Alerts and Updates

Virginia Governor Orders Closures and Occupancy Restrictions on All Nonessential Retail Businesses

March 25, 2020

Governor Northam’s order prohibits all public and private in-person gatherings of 10 or more persons. 

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued an executive order on March 23, 2020, that closes dine-in restaurants and recreational/entertainment businesses, places patron number restrictions on all nonessential retail businesses, bans gatherings of 10 or more persons, and closes schools for the remainder of the school year.

Closure of Restaurants, Recreational and Entertainment Businesses

The governor’s order requires the closure―from March 25, 2020, through April 23, 2020―of “all dining and congregation areas” in restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms and farmers markets but allows each to remain open only to provide delivery and/or take-out services. Also closed are a variety of recreational and entertainment businesses including:

  • Theaters, museums and indoor entertainment facilities;
  • Fitness centers, recreation centers and indoor sports facilities;
  • Any personal grooming businesses that cannot comply with social distancing guidelines (e.g., barbershops, beauty shops, spas);
  • Racetracks and race horsing facilities; and
  • All places of indoor public amusement (e.g., bowling allies, arcades, amusement parks, shooting ranges, private or public social clubs)

Restrictions on Retail Businesses

The order also defines a number of essential retail businesses which may remain open subject to all applicable social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices and other workplace guidance from state and federal authorities:

  • Grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers that sell food, beverage or pharmacy products;
  • Medical, laboratory and vision supply retailers;
  • Retailers that sell or service cellphones, computers and other communications technology;
  • Automotive parts retailers and repair facilities;
  • Home improvement, hardware and building supply retailers;
  • Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
  • Beer, wine and liquor stores;
  • Gas stations and convenience stores;
  • Pet and feed stores;
  • Printing and office supply stores; and
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners.

All brick-and-mortar retailers not listed above must restrict in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment. If any such retail business cannot adhere to the 10 patron limit with proper social distancing requirement, it must close.

Specifically excluded from the order are:

  • The provision of healthcare or medical services;
  • Access to essential services for low-income residents (e.g., food banks);
  • Operations of the media;
  • Law enforcement agencies; or
  • The operation of government.

In addition, professional service businesses may remain open, provided they use teleworking as much as possible and, when telework is not feasible, comply with all applicable social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices and other workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.

Other Restrictions

Governor Northam’s order prohibits all public and private in-person gatherings of 10 or more persons from March 25, 2020, through April 23, 2020.

The order also closes all public and private K-12 schools in the commonwealth for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

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