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What's essential vs. non-essential after Governor Northam's statewide order

RICHMOND, VA – During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam closed all non-essential businesses.

Northam also ordered schools in Virginia to stay closed for the remainder of the academic year.

The Governor is also urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside their home, if and when possible.

All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.

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

  • 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 people 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-person limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.

All dining and congregation areas in the following establishments must close to the public. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services. Establishments include:

  • Restaurants

  • Dining establishments

  • Food courts

  • Farmers markets

  • Breweries

  • Microbreweries

  • Distilleries

  • Wineries

  • Tasting rooms

The following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public:

  • Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, and other indoor entertainment centers

  • Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities

  • 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

Businesses in violation of this order may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Nothing in Executive Order Fifty-Three limits the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; the operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.

This order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, and will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 23.

More information regarding the statewide order is here.

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