RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is joining the rest of the state in Phase 3 of coronavirus restrictions after Gov. Ralph Northam said improved data allow for more severe restrictions to be relaxed.

Northam issued an executive order Thursday placing the region in Phase 3, effective immediately.

The rest of the state has been ion Phase 3 since late June. Initially, Hampton Roads was in Phase 3 as well, but Northam re-imposed additional restrictions in late July on the region after a spike in coronavirus cases and concerns that tourist areas around Virginia Beach were doing a poor job of maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.

Northam said Thursday that the region's positivity rate for coronavirus tests has been declining and now stands at 6.7 percent, less than the statewide average.

The move back into Phase 3 ends restrictions that had been in place barring gatherings of more than 50 people and ending alcohol sales in restaurants at 10 p.m., among other things.