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Governor issues midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew as percent of positive COVID tests hits 11%

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 8:53 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 10, 2020 at 2:41 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Governor Ralph Northam has issued a modified stay-at-home order, meaning people need to stay home between midnight and 5 a.m. each day, beginning this Monday, in hopes of curbing the spread of COVID-19. Exceptions are in place for people traveling to and from work, though Northam is also continuing to urge working from home whenever possible, and for other essential reasons.

There is no specific end point for the curfew; Northam said he will reconsider it when new-case numbers start to drop.

Click here for the full text of the new order.

The curfew comes as more than one in ten COVID tests in Virginia are positive.

Northam says there will be no law enforcement of the curfew; he is simply asking residents to follow what he calls “common sense” and stay at home when they don’t need to be anywhere else, citing an old maxim that “nothing good happens after midnight.” He said the midnight time is based on bars and restaurants closing at that time in many places.

Northam is also limiting public gatherings to ten people, down from the current 25, and continuing to tell people to wear masks any time they are around other people, indoors or outdoors.

Further, when it comes to local sports, only 25 people are now allowed to watch indoor sports, and two guests per player are allowed for outdoor sports. Northam is urging as many games as possible to be streamed instead of played in front of live crowds.

“New daily case numbers are higher than they have been at any previous point in the pandemic, and while the trends in Virginia are better than most of the country, we are taking action now to slow the spread of this virus before our hospitals get overwhelmed,” said Governor Northam. “We already have strong public health measures in place, and with these additional steps, we can turn this around. Virginians, if you don’t have to be out, stay at home. Whenever we are around other people, we all need to wear a mask, indoors and out.”

The following mitigation measures will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, December 14:

· Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.

· Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.

· Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.

· Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.

· Teleworking: Employees who can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.

Northam made the announcement at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Department of Health is reporting 271,043 total cases of COVID-19 across the commonwealth as of Thursday, December 10, dating to the beginning of the pandemic in March. That’s up 3,915 from the 267,128 reported Wednesday, a lower increase than Wednesday’s 4,398 new cases.

“The Governor is announcing mitigation measures that will be nuanced and in line with our targeted, data-driven response.” said spokewoman Alena Yarmosky.

However, according to a source familiar with the coming announcement, there will be no lockdown or shutdown.

3,600,741 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests have been conducted, with an 11-percent positive rate over the last week, higher than the 10.9 percent reported Wednesday.

As of Thursday, there are 4,335 recorded coronavirus-related deaths in the commonwealth since the pandemic’s beginning. That’s up from 4,281 reported Wednesday.

2,051 people across Virginia are hospitalized as of Thursday with confirmed or test-pending cases of COVID-19, up from 2,035 reported Wednesday.

26,016 COVID patients have been released from hospitals in Virginia since the beginning of the pandemic. That’s according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, which gets a daily report from hospitals around the commonwealth.

These hospital numbers are different from those reported by VDH, which only gathers hospitalization status at the time each case is investigated by VDH, and is an under-representation of Virginia hospitalizations.

Heading into the holiday season, Governor Northam announced new measures designed to curtail the spread of COVID-19, and is urging people to stick to small gatherings.

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus

Any new confirmed cases from health departments throughout the state the rest of the day won’t show up until at least the following day on the state list, as the official numbers are only updated once a day, with a 5 p.m. cutoff each day for new cases to be reflected on the next day’s list.

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