Virginia expands vaccine eligibility, Democrats back censure of Chase, new giraffe calf at the Virginia Zoo, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Gov. Ralph Northam said that under new vaccination guidelines anyone 65 or older is now eligible to receive a shot, expanding the current phase of the state’s inoculation plan to about half of the population.—Associated Press

• “More than 70% of Virginians say they’re likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a 13-point jump from the number who said the same in September, according to a statewide poll from Virginia Commonwealth University.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• At least 10 Democrats in the state Senate are backing a censure resolution against Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, citing her speech in Washington before the Jan. 6 riot and her subsequent praise of the group that stormed the U.S. Capitol. The “inflammatory statements and actions of Senator Amanda F. Chase before, during, and after the events that led to the insurrection . . . constitute a failure to uphold her oath of office and conduct unbecoming of a Senator,” the resolution reads.—Washington Post

• Windows of the Virginia State Capitol are boarded with plywood and National Guard soldiers are on standby as law enforcement prepares for possible unrest ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “The district director for newly elected Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) was in the crowd outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after the building was invaded but did not join those who pushed their way inside.”—Washington Post

• Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, apologized to the owner of a local barbecue restaurant he had criticized on Twitter for attending Trump’s “Stop the Steal” on the National Mall. “It’s clear now while the owner was in D.C., that we do need to make a distinction between those there at the National Mall and those who went to the Capitol later.”—Roanoke Times

• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign.—Axios

• “Last week, more than 28,000 Virginians filed initial unemployment claims — a 44.5% jump from the previous week. This is the greatest number of initial claims reported since July 2020.”—Virginia Business

• Virginia health officials corrected a webpage that told Spanish speakers the COVID-19 vaccine is unnecessary. But advocacy groups are alarmed that the state has been relying on the notoriously unreliable Google Translate to provide essential public health information.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “Members of Virginia’s House of Delegates may be meeting remotely, but they’ll still collect $211 daily payments during their virtual 2021 session to supplement their salaries.”—VPM

• The Virginia Zoo welcomes its newest giraffe calf, born Monday measuring 148 pounds and 6 feet, 1 inch tall.—Virginian-Pilot

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