Northam Issues Stay At Home Order
"Our message today is very clear: That is to stay home."
With these words, Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay at home order across the entire state. All Virginians must stay home except in "extremely limited circumstances," including to obtain food, supplies, go to work, seek medical care or get fresh air or exercise. He closed the state's beaches for everyone except people who are exercising or fishing. The order is in place through June 10.
The governor also directed all colleges and universities to halt in-person classes and closed private campgrounds as well. Currently state parks are open, but overnight facilities have been closed.
At a press conference Monday, the governor sharply criticized people who had been gathering recently in spite of the pandemic.
"You are being very, very selfish because you are putting all of us -- especially our health care providers -- at risk," he said.
Northam's office sent out a press release that went on.
“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” Northam said in the release. “We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”
Recently, Northam issued Executive Order 53, which closed some businesses, forbade gatherings of more than 10 people and closed schools for the remainder of the academic year.
Northam said he expected a surge in COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization.
"Our efforts are focused on running ahead of that surge," he added.
In the next few days, Gov. Northam said the Army Corps of Engineers would issue proposals for creating temporary hospital facilities in the state.