Gov. Northam issues stay at home order for Virginians

Gov. Northam issues stay at home order for Virginians
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. (Photo/Office of the Governor)

By Cody Mello-Klein |

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued a stay at home order for all Virginians on Monday. The order is in effect until June 10, unless amended or rescinded by another executive order, according to a news release.

“In this difficult time, Virginians are stepping up to support their neighbors and their communities,” Northam said at a press conference on Monday. “… We’ve also seen people adhering to the rules about social distancing, but it is clear more people need to hear this basic message: Stay home.”

Under the order, Virginians cannot go out except for food, supplies, work, exercise or to seek medical care. 

Northam’s order comes in the aftermath of a sharp rise in confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases over the weekend. The number of cases in Virginia increased from 604 on Friday to 1,021 on Monday.

Northam said that he has been largely impressed by how Virginians have responded to the health crisis. However, he also noted that some people have not heeded prior prohibitions on public gatherings.

“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. 

Virginia’s beaches are now closed to any activity other than exercising or fishing. All higher educational institutes must also stop offering in-person instruction.

The rules around restaurants remain consistent with Northam’s prior orders: They can remain open as long as they only offer takeout or delivery and adhere to the rules around limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people. 

Violation of the order is a class one misdemeanor. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also issued a stay at home order earlier on Monday. As of Monday, 29 states have stay at home orders, including Virginia and Maryland.

“What we’re seeing now is the result of how people interacted two or three weeks ago. What we will see a few weeks from now will be determined by how people behave today and in the following days,” Northam said.