UPDATED 2 pm – Press conference starting now…see video, below.
- Gov. Northam: “Today I am directing all schools in Virginia to remain closed at least through the end of this academic year. And today, I signed Executive Order 53, effective at midnight tomorrow, to put additional restrictions on establishments that serve the public. Restaurants can remain open for carryout, curbside and delivery service only. All recreation and entertainment services…must close. Personal care services that cannot adhere to social distancing…must close. Non-essential retail establishments can remain open if they allow 10 or fewer patrons and adhere to social distancing and increased sanitizing procedures. Essential services, like grocery stores…will remain open, but they must adhere to social distancing and increased sanitizing procedures. And gatherings of more than 10 are banned. These measures will be in effect statewide for at least 30 days. We do not make these decisions lightly…but COVID-19 is serious and we must act.”
- Essential businesses that remain open must maintain social distancing, step up sanitizing practices.
- From reporter Max Smith: “Va. Gov Northam understands question of who will care for kids during the day is a major issue, particularly for essential workers 1.2 million kids under 12 in Va; half in public schools or preschools, Northam says, est. 80,000 healthcare workers’ kids alone…Northam is asking for some combination of schools/daycares to come up with plan for providing care for kids of essential workers. Childcare workers also designated essential.”
- What does this all mean for us as Virginians? Gov. Northam: “We are moving into a period of sacrifice…Many businesses are closed already…I thank them for the tremendous sacrifices they have made…There is more ahead and things are changing fast. Just last week we announced one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Today, thousands of people are without work…that number will, unfortunately, go up…That has serious health consequences too. It will lead to anxiety…fear; it is difficult to live with uncertainty. We can expect to see more depression…alcoholism…domestic violence…But the sooner we all take these necessary steps to slow the spread, the sooner we will all get through this. We all need to take care of each other from afar, because social distancing is the only path forward…Our priority is to save lives. We have a health crisis and we have an economic crisis. But the sooner that we can get this health crisis under control, the sooner our economy will recover…We must put aside what we want and replace it with what we need. This will change every part of our life…It will require everyone to sacrifice…all of us to live differently. It will take time, but we can and we WILL get through this together.”
- What led to these actions today, specifically? Gov. Northam: This is a fluid, dynamic situation, changes every day, “we make decisions every day…the spread [of COVID-19] in communities continues,” also more confirmed deaths and concerns over hospital capacity. “I believe that we’ve made some very aggressive steps in Virginia,” will continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of Virginia.
- VA Secretary of Heath says he’s “working to get more PPE from “every lead, every source we can.”
- From reporter Max Smith: “Va says its state lab is replenishing testing supplies, so continue to have ability to do 1,000+ tests. Still working with private labs, hospitals that can do their own testing…Virginia will offer state guidance on how to decide if students have completed classes – online learning, extending next year’s school year, adding info into next year’s classes, or bringing some kids back who don’t get online learning…Northam says order on businesses is effective midnight tomorrow night, with authority to localities to enforce”
- Northam’s order does NOT affect the construction industry.
Governor Northam COVID-19 Briefing – March 23 https://t.co/u8kXFDq03u
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) March 23, 2020
Gov. Ralph Northam’s Coronavirus briefing today is at 2 pm, and apparently will contain a “big announcement” – about K-12 schools, and maybe other stuff? We’ll post the live video, along with highlights, as soon as it’s available…