Greetings. I want to make sure that everyone living in the 92nd House District has the most accurate and developing information about COVID-19 or “Coronavirus" pandemic. We are in regular communication with the Governor and his administration and I will continue sharing all updates as they are received. The following is this week’s update.
The Commonwealth of Virginia currently has 254 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in several areas of the state, and 6 deaths. As numbers are updated, you can remain informed by looking at the Virginia Department of Health Website.
Public Gatherings: The Governor has banned all gatherings of more than 10 people statewide, beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This does not include gatherings for purposes of providing healthcare or medical services, access to essential services for low-income Virginians, law enforcement operations, or government operations.
Beauty salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed that would not allow compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart;
Racetracks and historic horse racing facilities;
Bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs, and all other places of indoor public amusement.
Retail Businesses: The Governor has issued specific guidance for retail businesses. The following retail businesses are considered essential and may remain open during normal business hours:
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;
Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
Retail located within healthcare facilities;
Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
Pet stores and feed stores;
Printing and office supply stores; and
Laundromats and dry cleaners.
All essential retail establishments must, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.
Any brick-and-mortar retail business not listed above must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
School Closures:The Governor has closed all public schools through the end of the academic year. Per the Governor's press release, "the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will issue guidance to help divisions execute plans to continue instruction, while ensuring students are served equitably, regardless of income level, access to technology, English learner status, or special needs. This includes options for additional instruction through summer programming, integrating instruction into coursework next year, and allowing students to make up content. VDOE will submit a waiver to the federal government to lift end-of-year testing requirements and is exploring options to waive state mandated tests." Students who are in need of meals can still access them. To learn more about meals, text FOOD or COMIDA to 877877.
Guidance for Day Care Centers: Today, the Administration issued new guidance directing day care centers to limit their classrooms to 10 people, including teachers. Additionally, day care centers should practice staggered recess and only feed kids in their individual classrooms. We'll provide a link in the evening update.
Small Business Administration Loan Program: The Governor's request to enable small businesses to recieve assistance through the Small Business Assoication Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program has been approved.
The state has published a survey to gather information from the private sector on issues they are experiencing and offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution, discounted). The survey can be accessed at https://arcg.is/1amrze.
Supporting our Workforce: "Frequently asked Questions for Workers Regarding COVID-19" document can be found here.
The Virginia Department of Health has lots of important guidance for any questions you may have regarding the following situations:
The Center for Disease Control also has updated, accurate information for the spread and information on the federal level of what they are working with.
The single most important thing you can do to help yourself, your family, and your community is to practice social distancing. If you can stay home, do so. This is not only vital to your own health and the health of your family, but will help flatten the curve of the spread of the disease to our community overall. For more specifics definitions of words you may be hearing, such as "social distancing", "self-quarantine", "isolation", and "shelter in place", the New York Times has written this helpful article.