RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Flanked by his COVID-19 response team, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday people must remain in their home unless they have to go out for food, supplies, essential work and medical care.
“I want to be clear. Do not go out unless you need to go out. This is very different from wanting to go out. Don’t go to the store just for one thing. Wait until you have a whole list of needs,” said Northam.
The order - which is in effect until June 10 - says citizens can still go out for fresh air or exercise but have to follow social distancing rules, and the governor wants everyone to plan those trips wisely.
“This weekend, some of our beaches and other recreational areas were literally packed...everyone who is gathering in a crowd at any place around the state is putting themselves and others at risk,” Northam said.
The order will close the state’s beaches but state parks will remain open for day-use only. Golf courses can remain open, but the clubhouses must close.
"What we will see a few weeks from now, will be determined by how people behave today and in the following days,” said Northam.
Anyone caught not complying with the order could be criminally charged with a class 1 misdemeanor.
People will still be allowed to engage in outdoor activities like fishing, as long as they follow the state’s ban on gatherings larger than 10 people and remain 6 feet apart from others.
“I think if there are a lot of large groups of 10 or more that’s something that needs to happen,” said Catherine, who was enjoying Rocketts Landing Monday.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he supports the order and that Richmond police will begin to enforce it. Chesterfield police said their approach will be education first by getting the word out about staying home, but they will issue tickets if people who have been warned continue to ignore it.
“I’m not sure how you enforce something like that. I’m not necessarily sure that’s the best use of our resources at the time,” said Steven Wernowsky, who was enjoying Rocketts Landing Monday.
Restaurants are still only allowed to be open for takeout and delivery. Other stores may stay open, as long as they have fewer than 10 customers inside.
What is included in delivery/take-out?
- Dining establishments
- Food courts
- Farmers markets
- Tasting rooms.
You can find a list of restaurants offering these options, HERE.
What is closed?
- Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, and other indoor entertainment centers
- Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities
- Beauty salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed that would not allow compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart
- Racetracks and historic horse racing facilities
- Bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs, and all other places of indoor public amusement.
The order also directs all higher-education institutions in the state to stop in-person classes and instruction.
What is considered essential?
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations
- Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers
- Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology
- Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities
- Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers
- Lawn and garden equipment retailers
- Beer, wine, and liquor stores
- Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores
- Retail located within healthcare facilities
- Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions
- Pet stores and feed stores
- Printing and office supply stores
- Laundromats and dry cleaners
Anyone with questions related to a business can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney released the following statement in part:
“In accordance with the Governor’s order, the city is restricting access to certain outdoor amenities. Playgrounds and courts at Richmond Public Schools and public parks will be closed. All team sports and activities are prohibited.
“Activities at the James River are restricted; no swimming, sunbathing or gathering in groups will be allowed, though patrons may still use the area for exercise, such as biking, walking, running and hiking. These new restrictions go into effect Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m.
“When in open spaces, keep activities within your household unit. Stay six feet away from individuals outside of your household unit at all times. RPD will enforce these new guidelines and continue to enforce social distancing measures.
Henrico Recreation and Parks is also restricting access to certain amenities in response to the order.
Northam also warned people traveling back to the commonwealth from COVID-19 hotspots to self-quarantine for 14 days when they get back.
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