Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order Number 53, which also prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people and closes Virginia schools for the remainder of the school year. Virginia did not enact a shelter in place order or a blanket shut-down of all non-essential businesses. Most provisions in EO 53 go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24,2020 and remain until April 23, 2020.
The Order states essential businesses may continue to operate during their regular business hours. Essential businesses are:
Businesses not expressly listed as “essential” may continue to operate so long as they can limit in-person shopping to no more than 10 persons per establishment. If this is not possible, they must close.
The Order closes recreational and entertainment businesses through April 23, 2020. These businesses are defined as:
The Order allows restaurants to stay open for take-out and delivery only. All businesses are ordered to adhere to social distancing and implement enhanced sanitation practices. Businesses not required to close are encouraged to use teleworking as much as possible.
Penalties and enforcement are not discussed. The Order does not limit the provision of health care services, essential services for low-income residents, law enforcement, government, media.
“This is an unprecedented situation, and it requires unprecedented actions to protect public health and save lives,” Governor Northam said. “I know the next several weeks will be difficult. These restrictions on non-essential businesses will create hardships on the businesses and employees affected. But they are necessary, and we do not undertake them lightly. I am calling on Virginians to sacrifice now, so that we can get through this together.”
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Author Patrick McKnight is an associate in the Litigation Department at Klehr Harrison.