Northam urges Virginians to stay home for Thanksgiving

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a reporter’s question dealing with the state’s COVID-19 updates during a press conference at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday announced substantial new statewide restrictions on gatherings and certain businesses in an effort to slow rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The Democratic governor’s office said in a news release that the state’s gathering ban will be reduced from 250 to 25, the state’s mask requirement will be applied to younger children, and alcohol sales will be prohibited at dining establishments after 10 p.m. Those and other new restrictions will take effect Sunday at midnight.

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” Northam said in a statement.

The gathering ban will apply to events such as weddings, but won’t impact schools or restaurants. Restaurants were already subject to capacity limits due to rules requiring that patrons remain socially distanced.

The new rules will also strengthen the state’s ability to enforce compliance with measures such as mask-wearing and distancing in grocery stores, big-box retailers and other businesses deemed “essential.” Previously, those types of businesses were exempt from health department enforcement.

The mask requirement, which previously applied only to children ages 10 and up, now applies to children 5 and older, the news release said.

The changes come as the disease caused by the coronavirus is surging across the U.S. at what experts say is an alarming pace. Newly confirmed infections per day in the U.S. are shattering records at nearly every turn, hitting more than 153,000 on Thursday and pushing the running total in the U.S. to about 10.5 million, with about a quarter-million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Some school districts around the country are moving to halt in-person instruction, and other governors have tightened restrictions on gatherings and businesses.

Collectively, Virginia is faring better than many other states. There were 233 new cases per 100,000 people in Virginia over the past two weeks, which ranks 43rd in the country for new cases per capita, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project.

But over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by just over 392, an increase of 34%, according to AP’s analysis. One in every 787 people in Virginia tested positive in the past week.

Case counts have been increasing with particular intensity in southwest Virginia, where cases were sparse early in the pandemic.

Northam ordered most non-essential businesses to close and issued a statewide stay-at-home order in March, instructing residents to stay home except under limited circumstances such as going to work, seeking medical attention or buying food and other necessities. The governor began lifting statewide restrictions in May, using a multiphase approach and allowing some localities with higher numbers of COVID-19 cases to keep restrictions in place longer.

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(4) comments

jke

Hospitalization and deaths have been flat since July. They lie and tell you we have a huge increase but the increase is from 8 to 10 people. They call that a 25% increase, scary huh. 2 people have died in Northern Virginia since November 7, it is over do not comply!

jke

How about posting the graph from the states website Loudoun Times Mirror to how their foolish behaviors are not based in fact?

LetSanityPrevail

This is the way a republic becomes defunct and ruled by an emperor. Our state senators and delegates have abdicated all responsibility in keeping the Governor in check. They might as well be disbanded. While I understand how our legislative bodies in Virginia will endorse these actions as the party in charge is inline with the Governor, they should at least go through the motions of putting the brakes on his power. This is setting a precedent so that the Governor can use any 'threat' to public safety to impose any regulations he or she wishes.

jke

Do not comply!

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