COVID-19 Update #16
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Happy Mothers Day to all mothers and mother-figures. This is a day when we celebrate all you do for your families and recognize your influence on our society. Please enjoy your special day.   
Executive Order 61

Yesterday, Governor Northam rolled out more guidance on Phase 1 regulations for businesses and places of worship.
The full text of executive order 61 can be found here

Effective 12:00 a.m., Friday, May 15, 2020
Restaurants, Dining Establishments, Food Courts, Breweries, Microbreweries, Distilleries, Wineries, and Tasting Rooms

a. Occupancy may not exceed the 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable. b. No more than 10 patrons may be seated as a party. c. Tables at which dining parties are seated must be positioned six feet apart from other tables. If tables are not movable, parties must be seated at least six feet apart. d. No self-service of food (except beverages), including condiments. Condiments should be removed from tables and dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer. Buffets must be staffed by servers. For self-service beverage areas, use beverage equipment designed to dispense by a contamination-free method. e. Bar seats and congregating areas of restaurants must be closed to patrons except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in an outdoor bar area may be used for customer seating as long as a minimum of six feet is provided between parties at tables. f. Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. g. A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces must be conducted every 60 minutes during operation. Tabletops, chairs, and credit card/bill folders must be cleaned in between patrons. h. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

Personal Care and Personal Grooming Services
a. Occupancy may not exceed 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy with at least six feet of physical distancing between work stations and only one appointment per service provider at a time. b. Service providers and employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. c. Provide face coverings for clients or ask that clients bring a face covering with them, which they must wear during the service. Limit services to only those that can be completed without clients removing their face covering. d. A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted every 60 minutes in operations, while cleaning and disinfecting all personal care and personal grooming tools after each use. If that is not possible such items must be discarded. e. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.
All Public And Private In-Person Gatherings

All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals are prohibited. The presence of more than 10 individuals performing functions of their employment is not a “gathering.” A “gathering” includes, but is not limed to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This restriction does not apply to the gathering of family members living in the same residence. “Family members” include blood relations, adopted, step, and foster relations, as well as all individuals residing in the same household. Family members are not required to maintain physical distancing while in their homes.

Effective 12:00 a.m., Friday, May 15, 2020, individuals may attend religious services subject to the following requirements:

i. Religious services must be limited to no more than 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy of the room or facility in which the religious services are conducted. ii. Individuals attending religious services must be at least six feet apart when seated and must practice proper physical distancing at all times. Family members, as defined above, may be seated together. iii. Mark seating in six-foot increments and in common areas where attendees may congregate. iv. Persons attending religious services must strongly consider wearing face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

No items can be passed to or between attendees, who are not family members, as defined above. vi. Any items used to distribute food or beverages must be disposable, used only once, and discarded. vii. A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces must be conducted prior to and following any religious service. viii. Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted in the establishment. ix. Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding social distancing, gatherings, options for high risk individuals, and staying home if sick. x. If religious services cannot be conducted in compliance with the above requirements, they must not be held in-person.

Fitness and Exercise Facilities

Effective 12:00 a.m., Friday, May 15, 2020, fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, sports facilities, and exercise facilities may reopen for outdoor activities only. Indoor activities are prohibited. Outdoor activities may be conducted provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for fitness and exercise facilities expressly incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements: a. Patrons, members, and guests must remain at least ten feet apart during all activities. b. Hot tubs, spas, splash pads, spray pools, and interactive play features must be closed. c. Outdoor swimming pools may be open for lap swimming only and must be limited to one person per lane. d. Employees working in customer-facing areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. e. Employers must ensure cleaning and disinfection of shared equipment after each use. f. Facilities shall prohibit the use of any equipment that cannot be thoroughly disinfected between uses (e.g., climbing rope, exercise bands, etc.). g. Businesses must supply hand sanitizer stations or hand washing stations for patrons, members, and guests. h. All group outdoor activities may not have more than 10 guests, patrons, or members. i. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.
Essential Retail Businesses

Essential retail businesses as set out below may remain open during their normal business hours. They should comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors expressly incorporated by referenced and linked here, as best practices. Employers are required to provide face coverings to employees. a. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations; b. Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers; c. Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology; d. Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities; e. Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers; f. Lawn and garden equipment retailers; g. Beer, wine, and liquor stores; h. Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores; i. Retail located within healthcare facilities; j. Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions; k. Pet and feed stores; l. Printing and office supply stores; and m. Laundromats and dry cleaners.
This week we are celebrating National Nurses Appreciation Week. We recognize these hard working nurses, for they are on the frontline of a world health crisis. Nursing professionals need our support now more than ever. Their skill and commitment during the coronavirus pandemic make a lifesaving difference every day. We salute you.  

Additional Information
  Where is my stimulus check?

If you haven't received your stimulus check yet please make sure to visit in order to check the status of your stimulus payment. Once there's a scheduled deposit date, it will be included on the site. 

Reminder to Take Precautionary Measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (i.e. YOUR CELLPHONE, Remote Controls, Keyboards, Counter tops, Refrigerator Handles, Doorknobs, etc.)

If you have any questions, please make sure to email me at 

                                                     Helpful links

Governor's Office Updates:

Commonwealth of Virginia:

Virginia Department of Health:


How to reach me during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Email Address:


 As always, it is a pleasure to serve you. Thank you.
Delegate Jeion A. Ward
Virginia House of Delegates
Ninety-Second House District

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