Virginia joined a growing number of states around the nation on Monday, with Gov. Ralph Northam declaring a Stay at Home order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic in the commonwealth.
The executive order took place immediately and remains in effect until June 10, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.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 53, 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 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.”
A week earlier, Northam had issued Executive Order 53, 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.
Last Wednesday, Northam and State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver directed all Virginia hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures to help conserve supplies of personal protective equipment.
On Friday, Northam encouraged Virginians to complete the 2020 Census online as the country works to stop the spread of the virus. “Though many Virginians are focused on COVID-19, it is still crucial that everyone takes time to complete the 2020 Census, which can be done quickly and easily online,” he said.
“Counting every person in the commonwealth will ensure that we receive our portion of the more than $675 billion in federal funding that will be allocated to states for important programs, from Medicaid to school breakfasts,” he continued.
The form can be filled out online at https://my2020census.gov.