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March 23, 2020

Governor orders schools closed for the semester

Click above to watch Gov. Ralph Northam’s update on the coronavirus pandemic Monday afternoon.
We are moving into a period of sacrifice. There is more ahead, and things are changing fast.
— Gov. Ralph Northam
What Do You Think?
POLL: Do you agree with the governor’s decision to close all Virginia schools for the semester?

Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday ordered all Virginia schools — public and private — closed for the rest of the semester.

Announced during his daily update on the coronavirus pandemic at 2 p.m., Gov. Northam’s order affects approximately 1.5 million students statewide.

With just more than 11,000 students, Fauquier County Public Schools already had closed through at least Monday, April 13.

State leaders on Wednesday will provide school systems with guidance about dealing with the shutdown and what it means for academics.

“We are moving into a period of sacrifice,” Gov. Northam said. “There is more ahead, and things are changing fast.”

The governor also ordered all entertainment businesses — such as movie theaters and bowling alleys — to close. Breweries and wineries may remain open to the public only for carryout or curbside service.

Unemployment benefit applications soared to 40,000 in Virginia last week as businesses laid off workers.

As of Tuesday, Virginia had 254 confirmed cases of coronavirus and six deaths.

Fauquier still had no confirmed case of the virus.

The governor’s office issued this press release later Monday afternoon

Governor Northam Orders Statewide Closure of Certain Non-Essential Businesses, K-12 Schools

Bans public gatherings of more than 10 people

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued a statewide order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Executive Order Fifty-Three orders the closure of certain non-essential businesses, bans all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. Governor Northam is also urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible.

This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and it requires unprecedented actions to protect public health and save lives,” said Governor Northam. “I know the next several weeks will be difficult. These restrictions on non-essential businesses will create hardships on the businesses and employees affected. But they are necessary, and we do not undertake them lightly. I am calling on Virginians to sacrifice now, so that we can get through this together.”

In addition, Virginia is launching a statewide media campaign to ensure Virginians fully understand their risk and do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Commonwealth’s “Health in Your Hands” campaign will include radio and television spots as well as statewide billboards and highway signs.

Public Gatherings

All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. 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. This includes options for additional instruction through summer programming, integrating instruction into coursework next year, and allowing students to make up content. VDOE will submit a waiver to the federal government to lift end-of-year testing requirements and is exploring options to waive state mandated tests.

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.

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.

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.

Additional Guidance
Professional businesses not listed above must utilize telework as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such businesses must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities, including CDCOSHA, and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

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.

Member comments
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badelectronics · March 27, 2020 at 8:59 pm
badelectronics · March 27, 2020 at 7:01 am
Here are a few resources for you children for math:
Savefauquiercounty2019 · March 26, 2020 at 6:21 pm
Parents should be given an option to continue learning, lessons etc to get tgeir children through the remainder if the year. Let those that can homeschool do so. Give them the materials, Every child that can successfully finish this year, let them. Stalling our success by not making it happen is not productive. The children why can not provide them with opportunities to catch up.

Fauquier county may have been exposed and sick with the CV back in January. Those who think they had the symptoms should be tested by drawing a titer...if th ave had it already let them return to normal.
badelectronics · March 26, 2020 at 12:30 pm
@Donkey: I'm wondering, was the original Mark House anti-2nd Amendment or pro some type of regulation you didn't agree with?
DonkeyFarmer · March 26, 2020 at 11:53 am
Wow what are the odds of that? 2 different people with the exact same screen name of Mark House in this little tiny community forum.... Anyway you might want to change your screen name as not to be confused with the OTHER Mark House, he was a real A-hole.
Mark House · March 26, 2020 at 10:15 am
Donkey Farmer - My full name is Markus House and I haven't posted on here until now. Everyone has a right to their beliefs on guns, don't know another Mark House or how they have posted on here in the past, and don't care. I am not adverse to owning a gun as long as it is done responsibly.
badelectronics · March 26, 2020 at 9:13 am
@Sonny: That's my point. It is best guess. He is taking his best shot at it. Yeah, maybe will find out he made the biggest mistake ever. Or, he made the best choice ever. I think we'll know if he did the right thing if, God forbid, the Hospital starts overflowing. He made a choice.
Sonny Day · March 26, 2020 at 8:39 am
Northam just said to close schools for the semester instead of taking it a step at a time.
Sonny Day · March 26, 2020 at 8:37 am
Bad- I just said 14 days. The operational period could be 17 days or whatever is necessary.
badelectronics · March 26, 2020 at 7:26 am
@Sonny: Problem with 14 days is C-19 lives 17 days on surfaces. I think that Northam is erring on the side of caution. I think the minimum should be at least 31 days based on the above. Northam might have better information. He said let's quit? Come on.
DonkeyFarmer · March 26, 2020 at 12:40 am
What am I missing here? Is this the same Mark House that has been posting anti 2A comments the last 6 months? Maybe there are 2 different Mark House? Sorry Mark don't mean to offend you but are you the same person posting a few months ago?
Sonny Day · March 25, 2020 at 5:36 pm
Bad- I'm not a betting man. This situation could go either way.

The governor needs to institute operational periods, say 2 weeks for this school issue. As an operational period comes to an end, the situation is reevaluated and any necessary adjustments made. This could be either the virus threat is diminishing and we need to prepare to re-open schools, or the threat continues and we need to remain closed for 2 more weeks. This guy just said let's quit from the start.
Mark House · March 25, 2020 at 5:17 pm
Just called Clark Brothers of Bealeton and they are wiped out of stock for home defense except for some used guns. They said everyone in the county is wiped out!
badelectronics · March 25, 2020 at 3:56 pm
@Sonny, how about a gentlemen's bet: If the governor of Md ends up closing schools for the rest of the year, I win. If he doesn't, you win.
Sonny Day · March 25, 2020 at 3:56 pm
Demo- that's fine for public schools, who are way behind in so many ways under this governor's leadership. Unfortunately he also included private schools in his directive. Many of those schools are ahead of the curve and already using the internet to keep their students up to speed. Why should they be penalized?

I guess this poor excuse of a governor doesn't want those that are paying to make sure their kids get a good education, to show yet another embarrassment of his incompetence.
Mark House · March 25, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Thanks again Rusty! It's only a matter of time if this goes on longer then we hope before people will get very desperate. We know already what people will do for drugs.
DonkeyFarmer · March 25, 2020 at 3:27 pm
Rusty what I meant by instant is there is no mandated waiting period.
Rusty Wheel · March 25, 2020 at 3:10 pm
see question 2 and 3 here:

not instant could take quite a while even overnight
Mark House · March 25, 2020 at 2:48 pm
Thanks Rusty Wheel. No to all the questions on the test.

So again does anyone know if there are any dealers open. Nothing is listed in the article, and are they considered non-essential.
DonkeyFarmer · March 25, 2020 at 2:40 pm
Yeah it's a record of sale similar to a receipt. You have to do a background check but it's instant.

EO 53 does not designate firearm and ammunition retailers as essential businesses, they may continue to operate but must limit shoppers to no more than 10 per establishment.

So it looks like it will be up to the dealer if he/she says open. Google and call the gun shops and see if they are open.
Rusty Wheel · March 25, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Mark House · March 25, 2020 at 1:54 pm
Serious. You have to fill out a Virginia Firearms Transaction Record SP-65; Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473; These forms need to be filled out at the time of your purchase.

Misstated it as application, instead of VFTR and FFTR.
DonkeyFarmer · March 25, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Mark House are you serious or just trolling?
And what do you mean "apply for a weapon?" There is no application for a firearm.
Demosthenes · March 25, 2020 at 12:54 pm
One positive result of declaring the schools closed is that the schools now need to plan remote learning for all students to finish the year, as noted on a competing local news site. In the scenario where we keep re-evaluating and extending the closure without just going all-in, schools were dragging their feet on the move towards remote learning. Now they know they need to do it.
Mark House · March 25, 2020 at 12:15 pm
Anyone know if there are any gun dealers open to apply for and obtain a weapon?

Sonny Day · March 25, 2020 at 11:52 am
Bad- I don't have time to do your homework for you. Even the Washington Post has an article on how bad Obama's financial policies were. Here is an example:
"Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said the Obama administration's Wall Street bailout was not a success in a new interview, saying banks thrived and it paved the way for a populist like Donald Trump to win in 2016."

I just saw the Md. governor closed schools for a month, in which the situation will be reevaluated. That is how things should be handled, not just closing them for the rest of the year because our leader is incompetent.
badelectronics · March 25, 2020 at 11:05 am
"This governor is a joke to close schools for the rest of the year without waiting to see how things progress over the next couple of weeks."

Okay, let's do a thought experiment. How many weeks should he keep the schools closed for then. Should he open them up by Easter like the President has suggested?
badelectronics · March 25, 2020 at 10:57 am
Dear Sonny Day, out of curiosity, because I don't watch OANN, can you tell me to which Wall Street Supporters you are referring please?
Sonny Day · March 25, 2020 at 10:43 am
This governor is a joke to close schools for the rest of the year without waiting to see how things progress over the next couple of weeks.

The flu has been much worse so far than the coronavirus, but this poor excuse of a governor was too busy trying to keep people safe by taking guns away from law abiding citizens to do anything about it. From a March 6th news report: "In the 2019-2020 flu season so far, 782 influenza- and pneumonia-related deaths have been reported in Virginia, including three pediatric deaths."

People need to take the news media in stride and stay calm, maintain social distancing, frequently wash their hands, and self quarantine if they develop an illness.
Sonny Day · March 25, 2020 at 10:29 am
When Obama was giving taxpayer monies to his Wall St. supporters, political buddies, and countries all over the world; he set the standard for future presidents as not a word was said against him. Why not, other than perhaps one had a D next to his name and the other an R.
badelectronics · March 25, 2020 at 10:12 am
@DOnkeyFarmer: Why?
DonkeyFarmer · March 25, 2020 at 9:29 am
Give it a rest badelectronics.
badelectronics · March 25, 2020 at 7:01 am
DonkeyFarmer · March 24, 2020 at 8:25 pm
I'm not for bail-outs of anyone. But when the governments actions can cause a company to go under, then the government has a responsibility to help those corporations.
badelectronics · March 24, 2020 at 7:44 pm
@FalconDad: Both side are doing that. It is not one sided and your not so exact quote really made it sound that way. Listen, I don't want large companies to get any money. None, not a dime. They've been screwing all of us for years with tax breaks to my (and your) detriment. Why not send me a check? Why not send AngryBob who said he lost he job $10K? That'll help tide him over, but giving Boeing, GM, GE, Chrysler, etc, 500B so they can line their own pockets? Dude, I'm happy that the Democrats are trying to put a leash on that money. These large companies will figure a way to screw the employee pensions, 401ks, any benefits by even going bankrupt. Anything to get those tax dollars directly to the corporate-greed life-sucking executive leeches.
FalconDad · March 24, 2020 at 7:15 pm
@badelectronics, Yeah it’s not an exact quote but he did state on CNN that even he doesn’t understand why Schumer is trying to add Green New Deal items to the Coronavirus Stimulus package.
badelectronics · March 24, 2020 at 7:09 pm
FalconDad: I'm not sure Sen. Jones said that. This is what he was quoted as saying: "While he lamented "games on both sides" by Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Jones stressed, "I don't want there to be any misconceptions with these games that are being played with these votes back and forth -- there is a lot of work going on and a lot of progress is being made.""
FalconDad · March 24, 2020 at 1:39 pm
Hopeful News: Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) reports he voted with the Republicans for the stimulus package because he is sick of Schumer’s political games at the expense of the American workers that need those stimulus checks now. We just need a few more Democrats to tell Schumer where to go and the checks will come soon.
badelectronics · March 24, 2020 at 8:58 am
@Demosthenes: I think that regular folks that lose their work/job, lose their small businesses should get the help. I'm tired of hearing about The Boeing, GM, and etc. getting money and lining the pockets of executives. Huge stock buybacks. I don't blame congress for not letting Mnuchin have free reign over a $500B slush fund that will help his rich friends.
badelectronics · March 24, 2020 at 8:28 am
Brandonj: "People are gonna wish they had COVID-19 rather than face the economic onslaught that's going to arrive."

Let me see if I understand what you are saying. A bunch of people are going to get sick. A bunch of people are going to die. But the economic onslaught that we are going to experience is going to make those sick and dead folks pale in comparison to a recession or depression that we might experience.
badelectronics · March 24, 2020 at 8:20 am
I really enjoy reading posts from AngryBob.
Demosthenes · March 23, 2020 at 10:42 pm
Brandonj - You are right! I really do worry about all of the locally owned shops and restaurants in Warrenton that I enjoy visiting. I also like buying stuff off of Amazon, but I know that this disease is going to be a killer for the culture of small business that has mostly been successful in our area.

But I don't see how any of those businesses succeed whether or not the state government shuts down business or not. Based on the regulations, people can still shop on our Main Street in small groups, though restaurants are shut down outside of takeout / delivery. But how many people were spending their dollars on Main Street last week compared to a month or two ago? This government mandate is going to guarantee something that was almost certain anyway. I don't celebrate in that idea, but just recognize that this disease is going to put a lot of small business owners out of business.

The big question at this point is what kind of relief package we get from Congress, and whether they prioritize big businesses, small businesses, or workers. All are going to struggle, but if we run an extra 2 trillion in deficit this year, who should get that assistance?
brandonj · March 23, 2020 at 9:14 pm
Demosthenes, I think everyone agrees it is a medical emergency. I don't think everyone agrees on the one size fits all response. You cannot apply patterns based on exponential infection rates from massive Chinese cities (most are all 10M+) to rural and semi-rural parts of Virginia. It's a totally unfair comparison! To date the infection (and death) rate in VA has been fairly low. Yes it will spread, but that's how diseases (like the flu) work. We can't live under a rock forever, but most would agree that slowing it down was a totally legitimate initial response by the government.

What you and many politicians also fair to see are the many repercussions this will have on the small business community. Fauquier businesses probably won't be able to survive that long. Amazon will have no problem. But the mom and pop is SCREWED. People are gonna wish they had COVID-19 rather than face the economic onslaught that's going to arrive. No amount of helicopter money is going to save us from the stupidity at the state and federal level.
Demosthenes · March 23, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Savefauquiercounty2019 (and others) - You do realize this is a medical emergency, right? The input of teachers, who are great at solving algebraic equations or lecturing on the accomplishments of Caesar Augustus is kind of a mute point. I hope parents do a great job of teaching lessons to their children during all of this time off together, but I don't think the average parent understands the science behind the spread of an epidemic either. While this situation totally sucks on a million different levels, I believe that our medical professionals' warnings and the reaction from our politicians to limit the damage done by this disease to our population is all in line with our best interests. Or, I at least admit that I do not know enough about epidemics to say that they are wrong.
AngryBob · March 23, 2020 at 8:14 pm
Jerome: Only Obama could cure a virus.

Or so he'd claim.

I sure wouldn't want to be down range from Bernie's spittle right now.
Savefauquiercounty2019 · March 23, 2020 at 7:42 pm
Teachers were you as very educated professionals surveyed to gain your input?
Parents were you as knowing your child the best surveyed to gain your input?
Or were you all just spoken for by a controlling government?
Home school your children so they don't forfeit a year. Keep our society productive.
A controlling government dictates. Teachers are not cohesive, they get spoken for. Their input doesn't matter nor do parents. But yet both groups pay taxes to pay for THESE poor leaders. Get your children to the finish line together.
Jerome Fields · March 23, 2020 at 6:01 pm

The Trump administration has contradicted itself on coronavirus no fewer than 20 times in less than six weeks.

I feel safe and secure with this Administration in charge, don't you?
AngryBob · March 23, 2020 at 5:12 pm
Governor Blackface doing his part to tank the economy. It's the only way to get Biden in office.

In the meantime, I just lost my job.
Linda Ward · March 23, 2020 at 4:07 pm
How 211 Works

211 works a bit like 911. Calls to 211 are routed by the local telephone company to a local or regional calling center. The 211 center’s referral specialists receive requests from callers, access databases of resources available from private and public health and human service agencies, match the callers’ needs to available resources, and link or refer them directly to an agency or organization that can help.

Types of Referrals Offered by 211

Basic Human Needs Resources – including food and clothing banks, shelters, rent assistance, and utility assistance.
Physical and Mental Health Resources – including health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health resources, health insurance programs for children, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, and drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.
Work Support – including financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance and education programs.
Access to Services in Non-English Languages - including language translation and interpretation services to help non-English-speaking people find public resources (Foreign language services vary by location.)
Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities – including adult day care, community meals, respite care, home health care, transportation and homemaker services.
Children, Youth and Family Support – including child care, after-school programs, educational programs for low-income families, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring and protective services.
Suicide Prevention – referral to suicide prevention help organizations. Callers can also dial the following National Suicide Prevention Hotline numbers which are operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
1-888-SUICIDE (1-888-784-2433)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432) (Spanish)
Those who wish to donate time or money to community help organizations can also do so by dialing 211.
brandonj · March 23, 2020 at 3:45 pm
This decision was made in haste without sufficient information. But what do you expect from someone that makes an off the cuff comment about letting babies die?

The impact of this decision on the development of kids education and social well being is huge, let alone the economic impacts. At some point society has to decide how much social distancing we're willing to accept in order to "flatten the curve".
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