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Restaurant Workers, More of Phase 1B Can Now Get Vaccine in Richmond, Henrico

vaccine preparation
A healthcare worker prepares a shot of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Starting Monday, the Richmond City and Henrico health districts are expanding who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B. The phase began locally in January, but was restricted due to low vaccine supply.

Only people over 65 and some essential workers — school staff, first responders, and workers in corrections and homeless shelters — were eligible for the vaccine at first. Now, workers in any of the following categories can make an appointment in Richmond and Henrico.

  •  Police, Fire, and Hazmat 
  •  Corrections and homeless shelter workers 
  •  Childcare/K-12 Teachers/Staff 
  •  Food and Agriculture (including veterinarians)
  •  Manufacturing 
  •  Grocery store workers
  •  Public transit workers 
  •  Mail carriers (USPS and private) 
  •  Officials needed to maintain continuity of government
  • Clergy/Faith leaders
  • Janitorial/Cleaning staff


As part of Virginia’s Phase 1B, Richmond and Henrico residents aged 16 through 64 can also start getting vaccinated this week if they have preexisting conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

“Our communities have been eagerly anticipating this COVID-19 vaccine,” says Amy Popovich, nurse manager at Richmond and Henrico Health Districts in a press release. “This is momentous for us; we’re one step closer to having all of our communities vaccinated.”

Even though they’re not included in the state-wide planning for Phase 1B, Richmond and Henrico public health officials will also begin vaccinating restaurant workers locally on Monday. In an email, a spokesperson for RCHD said that’s because these workers “are at higher risk to COVID-19.”

“Restaurant workers — particularly those that work in small kitchens or back-of-house — often work within six feet of each other and are unable to maintain a safe distance away from customers who are maskless while eating or drinking,” said RCHD’s Cat Long. She added that many of these workers are often uninsured and don’t get paid time off, adding to the urgency to get them vaccinated.

Restaurant workers who already pre-registered for their vaccine under "Food Service'' will automatically be added to Phase 1B and do not need to take further action.

Vaccinations are still available for people eligible under Phase 1A, which includes frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

The Chickahominy health department, which includes Charles City, Goochland, Hanover, and New Kent, is also now vaccinating all people in Phases 1A and 1B. In Chesterfield, Phase 1B remains restricted to adults aged 65 and older and only some essential workers.

“In order to save as many lives as possible and stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to get vaccines into people’s arms as quickly and safely as possible” said Dr. Tom Franck, Chickahominy Health District Director, in a press release. “The increasing supply of vaccine and expansion of Phase 1B in our region is so encouraging because it means achieving these goals that much more quickly.” 

The authorization of the new single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has accelerated immunization timelines in Virginia — and nationwide. Virginia received 69,000 thousand doses of the new vaccine last week, 14,000 of which were sent to Central Virginia.

Anyone in Virginia interested in a COVID-19 vaccine should fill out the pre-registration form at vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).