A registration/kick-off event for HALO Read (Helping All Little One’s Read) will be held Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, from 1-3 pm at the Lions Shelter #1 next to Fantasy Land in Front Royal. Families of children aged 0-5 should plan to attend to enjoy a fun-filled, socially distanced experience while registering for this free program (which is open to all Warren County residents). Administered by the Warren Coalition (in partnership with Warren County Public Schools and WHAT MATTERS), HALO Read is an affiliate program of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Each month, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails a high-quality, age-appropriate book to all registered children, addressed to them, at no cost to the child’s family. The Imagination Library provides the infrastructure of the core program including managing the secure central database for the Book Order System and coordinating book selections and wholesale purchasing. It also incurs the cost of the program’s administrative expenses and coordinates the monthly mailings.
Many groups and individuals work hard behind the scenes to make special deliveries possible for each child. The Warren Coalition is the affiliate partner charged with processing registrations and fundraising for the approximately $25 in postage fees to fund each child’s book per year, totaling $125 for the entire program from birth to age 5 (just over two dollars per month). Sponsors and donors are needed to ensure that every infant-preschooler in the county can have access to this impactful program implemented by The Dollywood Foundation, which was created in 1988 by the ever-generous Dolly Parton.
At the kickoff event, the Warren Coalition will also recognize and thank the founding sponsors, who made bringing this fantastic program to children in Warren County possible.
Founding Sponsors Include
Rotary District 7570–through a matching collaborative district grant in partnership with the Rotary Club of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Rotary Club of Warren County, and Rotary Club of Front Royal (to sponsor 100 newborns through the entire five-year program while also providing literacy materials to the Front Royal Light up Academy and Maisha Home for Children in Uganda)
Middleburg Library Advisory Board
Many Generous Individual Donors.
To become a sponsor, donor, or to make your financial contribution a part of the Rotary District 7570 matching grant, simply log onto www.haloread.com. Through HALO Read, donors are also given an option to contribute an additional small donation of any amount to support literacy abroad, if they choose to expand their generosity internationally.
About the Registration Event at Fantasy Land Lion’s Shelter on 11/22/20
Attendees at the event will be required to wear masks and the event will follow social distancing practices. Attendance of the event is not required for registration for the program. Registration forms can also be picked up at the Warren County Community Center at 538 Villa Avenue in Front Royal and mailed back to PO Box 2058 Front Royal, VA 22630. Learn more about Warren Coalition and HALO Read at www.haloread.com (please note, registration is not available online, an application must be filled out and mailed to Warren Coalition’s PO Box).
About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation has mailed well over 100 million free books in Australia, Canada, The Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States. The Imagination Library mails more than 1.4 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to registered children from birth to age five. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading, inspiring them to dream. The impact of the program has been widely researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit imaginationlibrary.com.
About Warren County Community Health Coalition – Warren Coalition
Warren Coalition is a nonprofit agency established in 1994 to help fill the gaps in health care and substance abuse awareness to the community. The Coalition began under the guidance of Warren Memorial Hospital as an outreach project but has since grown and was incorporated in 2001. The office is currently located in the Warren County Community Center. Their mission is to make Warren County a safe, healthy, and drug-free community through many programs and in collaboration with 15+ member agencies.
Are you or your group in need of a free video or article that could be created to help market your cause or event? Or do you have an interesting story to share? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and YouTube. They are also shared with the Royal Examiner online (most are distributed in their daily email blast to thousands of local residents). Sign up for the Royal Examiner at www.royalexaminer.com and check out the “WHAT MATTERS Warren” tab under “Features.”
Learn more about Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at www.whatmattersw2.com–check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or email@example.com.
About WHAT MATTERS:
WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent donated goes to the cause. If you’d like to get involved with her local or international nonprofit work or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit www.whatmattersw2.com. Be sure to check out the “projects” tab for her current WHAT MATTERS Initiatives.
Town Talk: A conversation with William Huck – 2nd Annual Turkey Egg Hunt and more
The first-ever Turkey Egg Hunt in Front Royal last year was a big success. William Huck of C&C Frozen Treats says to look for the 2nd Annual Turkey Egg Hunt to be even bigger and better. In this Town Talk, Huck shares the details of the Turkey Egg Hunt, the Christmas Parade, and the Christmas Bazaar, all happening in Downtown Front Royal.
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
The Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce announces the 2020 Christmas Parade. The festive annual event will be held on Saturday, December 5th at 4 p.m.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s parade route has been changed to allow for better social distancing and to prevent crowding in the village commons (gazebo) area. Parade line-up begins at 3 pm on Stonewall Drive. The parade will turn onto Commerce Ave. and proceed to 8th Street, disbanding at Bing Crosby Stadium.
“We’re excited to once again coordinate this wonderful community event,” said Niki Foster, President of the Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce. “Much thought, consideration, and research have gone into the decision to move forward with this year’s Christmas Parade. Given the current pandemic, we have made adjustments to help provide a safer experience for attendees. We encourage everyone to practice social distancing and comply with all CDC guidelines while enjoying this festive local activity. Holiday activities like the Christmas Parade are a great way to connect business and community. We hope everyone will come out and enjoy all the wonder and excitement of the Christmas Parade safely.”
Legal state marijuana sales could overtake illegal trade by year four
Virginia’s commercial marijuana market could yield between $30 million to $60 million in tax revenue in the first year, according to a new report by the state’s legislative watchdog agency.
The Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission released a report this month that explores how the commonwealth could legalize marijuana. The agency, however, did not give its take on legalization. Shortly after the report was released Gov. Ralph Northam announced that “it’s time to legalize marijuana in Virginia.”
The state’s tax revenue could grow to between $150 million to more than $300 million by the fifth year of sales, according to JLARC. The revenue depends on the tax and demand of marijuana products.
Most states with commercial marijuana markets tax the product between 20%-30% percent of the retail sales value, JLARC said. Colorado, one of the most mature and successful U.S. marijuana markets, currently has a tax rate close to 30%, showing that while the tax may be high, the market could still be successful, said Justin Brown, senior associate director at JLARC.
“But in reality, there’s no magic rate that you have to use, and I think that’s one thing that the other states’ experience shows,” Brown said.
Virginia decriminalized marijuana possession earlier this year. The substance is still not legal, but possessing up to an ounce results in a $25 civil penalty and no jail time. In the past, possessing up to half an ounce could lead to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
If the Old Dominion makes marijuana legal, it will follow in the footsteps of 15 states.
The legal marijuana market should overtake the illegal market in marijuana sales by the fourth year of legalization, JLARC said. The legal market could likely have two-thirds of sales by the fifth year of legalization. JLARC looked at the reported use rates compared to the use rates of other states to determine this figure, Brown said.
“In the first year the minority of sales will be through the legal commercial market,” Brown said. “But then over time, particularly if supply and demand works out, you’ll capture at least the majority of the full market through the legal market.”
JLARC said that if the General Assembly legalizes marijuana, the total sales tax would come out to around 25%-30%. This figure also came from the analysis of other states and how they taxed marijuana.
The industry also could create over several years between 11,000 to more than 18,000 jobs, JLARC said. Most positions would pay below Virginia’s median wage.
The revenue would cover the cost of establishing a market by year three, according to JLARC.
Northam said in a press release last week that his administration is working with lawmakers to finalize related legislation in preparation for the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session, which starts Jan. 13.
By Sam Fowler
Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.
‘Honk and Wave’ Parade for Brycen Jennings brings out support from community
On Saturday, November 21, 2020, the Front Royal community came out to ‘Honk and Wave’ at Brycen Jennings. Brycen is a young boy that has been diagnosed with Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a rare genetic disease that can progress to a serious and life-threatening condition.
This parade was to show Brycen how much he is loved. Special thanks to Midway Towing, Front Royal Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, and the Warren County Fire and Rescue for supporting this event.
After the parade, Brycen and his family headed to the Fireball Arcade playing the pinball games. Lots of family time with laughing and having fun. To end the day, Brycen stopped by Steve and Pam Foster’s Gospel Barn to enjoy music, testimony, and Amazing Grace, the Mule. Thanks to Steve Foster and the others for praying for Brycen. The family is thanking God for his healing every day!
In just a few weeks Brycen will be going back to Minnesota Children’s Hospital to be admitted to undergo Chemotherapy and Gene Therapy Infusion. He will be there for a few months. What he is about to undergo is something much different from what he has had to this point, and we ask that you pray for his body to be strong and able to withstand these treatments, without any complications.
‘Save Happy Creek Coalition’ hopes to build momentum from gathering of about 100 citizens Saturday – including one on the inside of town council
On a cloudy but pleasantly warm Saturday afternoon, November 21st, approximately 100 people over a two-hour period gathered on the banks of Happy Creek near the Prospect Street Bridge to protest the continuation of planned Town floodwater management and stormwater disposal work between Prospect and South Streets on the Town of Front Royal’s southside.
In addition to a protest of the plan to install large rocks known as “riprap” in place of cleared vegetation along the bank and a naturally formed level shelf at the creek’s edge that helps disburse and absorb floodwater, the gathering was utilized by the sponsoring “Save Happy Creek Coalition” of nine environmentally friendly local and regional organizations as an informational meeting explaining problems with the Town’s plan (See the full list of the “Save Happy Creek Coalition” at story’s end).
The essential problem is that the plan to clear most or all vegetation from the 1300-foot stretch of Happy Creek’s bank and shelf between Prospect and South Streets to be replaced by large rocks, flies in the face of all contemporary “riparian buffer” stream management theory, Shenandoah Riverkeeper Mark Frondorf told one of three informational groupings of about 25 people per current Coronavirus Phase 3 pandemic social gathering guidelines. The other two groupings of 25 got the same message from Tree Steward representatives.
Fortunately, one current Town official, Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock, was present to hear the explanation of fundamental issues with the Town’s plan in the Shenandoah Riverkeeper’s group. Following Frondorf’s presentation, Sealock engaged him in conversation about an optimum method of dealing with the erosion and other problems the town government is trying to address with the work. And from Royal Examiner’s videotaping of that conversation, albeit against a backdrop of obtrusive Commerce Avenue traffic noise, and a subsequent interview with Sealock by this reporter, it would seem that what appeared to be the lone town representative at Saturday’s event and Save Happy Creek Coalition representatives found common ground.
That common ground is that the Town’s plan needs to be revisited and readjusted, and re-permitted if necessary, to correct its flaws. Frondorf agreed with Sealock that some riprap rocks would prove beneficial in certain sections of Happy Creek’s bank in proximity to bridges where trees are not recommended within 100 feet; or where prominent erosion was occurring. And Sealock appeared to agree with Frondorf that blanket replacement of vegetation with riprap rocks the length of the project was not an optimum way to proceed.
In fact, during Frondorf’s presentation, he theorized that town officials responsible for moving the project forward may have simply misread the environmental guidelines for the project they were undertaking. We talked to him later about that possible misunderstanding.
“ ‘Where needed’ is what those guidelines say about the installation of riprap,” he pointed out, adding, “And there is no money in the SUP (Special Use Permit) for (recommended) re-vegetation … I don’t know if it was the Town or the Department of Public Works or whoever, but they took the first paragraph of the Supplemental Environmental Project that talked about riprap and just made a mistake in reading it and determined they were going to do the entirety of it that way. And the SUP says ‘where needed’ … if it’s needed, by all means, put it there” – but not the length of the project,” Frondorf said of the use of riprap.
Of Vice-Mayor Sealock’s presence and willingness to listen, learn and trade ideas, the Riverkeeper said, “I thought that was very promising. I was very appreciative that he was here and in a learning mode; and that he was open to what we were doing here.”
And as to what was happening on the bank of Happy Creek Saturday afternoon, Frondorf said he hoped, not only the vice mayor but all those present would work to gain the full council and town staff’s ear. “If half the people option to act, write a note, drop an email, to send a letter, to tell their friend, I think the town council will sit up and take notice that we can stop this. I mean right now it’s a ticking time bomb,” the Riverkeeper said of the Town’s existing project.
“I’ve spoken with the enforcement officer at DEQ (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality) and he said that as long as all the parties come together and agree that there needs to be amendments, that, that can happen. So, I’m hopeful for that. And we’re not asking the Town (to spend) vast sums of money. We’re just simply asking that it be rewritten to protect the stream, protect the immediate, nearby residents …”
What’s happening to my neighborhood?!?
One nearby area resident who spoke with us observed that the Front Street neighborhood facing Happy Creek and the Shenandoah Greenway Trail paralleling it, were given no advance notice of the work or the extent of what was being planned by the Town.
“I came out and asked the town workers what they were doing – I said, ‘What are you guys doing, why are you cutting all the trees down?!?’ And he said, ‘We don’t even really know.’ So they were just doing what they were told to be doing and ripped it all out anyway,” Stephanie Leypoldt told Royal Examiner.
We asked Leypoldt her hopes in the wake of what she had heard that afternoon in the Shenandoah Riverkeeper’s group.
“I hope they stop what the Town’s doing because the riprap rock to me, is just not pretty,” and potentially pretty dangerous to her kids she pointed out. “I moved away from Sterling to come to the country, so it would be country-like. And so they’re taking all the trees out to make it Sterling again. That makes me upset because we walk on the trail every day and with the trees gone, it’ll be really hot with no shade. My kids like to go to the creek to get crawfish, and they can’t do that if it’s all a rock quarry,” she observed of the treacherous riprap landscape currently planned for the length of the stretch of creek in front of her neighborhood.
“I’ve lived here 17 years and not once has it ever, well once it filled up,” Leypoldt said of Happy Creek reaching its bank. “But 17 years is a long time. I’m just upset because it’s very, very loud now … with the traffic,” she said indicating her now the unobstructed view of Commerce Avenue and nearby commercial business endeavors across the town’s major commercial traffic thoroughfare.
And speaking of that thoroughfare, a number of passing motorists could be heard giving honks of apparent support of the messages being displayed on that side of the creek.
As to an endgame, Leypoldt told Royal Examiner, “I hope all the people in all these organizations can make a difference. I thought we are the people and the government tries to protect us. So, if you’re going behind our back, not in the best interest of the people then you’re just doing it in your own personal interest. It’s nature,” she said pointing to what is left of Happy Creek’s natural riparian buffer, adding, “That’s the whole reason I moved out here … and when they take it away, it just makes me want to move.”
Organizers encouraged those present and others concerned to contact their town councilmen about those concerns. They also suggested a presence at Monday evening’s Front Royal Town Council Meeting of November 23. While not sure an opportunity to speak on the Happy Creek work topic would be available – it should be at the initial public comments/concerns portion of the meeting – their presence on the issue would be beneficial in illustrating the level of public concern about the project’s planned direction and the need to revisit and alter that plan, Save Happy Creek Coalition leadership believes.
Save Happy Creek Coalition: Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, Beautification of Front Royal Committee, Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, Front Royal/Warren County Appalachian Trail Community, Front Royal/Warren County Tree Stewards, Izaak Walton League, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Sustainability Matters – and our affiliate, the Garden Club of Warren County
McDonald bankruptcy hearing draws ‘5th’ pleas on details of alleged 2015 sexual harassment settlement agreement EDA counsel says doesn’t exist
(Editor/writer’s note: This will be the first installment of an exploration of Jennifer McDonald’s testimony at the first hearing on her bankruptcy filing in the wake of claims made against her in the EDA civil litigation. That litigation accuses the former EDA Executive Director and 23 co-defendants of conspiring to profit from alleged embezzlements and misdirection of over $21 million in EDA assets by McDonald over a period of years. Due to local interest in the EDA case and alleged misdirection of public funds we will explore that testimony in some detail.)
On Friday the 13th of November, creditors including the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority had a first meeting by conference call concerning the bankruptcy filing of former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald. Information concerning McDonald’s bankruptcy claim of a $21-million-dollar debt due to the EDA’s civil litigation against her, versus her claimed assets ($2.48 million personal; $1.4 million MoveOn8 LLC; $76,000 Little Rugratz Daycare LLC property – about $4.6 million total) and current combined monthly income ($3400 versus monthly expenses of $3882.35) were taken under advisement without any rulings on the validity of her bankruptcy filing or requests for exceptions to it.
Among the exceptions being sought are the EDA’s to both McDonald and her real estate LLC MoveOn8’s bankruptcy claims. A first hearing on motions filed during or following the Friday the 13th teleconference meeting is scheduled for December 16 at 10 a.m. That will be an online ZOOM meeting.
If motions for exceptions are granted by a bankruptcy judge, certain of McDonald’s assets could be removed from control of the bankruptcy court and remain at issue in the EDA’s now $21-million to $25-million civil actions alleging a McDonald-orchestrated conspiracy to misdirect or embezzle EDA assets to her own and associates’ personal benefit.
$6.5 million settlement claim
In addition to questions surrounding the movement of properties through MoveOn8 and her other, apparently now-defunct real estate LLC, DaBoyz, a prominent topic of discussion last week was McDonald’s claim of a still-owed $6.5 million debt to her by her former employer, the EDA. McDonald cited an out of court “Voluntary Settlement Agreement” regarding a sexual harassment claim related to her job dating to August 2015. Asked by U.S. Attorney Webb King if she had a copy of the August 28, 2015, agreement, McDonald replied “no” that it had been left in her EDA office at the time of her December 2018 termination when she was locked out of her office as it was deemed a potential crime scene. Does the EDA have a copy of the agreement she was then asked?
“They should,” she replied.
Asked if she had been paid any portion of the settlement amount, McDonald took one of her many Fifth Amendment pleas, reserving her Constitutional right not to self-incriminate. A follow-up question on whether she had ever been written a check by the EDA for a portion of the settlement amount led to a lengthy pause and apparent discussion with her attorney and second consecutive plea of the “Fifth”.
As to compensation from the alleged Settlement Agreement, McDonald did say there was “a list” of ways she could be compensated, including the transfer of real estate and payment of her personal debts. Both methods play into the EDA’s civil litigation against McDonald alleging embezzlement and the misdirection of EDA assets to her personal benefit and that of 23 co-defendants, both human and corporate “people”.
“Did the Warren County IDA (IDA is the acronym for the EDA’s original and often legally referenced name, Industrial Development Authority) transfer any sort of personal property to you?” U.S. attorney King continued in the wake of her claimed “list” of ways she could be compensated for her claimed sexual harassment compensation agreement. “I assert my right pursuant to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” she again replied.
“Under this agreement did the Warren IDA transfer any real property to you or any entity that you controlled?” came the next question. “I assert my right pursuant to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” again came the answer.
“And you claim not to have a copy of this agreement?” U.S. Attorney King pressed McDonald. “I do not have a copy of the fully executed document,” she replied after a brief pause.
“Do you have a copy of the unexecuted document,” King pressed on, adding, “I’m going to note the delay in answering the question again,” inserting into the record another 10-second and counting pause.
That led to McDonald’s civil and past criminal case attorney Peter Greenspun to come on the phone line to say that while he did not represent McDonald in her bankruptcy filing, as her counsel in the civil and any potential criminal cases he was present with her consulting her on her answers in the bankruptcy hearing. “We’ll be back to you in just a short minute,” Greenspun informed the hearing.
McDonald’s criminal charges at the state level were dropped due to prosecutorial speedy trial concerns so that they could be re-filed at a later date. The criminal investigation of McDonald and its million-plus pages of related documentation has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Virginia. McDonald’s original civil attorneys from the Berlik Law Firm withdrew from her case after EDA representatives indicated a belief the Berlik firm had been paid, albeit unknowingly by them, with stolen EDA assets; and of introducing what was cited as a forged document by EDA officials into evidence in an early civil case hearing. Greenspun, then representing McDonald in the state criminal cases also took on her civil defense.
As Greenspun and his client’s “short minute” passed, someone came on the conference call line to ask if there was an EDA representative on the line to which current EDA Board member and EDA Executive Committee member Greg Harold replied. Harold was asked if he had seen a copy of the alleged Sexual Harassment Voluntary Settlement Agreement between the previous EDA board and McDonald.
“I have not seen an official copy of the agreement located in the office,” Harold replied. That led Sands-Anderson and EDA civil case lead attorney Cullen Seltzer to introduce himself to the proceeding, after which he addressed the elusive $6.5 million-dollar Voluntary Settlement Agreement.
‘Our … belief no such agreement exists’
“I can represent to the court that we’ve investigated the existence of this agreement. It is our understanding and belief that no such agreement exists,” Seltzer told the hearing. Seltzer then responded to a follow-up question from McDonald creditor Tom Sayre, who has a $20,000 defamation civil judgment against her, as to the thoroughness of the EDA counsel’s search for the alleged sexual harassment agreement documentation.
“Without getting into the particulars or the nature of the inquiry, we’ve made a number of inquiries appropriate to try and determine if any such agreement exists. And we’ve found that it does not,” Seltzer stated, adding that inquiries with “appropriate people who would know” had been made.
McDonald did respond to an earlier question as to who had negotiated the Voluntary Settlement Agreement with her, citing then-EDA Board Chair Patricia Wines (deceased) and then-Treasurer William “Billy” Biggs.
McDonald civil, criminal counsel Greenspun then re-entered the conference call fray. (To be continued)
Governor Northam tightens certain temporary restrictions due to COVID-19
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Kelly Thomasson, Secretary of the Commonwealth