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Governor Northam tightens certain temporary restrictions due to COVID-19

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Here are the details of the amended Executive Order 67:

SIXTH AMENDED NUMBER SIXTY-SEVEN (2020) AND ORDER OF PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY SEVEN PHASE THREE TIGHTENING OF CERTAIN TEMPORARY RESTRICTIONS  DUE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Importance of the Issue
While the Commonwealth’s case count per capita and positivity rate remain comparatively low, all five health regions in the Commonwealth are experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases, positive tests, and hospitalizations. Virginia is averaging 1,500 new COVID-19 cases per day, up from a statewide peak of approximately 1,200 in May.

The statewide percent test positivity rate is at 6.5%, an increase from 4.3% approximately one month ago. All five health regions report a positivity rate of over five percent and hospitalizations have increased statewide by more than 35 percent in the last four weeks.


Case investigation interviews show a pattern of increased socialization with extended (nonhousehold) family members and friends. Recent scientific literature suggests indoor settings contribute to community transmission. Modeling data demonstrates that large gatherings substantially increase transmission of the virus. Although Virginians have done much to mitigate the spread of the virus, it is clear that additional measures are necessary. Accordingly, I order the following additional restrictions.

Directive
Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V of the Constitution of Virginia, by § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia, by any other applicable law, and in furtherance of Amended Executive Order 51 (2020), and by virtue of the authority vested in the State Health Commissioner pursuant to §§ 32.1-13, 32.1-20, and 35.1-10 of the Code of Virginia, the following is ordered:

A. BUSINESS RESTRICTIONS
1. All Businesses
Any businesses not listed in sections A or C should adhere to the Guidelines for All Business Sectors expressly incorporated by reference herein as best practices. This guidance is located here.

2. Restaurants, Dining Establishments, Food Courts, Breweries, Microbreweries, Distilleries, Wineries, and Tasting Rooms Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms may continue to operate delivery, take-out, and indoor and outdoor service, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors, and sector-specific guidance for restaurant and beverage services incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. No alcoholic beverage shall be sold, consumed, or possessed on premises after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. Alcoholic beverages may continue to be sold via delivery or take-out after 10 p.m., as permitted by existing regulations promulgated by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control
Authority.

b. Closure of all dining and congregation areas in restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5 a.m. Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms may continue to offer delivery and take-out services between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5 a.m.

c. All parties must be separated by at least six feet, including in the bar area. Tables at which dining parties are seated must be positioned six feet apart from other tables. If tables are not movable, parties must be seated at least six feet apart, including in the bar area.

d. Customers may be provided with self-service options. Facilities must provide hand sanitizer at food lines and require the use of barriers (e.g., gloves or deli paper) when employees or patrons touch common utensils. Food lines must be monitored by trained staff at all times of operation, and serving utensils must be changed hourly.

e. Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

f. Routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted every 60 minutes during operation. Tabletops must be cleaned in between patrons.

g. Bar seats and congregating areas of restaurants must be closed to patrons except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in the bar area (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating as long as a minimum of six feet is provided between parties at tables.

h. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

3. Farmers’ Markets
Farmers markets may continue to operate, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for farmers’ markets incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals who are not Family members, as defined below, at all times. Configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.

b. Employees and vendors in customer-facing indoor areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. If the market is outdoors and physical distancing can be maintained, then face coverings are not required.

c. Routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted during operation.

d. Farmers markets must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.

e. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

4. Brick and Mortar Retail Businesses Not Listed in Section C, Paragraph 1 (NonEssential Retail)
Any brick and mortar retail business not listed in section C, paragraph 1 below may continue to operate, provided such business complies with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidance for brick and mortar retail expressly incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals who are not Family members at all times.

b. Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

c. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

5. Fitness and Exercise Facilities
Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, sports facilities, and exercise facilities may continue to operate indoor and outdoor activities, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for fitness and exercise facilities expressly incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Patrons, members, and guests who are not Family members must remain at least ten feet apart during all activities except where necessary for the physical safety of an individual.

b. Instructors and all participants of group exercise and fitness classes who are not Family members must maintain at least ten feet of physical distancing between each other at all times, with the exception of swimming lessons, where parents or guardians may support a participant during class, and instructors may have contact with swimmers when necessary.

c. Occupancy must be limited to 75% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy.

d. The total number of attendees (including both participants and instructors) in all group exercise and fitness classes cannot exceed the lesser of 75% of the minimum occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy or 25 persons.

e. Hot tubs, spas, splash pads, spray pools, and interactive play features, except water slides, must be closed.

f. Outdoor and indoor swimming pools may be open, provided occupancy is limited to no more than 75% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy and all swimmers maintain at least ten feet of physical distance from others who are not Family members.

g. Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times. Lifeguards responding to distressed swimmers are exempt from this requirement.

h. Employers must ensure cleaning and disinfection of shared exercise equipment after each use.

i. Businesses must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.

j. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

6. Personal Care and Personal Grooming Services
Beauty salons, barbershops, spas, massage centers, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed may continue to operate, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for personal care and personal grooming services expressly incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Service providers must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between work stations.

b. Service providers and employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

c. Provide face coverings for clients or ask that clients bring a face covering with them, which they must wear during the service except when treating the areas of the nose and mouth.

d. Routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted every 60 minutes of operation. All personal care and personal grooming tools should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. If that is not possible, such items must be discarded.

e. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

7. Campgrounds
Privately-owned campgrounds as defined in § 35.1-1 of the Code of Virginia may continue to operate, provided they comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for campgrounds, which are expressly incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Employees working in public-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

b. Businesses must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.

c. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

8. Indoor Shooting Ranges
Indoor shooting ranges may continue to operate, provided they comply with the following requirements:

a. Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals who are not Family members at all times.

b. Employees working in customer-facing areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

c. Perform thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces every 60 minutes of operation while disinfecting all equipment between each customer use and prohibiting the use of equipment that cannot be thoroughly disinfected.

d. If any such indoor shooting range cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

9. Public Beaches
All public beaches as defined in § 10.1-705 of the Code of Virginia may remain open to individual and family recreational activity. All such public beaches must comply with the requirements below.

a. Require beachgoers to practice physical distancing of at least six feet between each person unless they are with Family members.

b. Prohibit gatherings of more than 25 people.

c. Implement and adhere to a cleaning schedule for all high-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal such as benches and railings that includes cleaning at least every two hours between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

d. Establish, train, and deploy a team to educate and promote compliance with beach rules and refer cases of noncompliance to public safety personnel, if appropriate.

e. Establish procedures for temporary beach closure or access limitations in the event of overcrowding.

f. Ensure adequate personal protective equipment for all lifeguards.

g. Perform a disinfectant-level cleaning of all public restrooms every two hours with an EPA-approved disinfectant by staff or volunteers trained to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on cleaning and disinfecting.

h. For chair and umbrella rental companies, require vendors to set up chairs and umbrellas for customers, maintaining at least six feet of distance between groups, and to clean equipment between rentals following Environmental Protection Agency and CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting.

i. Post signage at all public access points to the beaches and other “cluster prone” areas providing health reminders regarding physical distancing, gathering prohibitions, options for high-risk individuals, and staying home if sick. Messaging must be specific to the location.

j. Locality shall provide daily metrics to its local health department to include beach closures, complaint incidents, police reports of violence related to enforcement, and the number of reports of noncompliance to be submitted each Monday.

k. All employees and contract workers must wear a cloth face covering when not able to practice physical distancing following CDC Use of Face Cloth Coverings guidance.

l. Employees and contract workers must have access to soap and water or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, and locality should provide best hygiene practices to employees on a regular basis, including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and practicing respiratory etiquette protocols.

m. Locality shall require all employees and contract workers to take their temperature before reporting to work and direct such employees not to report to work if they have a fever of over 100.4 degrees, have experienced chills, or have been feverish in the last 72 hours.

n. Follow enhanced workplace safety best practices outlined in the Guidelines for All Business Sectors.

10. Racetracks and Speedways
Outdoor racetracks may remain open for racing events, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for racetracks expressly incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. The event must be held at locations with the ability to restrict access (i.e., barriers and gating).

b. All individuals must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between themselves and other participants who are not Family members.

c. Food services must adhere to the sector-specific guidance for restaurant and beverage services and camping areas must adhere to the sector-specific guidance for campgrounds.

d. The total number of patrons cannot exceed the lesser of 30% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable, or 250 persons.

11. Large Outdoor Amusement Parks and Zoos
Large Outdoor Amusement Parks and Zoos are outdoor amusement parks and zoos comprised of at least 25 acres of land that contain one or more permanent amusement exhibits or rides and that host at least 500,000 visitors annually.

a. Total occupancy for the venue must not exceed 50% of the combined occupancy load on the certificates of occupancy for all areas of the venue.

b. Install visible markers for queue lines that separate people by six feet of physical distance.

c. Create a guest flow plan of modified queue lines into and within the facility. Determine areas likely to become bottlenecks or pinch points and adjust guest flow accordingly.

d. Patrons must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

e. Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

f. Venues must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.

g. Venues should screen patrons for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission to the venue. Patrons should be asked if they are currently experiencing fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) or a sense of having a fever, a new cough that cannot be attributed to another health condition, new shortness of breath that cannot be attributed to another health condition, new chills that cannot be attributed to another health condition, a new sore throat that cannot be attributed to another health condition, or new muscle aches that cannot be attributed to another health condition or specific activity (such as physical exercise). Anyone experiencing symptoms should not be permitted in the facility. Screenings should be conducted in accordance with applicable privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.

h. Any ride, attraction, or theatre at an amusement park that is located indoors, or has queue lines indoors, must remain closed. The amusement park may open indoor restaurants, concessions, gifts shops or retail spaces, and restrooms. On-site retail, recreation and fitness, cabins, and food establishments must follow the requirements and guidelines specific to those establishments.

i. All private bookings are limited to no more than 25 people.

j. If any such venue cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

12. Entertainment and Amusement Businesses
Performing arts venues, concert venues, sports venues, movie theaters, museums, aquariums, fairs, carnivals, public and private social clubs, botanical gardens, entertainment centers, historic horse racing facilities, bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, trampoline parks, arts and craft facilities, escape rooms, amusement parks and zoos not covered in paragraph 11, and other places of indoor public amusement may open provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines, which are expressly incorporated by reference
herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. The total number of attendees (including both participants and spectators) cannot exceed the lesser of 30% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable, or 250 persons.

b. All private bookings must comply with section B, paragraph 1.

c. Install visible markers for queue lines that separate people by six feet of physical distance.

d. Create a guest flow plan of modified queue lines into and within the facility. Determine areas likely to become bottlenecks or pinch points and adjust guest flow accordingly.

e. Ten feet of physical distancing is required between parties at all establishments with physical activity, singing, or cheering; six feet of physical distancing is required in other venues.

f. If interactive exhibits are in service, post signage to discourage congregating and encourage the use of hand sanitizer. Provide hand sanitizer stations around any interactive exhibits. Discontinue any interactive exhibits that pose a risk for children to place items in their mouths.

g. Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of high contact areas and hard surfaces, including check out stations and payment pads, store entrance push/pull pads, door knobs/handles, dining tables/chairs, light switches, handrails, restrooms, guest lockers, floors, and equipment.

h. Where possible, install plexiglass barriers in front of commonly used point-of-sale or guest service stations. i. Employees working in customer-facing areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

j. Businesses must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons to the entering into place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.

k. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

13. Recreational Sports
Indoor and outdoor recreational sports activities are permitted, provided participants and organizers of recreational sports activities comply with the following requirements:

a. The total number of spectators cannot exceed the lesser of 30% of the occupancy load of the certificate of occupancy for the venue, if applicable, or 25 spectators per field. Races or marathons may have up to 250 participants, provided staggered starts separate runners into groups of 25 or less.

b. Conduct screening of coaches, officials, staff, and players for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission to the venue/facility.

For more information on how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread associated with indoor and outdoor recreational sports activities, consult the Virginia Department of Health’s “Considerations for Recreational Sports” webpage, which can be found here.

14. Enforcement
Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines appear here. The Virginia Department of Health shall have authority to enforce section A of this Order. Any willful violation or refusal, failure, or neglect to comply with this Order, issued pursuant to § 32.1-13 of the Code of Virginia, is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to § 32.1-27 of the Code of Virginia. The State Health Commissioner may also seek injunctive relief in circuit court for violation of this Order, pursuant to § 32.1-27 of the Code of Virginia. In addition, any agency with regulatory authority over a business listed in section A may enforce this Order as to that business to the extent permitted by law.

B. OTHER RESTRICTIONS
1. All Public and Private In-Person Gatherings All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 25 individuals are prohibited. The presence of more than 25 individuals performing functions of their employment or assembled in an educational instructional setting is not a “gathering.” A “gathering” includes, but is not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events,
whether they occur indoors or outdoors.

Individuals may attend religious services of more than 25 people subject to the following requirements:

a. Individuals attending religious services must be at least six feet apart when seated and must practice proper physical distancing at all times. Family members, as defined below, may be seated together.

b. Mark seating and common areas where attendees may congregate in six-foot increments to maintain physical distancing between persons who are not Family members.

c. Any items used to distribute food or beverages must be disposable, used only once and discarded.

d. Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted prior to and following any religious service.

e. Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted to participate in the religious service.

f. Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high-risk individuals, and staying home if sick.

g. Individuals attending religious services must wear cloth face coverings in accordance with Amended Executive Order 63, Order of Public Health Emergency Five.

h. If religious services cannot be conducted in compliance with the above requirements, they must not be held in-person.

Further, any social gathering held in connection with a religious service is subject to the public and private in-person gatherings restriction in section B, paragraph 1. Additional suggested guidance can be found here.

2. Institutions of Higher Education
Institutions of higher education shall comply with all applicable requirements under the Phased Guidance of Virginia Forward and the “Guidelines for All Business Sectors.” Any postsecondary provider offering vocational training in a profession regulated by a Virginia state agency/board must also comply with any sector-specific guidelines relevant to that profession to the extent possible under the regulatory training requirements. Such professions may include but are not necessarily limited to aesthetician, barber, cosmetologist, massage therapist, nail technician, and practical nurse.

3. Overnight Summer Camps
Overnight services of summer camps, as defined in § 35.1-1 of the Code of Virginia, must remain closed.

4. Enforcement
Violations of section B paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of this Order shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia.

C. REQUIREMENTS FOR ESSENTIAL RETAIL BUSINESSES

1. Essential Retail Businesses

Essential retail businesses as set out below may continue to remain open during their normal business hours.

a. 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;

b. Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;

c. Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;

d. Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;

e. Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;

f. Lawn and garden equipment retailers;

g. Beer, wine, and liquor stores;

h. Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;

i. Retail located within healthcare facilities;

j. Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;

k. Pet and feed stores;

l. Printing and office supply stores; and

m. Laundromats and dry cleaners.

They must comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors expressly incorporated by reference and linked here. Employers are required to provide face coverings to employees. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

2. Enforcement
Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines appear here. The Virginia Department of Health shall have authority to enforce section C of this Order. Any willful violation or refusal, failure, or neglect to comply with this Order, issued pursuant to § 32.1-13 of the Code of Virginia, is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to § 32.1-27 of the Code of Virginia. The State Health Commissioner may also seek injunctive relief in circuit court for violation of this Order, pursuant to § 32.1-27 of the Code of Virginia. In addition, any agency with regulatory authority over a business listed in section C may enforce this Order as to that business to the extent permitted by law.

D. CONTINUED GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION

1. State Agencies
All relevant state agencies shall continue to work with all housing partners to execute strategies to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Virginians experiencing homelessness during this pandemic and to assist Virginians in avoiding evictions or foreclosures.

2. Face Coverings
The waiver of § 18.2-422 of the Code of Virginia is continued, so as to allow the wearing of a medical mask, respirator, or any other protective face covering for the purpose of facilitating the protection of one’s personal health in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency declared by the State Health Commissioner on February 7, 2020, and reflected in Amended Executive Order 51 (2020) declaring a state of emergency in the Commonwealth. Amended Executive Order 51 (2020) remains so amended. This waiver is effective as of March 12, 2020 and will remain in
effect until 11:59 p.m. on March 12, 2021, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Further, where a mandatory business sector requirement in this Order conflicts with a requirement to wear a face covering in Amended Executive Order 63 and Order of Public Health Emergency Five (2020), the business sector-specific requirement governs.

3. Family Members
“Family members” include blood relations, adopted, step, and foster relations, as well as all individuals residing in the same household or visiting such household pursuant to a child custody arrangement or order. Family members are not required to maintain physical distancing while in their homes.

4. Exceptions
Nothing in the Order shall limit: (a) the provision of health care or medical services; (b) access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; (c) the operations of the media; (d) law enforcement agencies; or (e) the operation of government.

Effective Date of the Executive Order
This Order shall be effective 12:00 a.m., Monday, November 16, 2020, and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive order.
Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Seal of the Office of the State Health Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 13th day of November, 2020.

Ralph S. Northam, Governor
______________________________________
M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA
State Health Commissioner
Attest:
Kelly Thomasson, Secretary of the Commonwealth

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Democratics to hold assembled caucus to select 29th District House of Delegate candidate

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The 29th District House of Delegates Nominating Committee will hold an assembled caucus on June 10, 2021, from 5:00-6:00 pm at the Rotary Shelter in Jim Barnett Park, Winchester, VA for the purpose of selecting the Democratic Candidate for the 29th District Democrat Candidate.

Candidates who seek the nomination as the 29th District Democrat Candidate must file the ELECT-511 with The 29th District House of Delegates Nominating Committee postmarked not later than 5 pm June 8, 2021, at H29 Delegate Selection, P.O. Box 2215, Winchester, VA 22604.

Filing forms may be found at the State Board of Elections website at https://www.elections.virginia.gov.

This event WILL BE CANCELLED if the candidacies are uncontested (by close of business June 8th). More information here.


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LFCC recognizes 125 registered nursing graduates in pinning ceremony

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LFCC honored 125 newly-minted registered nurses during a virtual pinning ceremony on Saturday. There were 97 RN graduates on the Middletown Campus and 28 on the Fauquier Campus.

For the second straight year, the Covid-19 pandemic meant the ceremony could not take place in person on each campus. However, nursing graduates who took part in drive-thru diploma walks last week were able to be pinned in person at that time.

During the virtual celebration, LFCC President Kim Blosser told the graduating nurses the college is proud of them.

“You have persevered, you have completed this program, you have done things no other nursing student has probably ever done in their program,” she said. “Many of you have been part of our vaccination clinics. You have treated covid patients on your clinicals. You have done things that will serve you well in your nursing career. We are so, so proud of all that you have been able to accomplish.”


Teena Stevic was the class speaker for the Fauquier Campus cohort of RN students.

“Little did we know that halfway through our first year, the world around us would be greatly impacted by a pandemic and our education would change [to] an almost immediate transition into online schooling,” she said. “Labs, clinicals, were canceled. Again, [we were] wondering, ‘what have we signed up for? Will we be able to do this? How are we going to learn to care for patients when we’re learning online?’”

Thankfully, LFCC’s nursing professors reassured their students, “You can do this,” Stevic said.

“We found ourselves at the frontline of the pandemic, working with contact tracing and later, when vaccines became available, we administered vaccines at the hospital, first to health care workers and later, to residents in our community,” she said.

Rather than discouraging them from their calling, the pandemic highlighted “the determination, the courage and the adaptability” of the nursing students, faculty and hospital partners, said Chad Godfrey, who was the class speaker for the Middletown Campus’s nursing program.

“For some of you, this is your first college experience; others, like myself, took a bit longer to discover nursing,” said Godfrey, a U.S. Army veteran. “Regardless of our backgrounds or the paths that we traveled getting here, it is our calling to care for others that unites us.”

The pinning ceremony was also a chance to present awards, including the Outstanding Graduate for each campus.

Fauquier Campus nursing program lead Amanda Brooks said the award goes to the student with the highest grade-point average for nursing courses only. This year, the campus had three students who graduated with a 4.0 GPA: Stephanie Hoshauer, Colleen Manfre and Tyler Willis.

“These students have been mentors to their classmates, have juggled families, school, work and volunteer time, and are always willing to lend a hand to their fellow classmates,” said Dr. Brooks.

Four Outstanding Graduates, all with 4.0 GPAs, were named on the Middletown Campus: Donna Kelly, Francis Atangan, Emma Delaney and Christopher Williams.

“They have demonstrated professionalism, conscientiousness, critical thinking, and above all, determination to overcome obstacles,” said Kristina Simpson, nursing lead in Middletown and the director of health professions at LFCC. “They have been leaders and have gone above and beyond to ensure their success both in the classroom and in clinical settings.”

The following awards were also presented during the pinning ceremony:

  • Spirit of Nursing Award, Fauquier: Michael Williams
  • Spirit of Nursing Award, Middletown: Chad Godfrey, Francis Atangan
  • Transcendence Award, Fauquier: Irene Mburu
  • Transcendence Award, Middletown: Gabby Piteira and Shandi Stanford

To watch the pinning ceremony, visit www.lfcc.edu/commencement.

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Governor Northam urges Virginians to participate in “It’s Our Shot, Virginia Statewide Day of Action”

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Only May 17, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam reminded Virginians about the “It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action” taking place tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18 to help Virginia residents make a plan to get vaccinated. Virginians are encouraged to get involved in their communities by serving as trusted messengers and amplifying the Commonwealth’s vaccination efforts.

“I’m proud of Virginia’s vaccination progress, which has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in our Commonwealth to its lowest level in over a year,” said Governor Northam. “Putting this pandemic behind us once and for all requires everyone doing their part—that means making sure you are informed, getting your free COVID-19 vaccine, and helping your friends, family members, and neighbors make a plan to get vaccinated.”

To participate in the It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action, Virginians are invited to:

Get your shot and help others make a plan to get vaccinated. Getting a shot has never been easier—vaccines are readily available at many supermarket pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, local health department clinics, and state-run Community Vaccination Centers. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov, call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), or text your zip code to GETVAX (428829). Call center representatives are available from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All Virginia residents ages 12 and over are eligible to get vaccinated.



Share your vaccination story on social media. Add a Facebook profile photo frame, upload a backdrop to your next virtual meeting, and record a short 30-60 second video highlighting why you chose to get vaccinated using the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.

Become a COVID Community Ambassador. Ambassadors will help share COVID-19 updates and materials from top experts and sources with their networks and in their local community. Sign up to become a COVID Community Ambassador here.

Fight misinformation. Do you want to get the facts and counter common vaccine myths? Do you want to better understand COVID-19 vaccines, how they are made, and why they work? Do you need help talking to your employees, loved ones, or family members about the vaccines? Even if you aren’t a COVID Community Ambassador, you can still share important information with your community by visiting the resource library and downloading the mythbusters toolkit here.

Virginians also are encouraged to visit any of the Commonwealth’s Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. to get vaccinated. CVCs will offer both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and all sites are now taking walk-ups, so no appointment is required. Virginia’s CVCs include:

Prince William County: former Gander Mountain, 14041 Worth Avenue, Woodbridge, Virginia 22192

Portsmouth​​: Portsmouth Sportsplex, 1610 Summit Avenue Recreation Center, Portsmouth, Virginia 23704

Suffolk: Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, 100 East Constance Road, Suffolk, Virginia 23434

Petersburg: Virginia State University (Multi-Purpose Center), 20809 2nd Avenue, Petersburg, Virginia 23803

Hampton: Hampton Coliseum, 1000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Virginia 23666

Fairfax: former Lord & Taylor, 7950 Tysons Corner Center, McLean​, Virginia 22102

Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th Street, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

Newport News: 13785 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, Virginia 23602

Since March, the Commonwealth has deployed Educate Vaccinate organizers to provide culturally competent vaccination information and ensure equitable, easy access to vaccines in many communities hit hard by the pandemic. Educate Vaccinate organizers are on the ground in the cities of Richmond, Hampton, Roanoke, and Danville, and Prince William County, Henrico County, Nottoway County, Buckingham County, Prince Edward County, Bland County, and Wythe County.

If you are interested in joining the Educate Vaccinate team, apply online here or email employment@educatevaccinate.com to learn more about paid opportunities to serve your community.

Virginia has administered over 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, representing over 63 percent of Virginia’s adult population. Governor Northam remains confident the Commonwealth will meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.

Additional information about COVID-19 vaccinations in Virginia is available here.

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Two-vehicle collision Sunday on Rt. 55 East leaves Front Royal man dead

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Virginia State Police Trooper W. Diberardine is investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash in Warren County. The crash occurred Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 2:08 p.m. along Route 55 (John Marshall Hwy.) just East of Greenfield Road.

A 2001 Ford Ranger was traveling West on Rte. 55 when it crossed a double solid yellow centerline and collided head-on with an Eastbound 2011 Ford F-150.

The driver of the Ranger, Austin E. Howard, 65, of Front Royal, VA, died at the scene of the crash as a result of his injuries. Howard was wearing a seatbelt.

The driver of the F-150, a 42-year-old male, of Annapolis, MD, suffered minor injuries and was treated on the scene. The male was wearing a seatbelt.



A passenger in the F-150, a 7-year-old male, suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The male was wearing a seatbelt.

The crash remains under investigation.

(From a Virginia State Police Press Release)

 

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Front Royal Rotary distributes $20,000 in scholarship funds to four local high school graduates

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Four county high school students equally shared $20,000 in scholarship money, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Front Royal. The checks and certificates were distributed Friday, May 14, at Rotary’s regular weekly meeting at the Villa Avenue Community Center.

The cash awards – most of it raised by the club’s annual golf tournament which this year comes around on May 27 at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club – went to, in order of presentation: Mackenzi Bates, Morgan Berry, John “Jackson” Pond, and Michael Kelly.

Front Royal Rotary scholarship winners, left to right: John ‘Jackson’ Pond, Morgan Berry, Mackenzi Bates, and Michael Kelly. Each received a check for $5,000. Royal Examiner Photo by Roger Bianchini

Dr. Robert Meltvedt, chairman of the Rotary Club’s Scholarship Committee for 21 years of its 22-year history, said at the scholarship presentations by club President Derrick Leisure that some $195,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund over the history of his committee. Each year, local high schools, including private institutions, are invited to nominate students for the scholarships.


The four teenagers, two girls, and two boys were on hand to receive their awards, along with their parents, each giving short speeches of thanks after describing their future ambitions as they proceed to their chosen colleges.

Pond graduated at the top of his senior class at Warren County High School and said he was aiming at becoming a career officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. He will attend the Coast Guard Academy in the fall.

Bates, described as an exemplary student, well respected by her peers and teachers at WCHS, plans a career in nursing and will attend Shenandoah University.

Skyline High grad Berry is off to the University of Virginia in the fall, planning to major in Global Development Studies. Her long-term goal is to obtain a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

And Kelly, a history buff graduating from WCHS, aims at majoring in Political Science at the College of Charleston, following which he says he “aims to make the world a better place.”

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Governor Northam lifts mask mandate to align with CDC guidance, announces Virginia to end COVID-19 mitigation measures on May 28

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On May 14, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam lifted Virginia’s universal indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Governor Northam also announced that Virginia will ease all distancing and capacity restrictions on Friday, May 28, two weeks earlier than planned. The updates to Virginia’s mask policy are reflected in amendments to Executive Order Seventy-Two and will become effective at midnight tonight along with previously announced changes to mitigation measures.

Virginia is able to take these steps as a result of increasing vaccination rates, dramatically declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and statewide test positivity rates, and revised federal guidelines.

“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” said Governor Northam. “That’s why we can safely move up the timeline for lifting mitigation measures in Virginia. I strongly urge any Virginian who is not yet vaccinated to do so—the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. The message is clear: vaccinations are how we put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and get back to being with the people we love and doing the things we have missed.”

The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.


The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Governor Northam will take executive action to ensure individuals have the option to wear masks up to and after that date. Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.

To encourage all Virginians to take advantage of available COVID-19 vaccines, Governor Northam is inviting Virginians to participate in the “It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action” on Tuesday, May 18.

Virginians can take part in the Day of Action by:

• Signing up to be a COVID Community Ambassador. Ambassadors will help share COVID-19 updates and materials from top experts and sources with their networks and in their local community. Sign up to become a COVID Community Ambassador here.

• Sharing your vaccination story on social media. Add a Facebook profile photo frame, upload a backdrop to your next virtual meeting, or record a short video highlighting why you chose to get vaccinated using the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.

Virginia has administered nearly 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, representing over 63 percent of Virginia’s adult population. Governor Northam has said he remains confident the Commonwealth will meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and the percent of positive tests continue to fall throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia is currently reporting a positivity rate of 3.5 percent, which is lower than at any time since the start of the pandemic. The Commonwealth’s seven-day average of new cases is 555, the lowest number in over 10 months. Virginia is currently recording its lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations at 684. For additional data on COVID-19 on Virginia and vaccination efforts, please see the Virginia Department of Health’s data dashboards.

Virginians over the age of 12 can schedule a vaccination appointment by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Beginning Monday, May 17, the call center hours will change to 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

The full text of Seventh Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine, which takes effect on May 15, can be found here.

The full text of Executive Order Seventy-Nine, which takes effect on Friday, May 28, can be found here.

Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

 

CDC: Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

 

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Upcoming Events

May
19
Wed
12:00 pm Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
May 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Many business owners struggled with the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020. Now, more than a year later, many of those same business owners have turned chaos into creativity finding new opportunities for growth. The Fauquier[...]
May
22
Sat
10:00 am Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn in Historic Area. Connect with the park’s landscape and get a taste of the skills you need to thrive in the backcountry. Participants will join experienced outdoor skills instructor Tim[...]
10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]
May
23
Sun
10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 23 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]
May
30
Sun
10:00 am Stroll Along the Stream: Riparia... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Stroll Along the Stream: Riparia... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 30 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Stroll Along the Stream: Riparian Buffer Exploration @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at Backcountry Trailhead. Explore the Gap Run’s unique ecosystem called a “riparian buffer,” the zone of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation alongside waterways. Discover the amazing ways our native plants protect water quality and[...]
Jun
5
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10:00 am Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Boston Mill Road Trail near Park Office. Learn how fences and tree plantings improve water quality at Sky Meadows State Park. Stop by our Explorer Outpost table along the Boston Mill Road Trail where kids[...]
10:00 am National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the intersection of the Boston Mill Road and James Ball trails. Get your hands dirty as we work to improve the hiking experience on James Ball Trail. Discover how uncontrolled water erodes topsoil,[...]
11:00 am Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 11:00 am – Jun 6 @ 11:15 am
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Overnight Parking lot. Ready to try backcountry camping? Spend 24 hours in nature learning backcountry skills and survival techniques with professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch. With Sky Meadows’ Backcountry Campground as the[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 5 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]
Jun
12
Sat
11:00 am VA State Parks History and Cultu... @ Sky Meadows State Park
VA State Parks History and Cultu... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 12 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
VA State Parks History and Culture: Water Powered Mills @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Over 50 streams and waterways crisscross Fauquier County, once powering nearly 300 mills and providing an important service to local farmers such as Abner Settle. Located in close proximity to Sky Meadows, along[...]