains developing as travelers from less-vaccinated areas visit
  • People choosing not to take precautions when they should - not following the "honor system"
  • Children feeling frustrated by the need to wear masks if they see many adults going maskless
  • Potential conflict when people are faced with inconsistent standards and expectations

As we move away from statewide mandates, individuals will again be expected to manage their own risk. Participants agreed on an important message to the public:

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated is still at risk from COVID-19. Wearing a mask is the best way for these individuals to stay safe.

Ongoing Precautions

Most of the participants in this conversation still plan to take precautions for COVID safety within their workplaces and activities. Plans included:

  • Providing virtual meetings as an ongoing option
  • Refraining from serving food at in-person meetings
  • Meeting outdoors or virtually for events that include unvaccinated attendees
  • Requiring masks for all visitors and staff
  • Asking all visitors to wear a mask
  • Requiring unvaccinated visitors to wear a mask (honor system)
  • Continuing to use a COVID checklist and temperature checks for visitors and staff
  • Some organizations are considering hosting in-person gatherings for fully vaccinated participants only
Proj R mask mtg

Project Rebound engages business leaders to share insights, identify challenges, and build actionable strategies to restore the local economy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Project Rebound is led by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce with support from the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the University of Virginia, and many other local partners. Get email updates: click here to sign up