Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: Pandemic will last months, not weeks

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR/WAVY) — During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Virginia Governor said the state was in a new normal and business closures due to coronavirus could last months, not weeks.

“I know that this is hard,” Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia) said Tuesday afternoon. “Stay home, please stay home.”

Northam made the announcement hours before an executive order went into effect calling for the shuttering non-essential businesses for at least 30 days.

This comes as the Virginia Department of Health confirmed 290 positive cases of coronavirus and seven deaths in the commonwealth.

“Our numbers… are going to keep going up. Our deaths, unfortunately, are going to keep going up. We have nowhere come close to hitting that peak of the curve,” Northam said.

Knowing that business owners have a lot of questions about their livelihood being upended, Northam directed all those with questions to email them to business@virginia.gov.

If you are working at a business that you don’t believe is following guidelines to curtail the spread of the virus, Northam recommends consulting a supervisor.

“If that isn’t sufficient, take it to another level. Most people would deal with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) for that,” Northam said.

Northam said companies have donated personal protective equipment for use. The equipment is necessary to keep medical, emergency personnel, and essential workers safe. Inmates in the Department of Corrections produced 25,000 medical masks on Monday, and are expected to make another 25,000 today, he said.

The governor emphasized the importance of social distancing to stop the spread of the virus. He said the elderly and essential workers are most vulnerable to catching the virus.

Also on Monday, the governor announced all K-12 schools would be closed through the end of the school year.

The Virginia Department of Education released guidelines answering vital questions for staff, students and families after K-12 schools closed for the rest of the academic year.

In a superintendent’s memo, VDOE said any 12th- grade student on track to graduate, will graduate on time. Students who are on track will be promoted to the next grade level, the state’s Department of Education said.

Stay with WAVY for more news.


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