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Virginia Governor Issues Stay-at-Home Order

Governor Ralph Northam, like his Maryland counterpart, today issued an Order that requires people in Virginia to remain at home.  And, to the extent that they use shared spaces, whether indoors or out, the Order requires people in Virginia to remain at least six feet apart, except for family members, household members, and caretakers.

There are some exceptions to the stay-at-home Order. People in Virginia may leave their home to:

  • Obtain food, beverages, goods or services as permitted in Gov. Northam’s March 23, 2020 Order, banning all gatherings of more than 10 people and mandating that certain non-essential businesses close;
  • Seek medical treatment, essential services, governmental services, assistance from law enforcement, or emergency services;
  • Take care of other individuals, animals, or visit a family member’s home;
  • Engage in outdoor activities, like exercising, while observing social distancing requirements;
  • Travel to and from their residence, place of worship, or work;
  • Travel to and from an educational institution;
  • Volunteer with organizations that provide charitable or social services; and
  • Leave their residence due to a reasonable fear for health or safety, when directed by law enforcement or another government agency.

Under the Order, except for (1) business operations that Executive Order 53 allows to remain open; and (2) gatherings of family members who live in the same residence, all public and private in-person gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. The ban includes parties, celebrations, religious, and other social events, whether indoors or outdoors.

The Order requires higher education institutions to cease all in-person instruction and cancel all gatherings of more than ten people. To facilitate remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, those institutions may continue to operate, if they follow social distancing requirements.

Effective on April 1, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., the Order prohibits reservations at privately-owned campgrounds for overnight accommodations for less than 14 days.

Also under the Order, public beaches must close for all activity, except for fishing and exercising, consistent with social distancing requirements.

Nothing in the Order is intended to limit:

  • The provision of healthcare or medical services;
  • Access to food banks and other essential services for low-income residents;
  • Media operations; 
  • Law enforcement agencies; or 
  • Government operations.

Violation of the provisions marked by an asterisk is a Class-1 misdemeanor, punishable by confinement in jail for not more than twelve months, a fine of not more than $2,500, or both.

The Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect through June 10, 2020.

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