On March 30, 2020, the governor issued Executive Order 55 requiring all individuals in Virginia to stay in their place of residence, with certain limited exceptions, until June 10, 2020. Specifically, the order permits individuals to leave their homes for the following purposes:

  • Obtaining food, beverages, goods, or services as permitted in Executive Order 53;
  • Seeking medical attention, essential social services, governmental services, assistance from law enforcement, or emergency services;
  • Taking care of other individuals, animals, or visiting the home of a family member;
  • Traveling required by court order or to facilitate child custody, visitation, or child care;
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, including exercise, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements;
  • Traveling to and from one’s residence, place of worship, or work;
  • Traveling to and from an educational institution;
  • Volunteering with organizations that provide charitable or social services; and
  • Leaving one’s residence due to a reasonable fear for health or safety, at the direction of law enforcement, or at the direction of another government agency.

When undertaking these activities, the order requires individuals to practice social distancing of at least six feet, with the exception of family members, household members, and caretakers. The order also closes all public beaches (except for exercising and fishing), prohibits short-term reservations of less than 14 days at overnight campgrounds, and requires institutions of higher education to cease all in-person classes and instruction and to cancel all gatherings of more than 10 individuals.

The order does not close businesses beyond the closings and restrictions in Executive Order 53 issued on March 23 (addressed in our earlier blog post, Virginia’s response to COVID-19: temporary closure of recreational and entertainment businesses, restrictions on other non-essential businesses and school closures).

The March 30 order is the latest in Virginia’s ongoing response to COVID-19. On March 25, the governor issued a public health emergency order prohibiting medical facilities and health care providers from “providing procedures and surgeries that require [the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)], which if delayed, are not anticipated to cause harm to the patient by negatively affecting the patient’s health outcomes, or leading to disability or death.” Executive Order 55 does not further limit the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents (for instance, food banks), operations of the media, or operations of law enforcement and government as set forth in the public health emergency order.

If you have any questions on these developments or other questions with respect to your workforce related to COVID-19, please contact Reed Smith’s labor and employment team.