Charlottesville-area organizations issue statement on Executive Order 53 for COVID-19 prevention

Charlottesville-area organizations issue statement on Executive Order 53 for COVID-19 prevention
COVID-19 is commonly known as coronavirus (Source: AP)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Four major entities in the Charlottesville-area are releasing a joint statement in regards to trying to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the University of Virginia, and the Thomas Jefferson Health District released the comprehensive statement Thursday, March 26. In it, they go over he many different ways COVID-19 and Governor Ralph Northam’s executive orders to try to stop more people from catching the virus.

In part, they say, “We recognize that this is a challenging time for our community. We appreciate the many people who have already begun to practice social distancing at home and in their businesses. If you have not yet adopted social distancing, please do so now – maintain at least 6 feet from others outside your immediate family and avoid large gatherings of people. This applies in your home, on the sidewalk, in parks, and grocery stores, and other essential stores.”

They warn police may charge people who appear to willfully violate the order against large gatherings.

A detailed list of what has been affected by the governor’s order can be found in the release below.

03/26/2020 Joint Release from Albemarle County, Charlottesville, University of Virginia, and Thomas Jefferson Health District:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - COVID-19 is in our community and throughout the Commonwealth. On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam issued new executive orders regarding public gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Executive Order Fifty-Three orders the closure of certain non-essential businesses, bans all gatherings – public or private – of 10 or more people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. This order went into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. More information on the order can be found here and the full list of impacts can be found below.

We recognize that this is a challenging time for our community. We appreciate the many people who have already begun to practice social distancing at home and in their businesses. If you have not yet adopted social distancing, please do so now – maintain at least 6 feet from others outside your immediate family and avoid large gatherings of people. This applies in your home, on the sidewalk, in parks, and grocery stores, and other essential stores.

If our departments – Albemarle County, Charlottesville, or University Police Departments – view large gatherings or receive a complaint about one, initial violations will be handled with education and guidance on the executive order. While it is not our goal, subsequent violations will be considered “willful violations” and the property owner or manager may be charged.

Please do your part to protect the most vulnerable in our community, to protect our first responders, and our healthcare system. Stay home!

Public Gatherings

All gatherings of 10 or more people are banned statewide. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.

K-12 Schools

All schools will remain closed through the end of this academic year. 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.

Recreation and Entertainment Businesses

The following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential:

  • 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

Dining and On-Site Alcohol Establishments

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

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
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners

For information regarding financial support and unemployment:

For information regarding COVID-19:

As a reminder, please do not call 911 unless it is emergency. For non-emergent issues that require law enforcement attention, please call 434-977-9041, which will connect you to the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County Emergency Communications Center.

Click here for more information about Executive Order 53.

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