The Official Site of The Commonwealth of Virginia

Coronavirus (COVID-19) In Virginia

Health & Safety Measures

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. The Governor has also outlined these additional measures to ensure the health and safety of all Virginians:

Public and Private Gatherings

  • Beginning 11:59 PM on March 24, gatherings of more than ten people are banned statewide. See the full text of Executive Order 53, here. For answers to commonly asked questions, please see here
  • Governor Northam is urging Virginians to limit all non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible. Those with chronic health conditions or aged 65 or older should self-quarantine.

Recreation and Entertainment Businesses

The following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

  • 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. For answers to commonly asked questions, please see here. For the full text of Executive Order 53, see here.

Dining and On-Site Alcohol Establishments

All dining and congregation areas in the following establishments must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services. Establishments include:

  • Restaurants;
  • Dining establishments;
  • Food courts;
  • Farmers markets;
  • Breweries;
  • Microbreweries;
  • Distilleries;
  • Wineries; and
  • Tasting rooms.

Businesses in violation of this order may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. For answers to commonly asked questions, please see here. For the full text of Executive Order 53, see here.

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; and
  • 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 patrons 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-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.

Businesses in violation of this order may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. For answers to commonly asked questions, please see here. For the full text of Executive Order 53, see here.

Support for Affected Workers

Governor Northam announced the following actions to protect working Virginians impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • No waiting for unemployment benefits. Governor Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.
  • Enhanced eligibility for unemployment. Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer, they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.
  • Fewer restrictions. For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, Governor Northam is directing the Virginia Employment Commission to give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.

The Office of the Governor is providing a Frequently Asked Questions guide for workers that have been temporarily laid off or discharged during this public health crisis.

Support for Impacted Employers

  • Regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Employers who do slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
  • The Governor is authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs.

State Employees

  • The Governor has directed agencies to implement liberal teleworking policies for state employees.  
  • Virginia has activated paid Public Health Emergency Leave for state employees, when needed.
  • All official travel outside of Virginia by state employees has been halted, with increased flexibility for inter-state commuters and essential personnel.

Support for Small Businesses

  • Virginia received a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Small businesses and non-profit organizations located throughout the state can now apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. 
  • Regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Employers who do slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
  • The Governor authorized rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs.
  • To support small restaurants, Virginia ABC is waiving regulations to allow restaurants to deliver beer and wine via take-out and delivery. 
  • Governor Northam directed all employers to follow U.S. Department of Labor guidance on workplace safety.

To submit a loan application for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

 

Corporate, Sales, and Individual Taxes

  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can request to defer the payment of state sales tax due March 20, 2020 for 30 days. When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties. 
  • The Virginia Department of Taxation is extending the due date of payment of Virginia individual and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020.

More information on deferring payment and how to file can be found here: www.tax.virginia.gov

Utilities

  • The State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued an order directing utilities it regulates, such as electric, natural gas, and water companies in Virginia, to suspend service disconnections for 60 days to provide immediate relief for any customer, residential and business, who may be financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Public Health

  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has issued guidance to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia. Resources for businesses, educational institutions, healthcare professionals, large public events, travelers, and individual households are available at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.
  • VDH has provided guidance to nursing homes and senior care facilities on additional visitor screening. Virginia has expanded criteria for diagnostic testing to ensure that anyone who has symptoms and is in a nursing home is a top priority.
  • Virginia is talking with employers across the Commonwealth about telework and paid time off, including for hourly workers.
  • The Virginia Department of Health operates a 24-hour Coronavirus Information Hotline. For questions about the coronavirus, call (877) ASK-VDH3 or (877) 275-8343.

Diagnostic Testing

  • On March 2, the Department of General Services (DGS) announced that its Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS), Virginia’s public health and environmental laboratory, began testing for COVID-19 instead of sending samples to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • DCLS will test samples from individuals identified by the VDH as a Person Under Investigation (PUI), meaning they meet both current clinical and epidemiologic criteria for COVID-19.
  • Virginia is working with insurers to waive costs associated with COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

Vulnerable Populations

  • The Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Department of Social Services are preparing options to ensure the most vulnerable populations have continued access to critical services, including the potential for in-home care and food support.
  • The Department of Social Services is working with local partners, such as food pantries, to ensure no one goes hungry in the event of extended school closures.

Certificate of Public Need Waiver

  • Governor Northam signed an executive order giving hospitals and nursing homes the ability to increase their bed capacity without needing prior governmental approval, being issued a new waiver, or going through red tape.

Medicaid

Working with the Department of Medicaid Assistance Services, Governor Northam is increasing access to healthcare for Virginia’s 1.5 million Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents. These actions include:

  • Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.
  • Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
  • Permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
  • Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
  • Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.

Unemployment Insurance

  • Governor Northam directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.
  • Workers should apply to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer, they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.
  • For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, Governor Northam directed the Virginia Employment Commission to give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.
  • The Office of the Governor provided a Frequently Asked Questions guide for workers that have been temporarily laid off or discharged during this public health crisis.

Food Insecurity

  • The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is loosening income eligibility requirements for the Emergency Food Assistance Program to increase access during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • VDACS is also reducing the threat of exposure for seniors in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) by changing delivery schedules—while maintaining the quantity of food—and removing delivery signing requirements.
  • The Federation of Virginia Food Banks, representing seven regional food banks, is standardizing low- and no-touch distribution, pre-boxed items, and drive-through distribution mechanisms.

Childcare

The Northam administration has issued guidance for child care providers to combat the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring ongoing support for essential personnel. These guidelines include:

  • Child care providers should limit capacity to 10 total individuals per room and prioritize care for children of essential personnel.
  • Children should eat meals in their own classrooms and increase distance as much as possible, such as allowing only one classroom at a time to go outside and staggering exits and entrances to reduce contact.
  • Staff and children should focus on basic health precautions, including regular hand washing and cleaning frequently touched objects.

Governor Northam directed the Department of Social Services to modify Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy program, currently caring for 25,000 children, to increase support and flexibility for enrolled families and providers. These modifications include:

  • Expanding eligibility for school-aged children currently designated for part-day care to full-day care.
  • Increasing the number of paid absences from 36 to 76 days for both level 1 and level 2 providers.
  • Automatically extending eligibility for families due for eligibility redetermination in the near future by 2 months and temporarily suspending the requirement for face-to-face interviews.

Education

K-12 Education

  • All public and private K-12 schools in Virginia will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. See the full text of Executive Order 53, here.
  • On March 17, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) requested that the U.S. Department of Education consider statewide SOL testing waivers. On March 20, as soon as allowed by the federal government, VDOE began preparing the state’s application for a federal waiver.  
  • Virginia is also considering actions necessary to provide relief to students on state-mandated SOL tests, which go beyond those mandated by the federal government.
  • VDOE was approved for a statewide waiver to allow schools to serve as a Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Summer Option (SSO) site, to provide food for children who rely on school nutrition programs—all 132 school divisions received waivers to provide food through SFSP and/or SSO.

Higher Education

  • All of Virginia’s public institutions of higher education—15 public four-year institutions, 23 community colleges and Richard Bland College—have moved to temporary online learning.
  • All of Virginia’s private not-for-profit institutions of higher education that make up the Council of Independent Colleges (CICV) have transitioned to temporary online learning. 
  • The Virginia Community College System announced that commencement ceremonies for all 23 community colleges have been cancelled for this academic year.  A number of public and private colleges have also cancelled in-person spring commencement ceremonies.

Transportation

  • The Department of Rail and Public Transportation is coordinating with Metro, Amtrak, Virginia Rail Express, and transit agencies across Virginia to adjust cleaning schedules according to CDC protocol.
  • Washington Dulles International Airport is one of 11 airports designated by the federal government to receive flights from China. The CDC is conducting screenings of passengers at Dulles who have been in China or Iran during the past 14 days. 
  • Virginia is also working with transportation partners to help reduce the potential spread of disease.

Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Governor Northam directed the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to close Virginia’s 75 DMV offices, as well as mobile units, to the public. 
  • Online services will remain available, and anyone needing to renew a license or vehicle registration is encouraged to do so online. DMV will grant a 60-day extension to those who cannot renew online, or whose license or registration expires before May 15.

Governor Northam directed the Virginia Department of State Police to suspend enforcement of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections for 60 days. 

Courts

  • Governor Northam requested and the Supreme Court of Virginia granted a judicial emergency in response to COVID-19. 
  • From Monday, March 16 through Monday, April 6, non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings in all district and circuit courts are suspended absent a specific exemption. 
  • This includes a suspension on new eviction cases for tenants who are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19. All non-exempted court deadlines are tolled and extended for a period of 21 days.

Justice-Involved Population

State Correctional Facilities

  • The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) has canceled offender visitation at all facilities until further notice. Off-site video visitation is still available.
  • The Department of Corrections has suspended the transfer of individuals from local and regional jails for a minimum of 30 days. 
  • A dedicated COVID-19 public information line with an updated, recorded message is operational. The phone number is (804) 887-8484.
  • DOC has implemented a screening protocol for offenders coming into state facilities from local jails.
  • Virginia provided detailed guidance to correctional facilities and other work locations regarding approved hand washing, sanitizing, and disinfectant products, and instructions for the proper use of those products to provide protection from COVID-19.
  • Additional information about the steps being taken at Virginia’s correctional facilities is available here.

Regional and Local Jails

Governor Northam is encouraging local criminal justice officials, including Commonwealth’s attorneys, defense attorneys, sheriffs, and other jail officials, to explore proactive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring public safety. These recommendations include:

  • Allowing sentence modifications that can reduce populations within the jails, as outlined in Va. Code § 19.2-303.
  • Diverting offenders from being admitted into jail prior to trial, including the use of summonses by law enforcement in lieu of arrest pursuant to Va. Code § 19.2-74, and use of local pretrial programs as available and with consideration to local capacity.
  • Considering ways to reduce low risk offenders that are being held without bail in jails.
  • Utilizing alternative solutions to incarceration such as home electronic monitoring, pursuant to Va. Code § 53.1-131.2.

Healthcare Professionals

If you are a healthcare professional evaluating a patient for suspected COVID-19, please contact your local health department immediately.

A message fromGovernor Northam

Our absolute top priority is to make sure Virginians stay safe and healthy, and that our response to this situation leaves no one behind. From our health department, to our schools, to our hospitals, to our transit systems, Virginia’s agencies and institutions have been thoroughly preparing for every scenario. I thank all Virginians for their ongoing patience and commitment to public health. Together, we will get through this.

Governor's News Releases

Contacting the Governor's Office

The delivery of physical mail to the Governor’s office may be significantly delayed due to safety precautions that Virginia has implemented to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you are in need of assistance, please contact the Governor’s office using this form or by phone at (804) 786-2211.

Testing and Public Health Monitoring Data

NOTE: VDH is no longer reporting the pending number of tests as testing capacity has expanded to include commercial laboratories. Commercial laboratories report all results to VDH.

All testing updates belong to and retrieved from Virginia Department of Health.