Gov. Northam says business licenses could be on the line if social distancing, masks aren’t enforced

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam held his first press conference in more than two weeks on Tuesday.

Northam said that while the whole state is seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, he addressed a spike in case in the Hampton Roads area.

The governor cited people socializing without masks, either at parties or restaurants and bars. Because of this, Northam urged businesses to enforce a “no shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service” policy. Northam also said that for businesses that don’t enforce social distancing and masks, their licenses could be on the line.

As cases continue to rise, Northam said reopening guidelines could change. He said this could include ABC locations closing earlier, bars cutting off alcohol earlier and decreasing the allowable amount of people at events.

According to the governor, cases within the 20-29 age group have increased by 250%. Because of this, Northam says he has asked Hampton Roads health officials for advice on how to combat the rise within that age group and says he is currently reviewing the plans.

Norm Oliver, Virginia Department of Health Director, says he has sent a letter to local health directors telling them to enforce social distancing guidelines and mask requirements. Oliver says this enforcement is especially important for restaurants and bars.

As far as schools go, Northam said he would ideally like to see students back in the classroom fulltime, but that won’t happen if the state cannot stay in Phase 3. The governor advised school districts to be prepared to shift plans based on data in their localities.

You can watch the full press conference below:

About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.