UPDATED: Gatherings of more than 10 banned to help combat virus
Tuesday morning, Gov. Ralph Northam told Virginians to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people as part of efforts to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus.
This “does not include normal operations at essential services such as manufacturers, distribution centers, airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, grocery stores or pharmacies,” according to a press release.
Other measures Northam announced include:
• Those with chronic health conditions or aged 65 or older should self-quarantine. Northam encouraged neighbors and friends to stay in touch and regularly check in with high-risk individuals.
• All restaurants, fitness centers and theaters are mandated to significantly reduce their capacity to 10 patrons, or close. Restaurants are encouraged to continue carry-out and takeaway options.
Tuesday night, Northam’s directive became a legally enforceable order and public health emergency declaration from the governor and the state health commissioner.
The order “restricts the number of patrons allowed in permitted restaurants to 10 patrons or less” and states that “observations of 10 or more patrons in a restaurant, fitness center, or theater may result in immediate operation permit suspension” by a district health director.
Also, violation of an emergency order can be punished as a Class 1 or Class 3 misdemeanor depending on the circumstances.
Gov. Ralph Northam Sunday announced a statewide ban on non-essential public events, meetings and gatherings of more than 100 people in a single room or space to help fight the coronavirus spread.
The ban does not apply to normal workplace operations, Northam said.
Statewide, 45 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the governor confirmed.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued far tougher guidance Sunday.
The agency recommended that for the next eight weeks, “organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
Events should go forward only if they can meet guidelines for protecting vulnerable individuals, proper hand hygiene and appropriate social distancing to help prevent person-to-person viral spread. “When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”
The CDC recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, colleges or businesses, it stated.
“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” the guidance document continued. “This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”
For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.
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