Virginia Joins Neighbors as Stay-at-Home State
On Monday Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 55, joining neighboring Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia, in restricting movement of citizens in order to battle the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping across America. It orders that “all individuals in Virginia shall remain at their place of residence, except as provided below by this Order and Executive Order 53,” among other means to try and contain the virus.
Here is Governor Northam’s order that went into affect on Monday, March 30, and will extend until June 10, 2020.
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued a statewide Stay at Home order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The executive order takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.
The order directs all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.
The executive order also directs all Virginia institutions of higher education to stop in-person classes and instruction. Private campgrounds must close for short-term stays, and beaches will be closed statewide except for fishing and exercise.
“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” said Governor Northam. “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.”
The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Five can be found here.
Last week, Governor Northam issued Executive Order Fifty-Three closing certain non-essential businesses, prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people, and directing all K-12 schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year. A Frequently Asked Questions guide about Executive Order Fifty-Three can be found here.
TEMPORARY STAY AT HOME ORDER DUE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)To reinforce the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19 and in furtherance of Executive Orders 51 (March 12, 2020) and 53 (March 23, 2020) and by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia, by § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia, I order the following:1. All individuals in Virginia shall remain at their place of residence, except as provided below by this Order and Executive Order 53. To the extent individuals use shared or outdoor spaces, whether on land or on water, they must at all times maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person, with the exception of family or household members or caretakers. Individuals may leave their residences for the purpose of:a. Obtaining food, beverages, goods, or services as permitted in Executive Order 53;
b. Seeking medical attention, essential social services, governmental services, assistance from law enforcement, or emergency services;
c. Taking care of other individuals, animals, or visiting the home of a family member;
d. Traveling required by court order or to facilitate child custody, visitation, or child care;
e. Engaging in outdoor activity, including exercise, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements;
f. Traveling to and from one’s residence, place of worship, or work;
g. Traveling to and from an educational institution;
h. Volunteering with organizations that provide charitable or social services; and
i. Leaving one’s residence due to a reasonable fear for health or safety, at the direction of law enforcement, or at the direction of another government agency.2. All public and private in-person gatherings of more than ten individuals are prohibited. This includes parties, celebrations, religious, or other social events, whether they occur indoor or outdoor. This restriction does not apply:a. To the operation of businesses not required to close to the public under Executive Order 53; or
b. To the gathering of family members living in the same residence.3. Institutions of higher education shall cease all in-person classes and instruction, and cancel all gatherings of more than ten individuals. For purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, institutions of higher education may continue to operate, provided that social distancing requirements are maintained.4. Effective April 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., cessation of all reservations for overnight stays of less than 14 nights at all privately-owned campgrounds, as defined in § 35.1-1 of the Code of Virginia.5. Closure of all public beaches as defined in § 10.1-705 of the Code of Virginia for all activity, except exercising and fishing. Social distancing requirements must be followed.6. All relevant state agencies shall continue to work with all housing partners to execute strategies to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Virginians experiencing homelessness during this pandemic and to assist Virginians in avoiding evictions or foreclosures.7. As provided in Executive Order 53, nothing in this Order shall limit: (a) the provision of health care or medical services; (b) access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; (c) the operations of the media; (d) law enforcement agencies; or (e) the operation of government.Violation of paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this Order shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia.Effective Date of this Executive Order
This Executive Order shall be effective March 30, 2020, amends Amended Order of the Governor and State Health Commissioner Declaration of Public Health Emergency, Order of Public Health Emergency One and Executive Order 53, and shall remain in full force and in effect until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.