Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order for Virginia today (Monday) as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state continues to climb.
“Our message today is very clear — to stay home,” Northam said.
The order, which goes into effect immediately and will last until June 10, lets people leave their homes for essential services — including medical care, food, supplies, work and more — and social-distanced outdoor activities that do not involve gatherings larger than 10 people.
“Do not go out unless you need to go out,” he said. “This is very different from wanting to go out. Do not go out to the store just for one thing. Wait until you have a list of needs.”
Northam said that the order will limit access to the state’s beaches except for fishing and exercise, close private campgrounds and ban parties and gatherings with 10 people or more.
“If you can work remotely, you need to do so and companies need to allow that,” he said.
When announcing the new order, Northam said that recreational areas were “literally packed” this weekend. “Everyone who is gathering in a crowd around the state is putting themselves at risk,” he said.
Northam recently received pushback from some residents and local officials for not issuing a stay-at-home order on Friday.
Earlier today, Maryland’s governor put the state, which has surpasses 1,400 COVID-19 cases, under a stay-at-home order that goes into effect tonight at 8 p.m., NBC 4 reported.
As of today, there are 225 coronavirus cases in Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns in the county — almost double the number of cases on Friday (March 27).
Expanding testing capacity in the state could explain the increase in confirmed cases.
Statewide, 25 people have died from complications of the virus, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Two people in Fairfax County have died from the respiratory illness.
Northam also noted that almost half of the COVID-19 cases in the state are affecting people who are under the age of 50.
“Every age group needs to act responsibly,” he said.
Image via Governor of Virginia/Facebook