Source: GP

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday issued a stay-at-home orders for state residents, which prohibits anyone from leaving home except for trips deemed “essential,” such as getting food or seeking medical assistance.

The order “shall remain in full force and in effect until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order,” said the order’s text.

“We are at the beginning of a period of sacrifice. This s a difficult and unprecedented time… I have faith in you as Virginians,” the Democrat said. “We need to take this seriously and act responsibly. We will get through this together.”

The move by Northam marked a change in his stance. On Friday, he said an official order is no different from his repeated urging that stay at home except for essential needs.

“We’re talking semantics here. We’re talking about how to enforce this,” Northam said then. “However you want to describe it, all of the states giving the same direction, which is to stay at home.”

The order is effective immediately. All public beaches will be closed “for all activity, except exercising and fishing. Social distancing requirements must be followed.”

The governor’s office said in a press release:

Governor Ralph Northam today issued a statewide Stay at Home order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The executive order takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.

The order directs all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.

The executive order also directs all Virginia institutions of higher education to stop in-person classes and instruction. Private campgrounds must close for short-term stays, and beaches will be closed statewide except for fishing and exercise.

Earlier on Monday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican,  also announced a stay-at-home order, saying nonessential businesses must remain closed, and essential businesses will have to scale down their operations and allow telework as much as possible. The Maryland order goes into effect at 8 p.m. Monday.

“Unfortunately we are only at the beginning of this crisis, and it will get considerably worse before it gets better,” Hogan said.