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Gov. Northam gives police the authority to enforce 10-person limit on gatherings

Virginia now has 67 cases of COVID-19

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam and State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver issued a public health emergency order banning more than 10 patrons in restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters on Tuesday.

This order gives local and state law enforcement the ability to enforce this ban, which was announced by Northam earlier today.

“I hope that everyone will have the common sense to stay home tonight and in the days ahead,” said Governor Northam. “This order will ensure that state and local officials have the tools they need to keep people safe.

Below is the full text of the order:


During Tuesday morning’s coronavirus update, Gov. Ralph Northam announced new protocols going into effect to help curb the spread of the virus.

[Where are Virginia’s coronavirus cases? The latest from the health department]

As part of Northam’s update, he announced eight changes:

  1. Public gatherings should not be greater than 10 people
  2. Those 65 and older with chronic health conditions should self-quarantine
  3. All restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters are mandated to significantly reduce their capacity to 10 patrons, or close. Restaurants are encouraged to continue carry-out and takeaway options.
  4. Actions to support affected workers:
    1. Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period
    2. Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19.
    3. For those receiving unemployment insurance, Governor Northam is directing the Virginia Employment Commission to give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.
  5. Support for affected employers
    1. Regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Those employers will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
    2. Northam is authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs.
  6. Virginia’s 75 DMV offices will close to the public
    1. Online services will remain available, which includes both renewing a license or vehicle registration
    2. For those who cannot renew online, or whose license or registration expires before May 15, DMV will grant a 60-day extension
  7. Court closures across Virginia
    1. Until Monday, April 6, non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings in all district and circuit courts are suspended absent a specific exemption.
  8. Utilities suspending service disconnections
    1. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued an order directing utilities in Virginia to suspend service disconnections for 60 days to provide immediate relief for any customer, residential and business, who may be financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Tuesday, Virginia has 67 cases of COVID-19 and has had 1,028 people tested.

[Interactive map from Johns Hopkins shows how coronavirus is spreading in real-time]


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