Ralph Northam

Virginia Extends Restrictions on Businesses Through May 8

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam extended restrictions on businesses for two more weeks.

Northam’s executive order was set to expire April 23. It has been continued through May 8.

Northam’s stay-at-home order remains in effect through June 10.

“When people say it’s time to stop what we’re doing and get back to normal, they’re wrong,” Northam said.

Virginia is working with Maryland and D.C. in deciding when things can reopen.

All recreational and entertainment businesses must remain closed. These include bowling alleys, theaters, fitness centers and race tracks. Personal care services that cannot adhere to social distancing are also closed, including barbershops, massage parlors and spas. 

Restaurants can offer carryout, delivery and drive-thru service.

The executive order also bans gatherings of 10 or more people.

Northam said things are not going to return to the way they were before the coronavirus pandemic. He expects the new normal to include face coverings, staying home more, avoiding large crowds, social distancing and telework.

“I really strongly encourage all of you as Virginians to get a mask and get comfortable with it because I think you’re going to need to continue to wear it in the upcoming months as we move forward,” Northam said.

The closing of public schools for the rest of the school year affects 1.2 million children under 12, and child care centers have closed. Virginia is spending $70 million to support essential workers with children under 12.

Virginia health officials reported Wednesday that the death toll in the state from the coronavirus has jumped to 195, an increase of 41 deaths from the 154 reported Tuesday.

“That represents prior history, not necessarily that day,” Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said.

The Virginia Department of Health reported that 6,500 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 out of a total of 44,169 people tested.

The total number of cases in Virginia since the coronavirus arrived in the state now stands at 6,500, in increase of about 300 new cases from the 6,200 reported Tuesday. That daily increase is lower than the 425 new cases reported Tuesday, which was largely in line with what Virginia has seen over the past week.

NBCWashington/AP
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