Gov. Ralph Northam today ordered the commonwealth’s schools to remain closed through the remainder of the academic year, the latest escalation in the effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We are moving into a period of sacrifice,” Northam said. “The sooner we can get this health crisis under control, the quicker our economy can recover.”
He also ordered recreation and entertainment venues—theaters, gyms, spas etc.—to close for at least the next 30 days, starting at midnight Tuesday. Also, dining-in services at all restaurants will be prohibited, but take-out and curbside service will be allowed to continue. The same rules will be applied to breweries and wineries.
Non-essential brick and mortar businesses also will be allowed to remain open, but will be limited to 10 patrons at a time with requirements to maintain social distancing.
Essential businesses, including banks and grocery stores, will remain open with social distancing requirements in force.
Gatherings of 10 or more people also are prohibited.
Details on how instruction should be conducted over the next several months and how to ensure high school seniors achieve graduation have yet to be announced. Information will be coming from the Department of Education, he said.
Loudoun County Public Schools administrators plan to release more information on the school closure through a video announcement at 8:30 p.m.
“COVID-19 is serious and we must act,” Northam said. “I am acting to protect Virginians.
Northam said the nation essentially is “fighting a biological war.”
“This will change every part of our life. It will require everyone to live differently,” Northam said.