Violation of Executive Order 55 is Class 1 misdemeanor
After Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order on Monday, many are left wondering if and how it will be enforced.
Virginians are urged by the governor to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary trips except for things like traveling to or from work, buying groceries and supplies, seeking medical attention, or going outside for fresh air or exercise. [Click here to read Executive Order 55 in its entirety]
Northam said violation of the prohibitions listed in Executive Order 55 is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
10 News reached out to local law enforcement agencies to learn more about how they will enforce the stay-at-home order.
These are the responses we’ve received so far:
Alleghany County / Covington:
“We will continue to post on our social media page reminders of social distancing and proper hand sanitizing along . We will also remind people, and businesses of the 10 person limit while on patrols!”
“Our focus has been on educating the community and responding to calls of gatherings that may violate the 10 person rule. Many of these calls have turned out to be within the 10 person limit. We have taken the opportunity to educate these groups about keeping the groups as small as possible as well as the distancing guidelines.
There are many exceptions to the stay at home order at this point. We will take each call one by one and continue to educate the public and take what appropriate enforcement action as necessary.”
“I understand that this is a difficult and frustrating time for everyone, but I sincerely ask that everyone adhere to this order and take this order seriously. We must think of the safety of ourselves, our families, friends and our community.
Please know that my office will continue to operate and continue to work hard to serve at maintaining the public’s safety to the best of our abilities. The Governor has made it clear that it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor for any violations of this order. We do not want to charge anyone with this violation, so I ask for all citizens to abide by this order and not put any law enforcement agency in a position to take action. Please be patient as we all work through this difficult time together.”
“We are pleased to see the Governor’s decision to strengthen the order for Virginians to stay home and limit gatherings in response to the pandemic. We are at a critical point in this battle and we are calling on the members of our community to step up and voluntarily do the socially responsible thing. It will be difficult as it represents an enormous change in our normal daily lives. No one likes to have their activities or freedoms curtailed, but this is a time when we must all set aside our personal preferences and do what is right, not just for ourselves, but also our friends, families and neighbors. We have been working diligently with our partners in the Montgomery County Public Health Task Force to take every possible step to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our community. Much of that work has been focused on working to ensure that our hospitals, medical providers and first responders are prepared for increasing numbers of cases in the area and that those critical services are not overwhelmed by a sudden surge in cases. We are calling on the members of the community to do their part to help achieve this goal by voluntarily adhering to the Governor’s order and limiting their travel to that which is truly necessary, and furthermore, to restrict gatherings, both public and private, to less than 10 people, and even then adhering to proper social distancing guidelines
“In these uncertain times, we want our community to understand how we are working to keep you safe and answer some frequently asked questions regarding the Governor’s Executive Order 55.
Governor Northam noted yesterday’s news conference that there was very little difference between the new directive and the previous restrictions already in place.