COVID-19 Update - Volume 4

Yesterday, the Governor signed Executive Order 53 ordering the closure of certain non-essential businesses, banning all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closing all public and private K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. Governor Northam also urged all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible.

The order goes into effect tonight at 11:59 PM until Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

You can read Executive Order 53 here. Additional guidance and a Frequently Asked Questions guide can be found here.
K-12 Schools
All public and private schools will remain closed through the end of this academic year. Local school division leaders will be determine how learning will continue and when/how students will make up the rest of the content from this year. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will issue guidance to help divisions execute plans to continue instruction, while ensuring students are served equitably, regardless of income level, access to technology, English learner status or special needs. This includes options for virtual learning, additional instruction through summer programming and integrating instruction into coursework next year. The VDOE will also seek a waiver from the federal government to waive state mandated tests. For further information from local school divisions in SD9 (including updates to meal distribution locations), visit the following:
Public Gatherings
All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning tonight at 11:59 PM. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.
Recreation and Entertainment Businesses Closed
The following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public beginning tonight at 11:59 PM:
  • Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, and other indoor entertainment centers;
  • Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities;
  • Beauty salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed that would not allow compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart;
  • Racetracks and historic horse racing facilities; and
  • Bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs, and all other places of indoor public amusement.
Dining and On-Site Alcohol Establishments
All dining and congregation areas in the following establishments must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM tonight. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services. Establishments include:
  • Restaurants;
  • Dining establishments;
  • Food courts;
  • Farmers markets;
  • Breweries;
  • Microbreweries;
  • Distilleries;
  • Wineries; and
  • Tasting rooms.
Essential Retail Businesses
The following retail businesses are considered essential and may remain open during normal business hours:
  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
  • Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
  • Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
  • Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
  • Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
  • Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
  • Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
  • Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
  • Retail located within healthcare facilities;
  • Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
  • Pet stores and feed stores;
  • Printing and office supply stores; and
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners.
All essential retail establishments must, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. 
Any brick-and-mortar retail business not listed above must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
Additional Guidance
Professional businesses not listed above must utilize telework as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such businesses must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities, including CDCOSHA, and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.
Businesses in violation of this order may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Nothing in Executive Order 53 limits the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; the operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government. 
My staff and I continue to monitor the situation and will share updates as they become available.  Although our offices are closed, our team is still working remotely. As always, you may contact my office at (804) 698-7509 or  You can also stay informed about General Assembly activities and the latest coronavirus updated by following me on Twitterliking my Facebook page, and following me on Instagram
Jennifer L. McClellan
Senate of Virginia, 9th District