In his press conference on March 23, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced sweeping new restrictions on public gatherings and business operations as part of the ongoing effort to combat the coronavirus (“COVID-19”). The new restrictions go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, and remain in place for 30 days. The press release announcing the executive order, which also includes the full list of business categories impacted by the closures, is available here.
In Executive Order 53, Gov. Northam issued an outright ban on all gatherings of more than 10 people statewide. He also ordered most recreation and entertainment businesses to close completely, including theaters, fitness centers, barber shops, bowling alleys, and any other places of indoor public entertainment. Restaurants may remain open for take-out and delivery operations only. Essential retail outlets, which include a wide range of businesses from grocery stores and banks to liquor stores, home improvement stores, and laundromats, may remain open but must maintain social distancing requirements and practice enhanced sanitation procedures. Non-essential “brick and mortar” businesses (any not falling within the “essential” list) are limited to a maximum of 10 patrons shopping in-person at a time, or they must close as well.