President BidenJoe BidenPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks State school board leaves national association saying they called parents domestic terrorists Sunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases MORE on Friday visited a rock climbing center in Alexandria, Va., to celebrate the state's lifting of coronavirus restrictions and mark the progress the country as a whole has made in fighting the pandemic.
"Fans are headed back to the minor league ballparks, pools and parks are opening up across the state," Biden said in remarks at Sportrock Climbing Centers. "Families are heading down to spend Memorial Day Weekend in Virginia Beach, and all over the country we’ve gone from pain and stagnation of a long dark winter to an economy on the move growing faster than it has in nearly 40 years."
Biden observed climbers scaling rock walls and chatted with some of the spotters on the ground before delivering remarks alongside Gov. Ralph Northam (D).
Effective Friday, Virginia lifted all capacity limits and social distancing requirements for the state's businesses, restaurants, event spaces and other venues. It marks the first time since March 2020 when the commonwealth has not had some type of restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
"We are closer to a more normal life than we have been in the past 14 months," Northam said before Biden spoke.
Virginia on Friday became the latest state to lift coronavirus restrictions as cases dip dramatically from January peaks. Biden noted the state recorded roughly 43,000 coronavirus cases the week before he took office, compared to just under 3,000 last week.
The president has issued a goal for 70 percent of adults to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the Fourth of July. The White House announced earlier this week that half of all American adults are fully vaccinated against the virus. More than 60 percent have received at least one shot.
Biden praised the American people for doing their part to get vaccinated and urged them to help reach those who may be vaccine hesitant or difficult to reach.
He pointed to the rapid distribution and administration of vaccines as "the first real evidence ... that the American people are more ready to come together, I believe, than the Congress and the elected officials are. But we're getting there."