Northam Announces Curfew, Other Restrictions Amid Pandemic
Governor Ralph Northam began his Thursday press conference with a video from a nurse who works for Ballad Health named Emily.
The health system’s coverage area of southwest Virginia and northeastern Tennessee has seen positivity rates over 25% in recent days.
“I go home; I carry it home. I cry a lot. I cry a lot. This is real,” she said.
Northam said Virginia is doing better than other states, but it’s clear more action is needed -- as case counts and hospitalizations rise across the Commonwealth.
“Starting at 12:01am Monday morning, Virginia will go into a modified, stay-at-home order,” the governor explained. That curfew will occur every day between midnight and 5am. Social gatherings will also be limited to 10 people.
Northam also asked faith leaders to exercise caution with more holidays around the corner -- encouraging them to conduct services outside if possible or online.
“This year, we need to think about what is truly the most important thing; is it the worship or the building? For me, God is wherever you are,” he said.
Northam also announced new restrictions on recreational sports; also set to begin on Monday. Indoor sports will be limited to 25 people per field, while two guests per player will be able to attend outdoor sporting events.
The guidelines won't impact Virginia public schools and higher education institutions, Northam added. He said decisions about school are being left to local officials. The state is also working on a plan to get teachers vaccinated as soon as possible.
The new restrictions will be in place through January 31st but could be extended if the situation doesn’t improve.