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Virginia business closures: What's staying open and what will close?

Governor Ralph Northam's executive order identifies some businesses that will have to close, others that will stay open, and leaves a gray area for interpretation.

NORFOLK, Va. — Starting Wednesday, Governor Northam’s newest executive order takes effect, mandating that some businesses close while allowing others to stay open. Here’s a rundown of where you can and can’t go starting March 24:

What's closed:

  1. Theaters, museums, concert venues, entertainment centers
  2. Gyms, recreation centers
  3. Beauty salons, barbershops, spas, tattoo parlors and other personal grooming and personal care locations
  4. Racetracks and racing facilities
  5. Indoor entertainment spaces, including "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."

What's open (and deemed "essential"):

  1. Grocery stores, pharmacies and other stores that sell food and drinks
  2. Medical, lab and vision retailers
  3. Electronics stores
  4. Auto stores and repair shops
  5. Home improvement and hardware stores
  6. Lawn and garden stores
  7. Beer wine and liquor stores
  8. Gas stations and convenience stores
  9. Healthcare facility retail areas
  10. Banks
  11. Pet stores
  12. Office supply stores
  13. Laundromats and dry-cleaning stores

The Gray Area

Governor Northam says "any brick and mortar retail business" not explicitly deemed essential in his order may continue to operate if it limits all in-person shopping to no more than 10 people per store and follows social distancing guidelines.

Northam says these restrictions are designed to slow the spread of coronavirus in Virginia by limiting interactions. Doctors stay this next step in social distancing is necessary.

“Social distancing and sheltering in place - those activities are really going to help us slow the spread of the virus so our healthcare system doesn’t get overwhelmed,” said Dr. Brian Martin, Director of the EVMS Masters in Public Health Program.

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