Below is a list of a few of the bills that passed in the 2021 General Assembly Session that will become effective as of Thursday, July 1st. Many other bills passed that impact the retail industry but they either went into effect immediately or had a delayed effective date.

From the Office of the Governor: 

Commonwealth has administered nearly 7 million vaccines, 63 percent of Virginia adults have received at least one dose

Governor Ralph Northam today lifted Virginia’s universal indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Governor Northam also announced that Virginia will ease all distancing and capacity restrictions on Friday, May 28, two weeks earlier than planned. The updates to Virginia’s mask policy are reflected in amendments to Executive Order Seventy-Two and will become effective at midnight tonight along with previously announced changes to mitigation measures.

The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings. 
The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Governor Northam will take executive action to ensure individuals have the option to wear masks up to and after that date. Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.

  • Read the full press release here.
  • View the video message from Governor Northam here
  • The full text of Executive Order 72, which takes effect on May 15, can be found here
  • The full text of Executive Order 79, which takes effect on May 28, can be found here


During this time of transition, VRF would like to encourage all businesses to pro-actively communicate with both employees and the public via social media, signage, and other forms of communication regarding what their specific policy is on masks and whether they are required to enter their business. 







Sunday, July 18 - Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Hosted by the state retail associations of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

During a press conference held today, Governor Ralph Northam announced that he plans to lift COVID-19 mitigation measures on June 15, including capacity restrictions, provided COVID-19 cases and vaccination numbers continue their current trending patterns

View news coverage of the announcement:

Slight capacity increases had previously been announced in the seventh amended Executive Order 72 and are still slated to take effect on May 15. 

  • The full text of Seventh Amended Executive Order 72 and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here.

Pro-union advocates are pushing Senator Mark Warner to cosponsor the ‘worst bill in Congress’. It’s called the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) and contains dozens of extreme labor proposals that threaten businesses and diminish employees’ rights to privacy.

So far, Sen. Warner is one of only three Democrats who has chosen to listen to the small business community. He has NOT co-sponsored the PRO Act. However, labor unions are putting significant pressure on Sen. Warner to support this damaging legislation.

One of the worst aspects of this legislation is that it would eliminate Virginia’s Right-to-Work law. Virginia’s Right-to-Work (RTW) law was established on January 12, 1947, and is the 5th oldest RTW statute in the United States. It guarantees that no person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, nor to pay dues to a labor union. Virginia’s RTW also assures that no person or organization may use intimidation, use of force, the threat of use of force, reprisal or threat of reprisal, or interrupt the work of any employee.

Tell Sen. Warner today to stand with Virginia businesses and oppose the PRO Act.