Northam issues public health emergency order barring more than 10 patrons at businesses

Virginia

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Virginia’s governor and state health commissioner have issued a public health emergency order that bars restaurants, fitness centers and theaters from having more than 10 patrons at a time.

Gov. Ralph Northam and State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver issued the order, which gives law enforcement the ability to enforce the ban.

“I hope that everyone will have the common sense to stay home tonight and in the days ahead,” Northam said in a news release. “This order will ensure that state and local officials have the tools they need to keep people safe.”

The penalty for violating the order could include immediate operation permit suspension, or a class 1 or 3 misdemeanor.

On March 12, Northam declared a state of emergency. There were 67 cases in the state as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Monday afternoon, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported the death of a hospitalized patient who previously tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Peninsula Health District’s total of 14 cases includes 12 in James City County, where Northam previously urged residents to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more, including church services and gathering in crowded bars and restaurants.

The Centers for Disease Control that people nationwide should avoid gatherings of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks.


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