Governor orders Virginians to stay home amid COVID-19 outbreak

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: March 30, 2020 | 3:30 p.m.

1,000-plus cases of COVID-19 reported in Virginia, 25 deaths

VIRGINIA – As the number of cases of coronavirus surpassed 1,000 in the Commonwealth Monday, Governor Ralph Northam announced further restrictions on the movement of Virginians, directing them to stay at home except for “extremely limited circumstances” for at least the next two and a half months.

During his first COVID-19 briefing of the week, Northam detailed his latest executive order, which directs Virginians to remain at home through June 10, unless amended or rescinded by his administration. In this order, individuals can leave their homes only to “seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions,” and others laid out in his previous order last week.

Monday’s executive order directs all of the state’s colleges and universities to stop in-person classes, orders campgrounds to close for short-term stays and the Commonwealth’s beaches will be closed through June “except for fishing and exercise.”

Even though Virginians have been ordered to stay at home, people can leave their homes to do outdoor activities and exercise while adhering to “strict social distancing requirements,” namely maintaining at least six feet of distance between one another.

“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” Governor Northam said Monday. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

These actions are the latest in a series of measures taken by Northam and state health officials to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state. During a similar briefing last week, the governor ordered that all of the state’s schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year while directing most nonessential businesses, such as movie theatres, gyms, and other recreational facilities, and those who can’t carry out social distancing guidelines when performing services, such as barbershops and salons, to close their doors temporarily.

Under this latest executive order, Virginians can still go to stores to purchase food and supplies, along with several select businesses deemed essential by the state, including gas stations, pharmacies, and electronic and office supply stores, with the latter businesses having seen a significant uptick in demand as more people are being required to work from home.

Essential Businesses Include:

  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
  • Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
  • Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
  • Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
  • Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
  • Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
  • Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
  • Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
  • Retail located within healthcare facilities;
  • Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
  • Pet stores and feed stores;
  • Printing and office supply stores; and
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners.

In addition, restaurants can continue to serve customers through carryout, drive-through, or delivery services as dining rooms have been directed to be closed.

As in past orders, “the provision of health care and medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks, the operations of the media, law enforcement agencies, or the operation of government,” are listed as not being affected by Northam’s actions.

“Essential services, like grocery stores, health services, and businesses in our supply chain will remain open but, they must adhere to social distancing and increasing sanitizing procedures and gatherings of more than ten [people] are banned,” Northam said during last week’s press conference.

Other approved circumstances for travel include driving to and from work or a place of worship, volunteering with organizations that provide “charitable and social services,” court-ordered custody, visitation, or child care, or seeking government services, social services, medical attention, or aid from law enforcement and emergency services.

COVID-19 has transformed life for Virginians and those far and beyond the borders of the Commonwealth with similar restrictions being put in place in states across the United States as the number of positive cases of the respiratory disease increases.

In Monday’s update from the Virginia Department of Health, over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, with over 20 people dying from the virus. In total, over 12,000 people have been tested for COVID-19.

In the Crater Health District, comprised of the Tri-Cities, Emporia, Prince George, Dinwiddie, Sussex, and Surry Counties, just over a dozen cases have been reported – 5 in Prince George, 3 each in Greensville and Hopewell, and 2 in Petersburg, as of Monday, per the VDH’s online database.

Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
Send Us Your News Tips 

Leave a Reply