In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia issued a moratorium on evictions in March that was extended earlier this month. Beginning June 29, pursuant to an order issued by the Supreme Court of Virginia on June 22, those eviction proceedings can resume.

However, opponents assert that thousands of families who are still facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic could be affected. Those opponents have called on Governor Ralph Northam to issue an executive order to continue the moratorium on eviction proceedings. They assert that the request is not for an indefinite moratorium but, rather, “for enough time to establish a robust rent relief program — one that is sufficiently funded and addresses all of the needs of Virginia,” said Elaine Poon, a managing attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center.

In response to the Supreme Court of Virginia’s ruling, Gov. Northam did not request the Supreme Court of Virginia to extend the statewide moratorium, but, instead, suggested circuit court judges extend the ban at the local level rather than the state level. Gov. Northam said judges have the option to adjust their dockets.

“I’m calling on our chief circuit courts to further extend the moratorium as appropriate in their locality.”

“We don’t want anybody getting evicted, especially during this pandemic,” said Gov. Northam.

Earlier this month, Gov. Northam requested to extend the moratorium to provide his administration with enough time to announce the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, which is planned for roll-out on June 29. The governor said he would use federal CARES Act funding to create the $50 million program to assist with rent and mortgage payments.