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Western District of Virginia U.S. Attorney appointed to handle Election fraud, intimidation, other complaints

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Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar announced today that Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh will lead the efforts of his Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 3, 2020, general election. AUSA Kavanaugh has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Western District of Virginia, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights concerns in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

“It is vitally important that our citizens are able to vote without interference or discrimination. They must be confident that every vote is counted without compromise,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar said today. “The Department of Justice will do all it can to protect the integrity of the election process.”

The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open through election day.

Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters, and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. For example, actions of persons designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are actions to uncover illegal voting may violate federal voting rights law. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).

Voting is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice. In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights concerns during the voting period that ends on November 3, 2020, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities. District Election Official Kavanaugh will be on duty in the Western District of Virginia while polls are open. He can be reached by the public at: 434-293-3981.

In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at 804-627-1044.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at civilrights.justice.gov.

In the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, please call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places, and almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.

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Governor Northam hosts 343rd annual Indian tax tribute ceremony, commemorates Native American Heritage Month in Virginia

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On November 25, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam hosted a small delegation from the Mattaponi Indian Tribe and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe at the Executive Mansion in Richmond for the 343rd annual Indian tax tribute ceremony. This follows a proclamation issued by the Governor earlier this month designating November as Native American Heritage Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Photo courtesy of Governor Northam.

The Indian tax tribute ceremony dates back to 1677 with the signing of the Treaty of Middle Plantation between a group of tribes and the Virginia Corporation—the predecessor to the Commonwealth of Virginia—establishing the first reservations in the United States. Each year, the chiefs of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes honor the spirit of the treaty with a symbolic tax of wild game and hand-crafted gifts presented to the Governor of Virginia in return for continued possession of their tribal lands. The ceremony is the oldest continuing nation-to-nation ceremony in the country. While song and dance are a central component of the annual event, this year’s ceremony did not include these traditions to protect the health and safety of all participants amid the pandemic. Photos from this year’s ceremony can be found below.

“Virginia’s native people enrich our Commonwealth with their vibrant heritage, traditions, and continuing contributions,” said Governor Northam. “Native American Heritage Month is a celebration of the resilience of our tribal communities, and an opportunity to reflect on how we can better address the unique challenges they face and recommit to cultivating strong government-to-government relations with Virginia’s Indian tribes. Even during these difficult and uncertain times, let us remember that our diverse backgrounds only strengthen the Commonwealth we love.”

Governor Northam also released a video message to mark Native American Heritage Month in Virginia, in which he highlights a portrait from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that was unveiled in the Executive Mansion in 2019 depicting former Chief of the Pamunkey Walter Bradby wearing traditional regalia. The work is by Ethan Brown, one of his descendants.

“Virginia Indians are an integral part of our past, present, and future,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson. “We are committed to working with Virginia’s Indian tribes to protect the health and vitality of these communities and ensure that Virginia remains an inclusive place for all who call the Commonwealth home.”

Virginia is home to 11 state-recognized Indian tribes, which include the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division, Mattaponi Indian Tribe, Monacan Indian Nation, Nansemond Indian Tribe, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia, Rappahannock Tribe, and the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. Seven of these tribes are federally recognized.

In October, Governor Northam designated October 12 Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the Commonwealth, the first such proclamation in Virginia history. And last year, Governor Northam announced a land acquisition by the Chickahominy Tribe and signed a land trust agreement with the Mattaponi Indian Tribe, two significant actions that help to rectify past wrongs when the Commonwealth allowed their reservation land to be encroached upon and ensure the sustainability of Virginia’s Indian tribes for future generations.

The Virginia Department of Education has instructional resources on the history of Native Americans in the Commonwealth available here. To learn more about Virginia’s Indian Tribes, visit commonwealth.virginia.gov/virginia-indians.

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Ayala, Guzmán champion equality, representation in lieutenant governor bid

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Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzmán, two delegates who represent Prince William County, have formally announced a run for lieutenant governor. If successful, Ayala or Guzmán would become the first Latina to serve in the role.

Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzmán were among the first Latina representatives elected to the state legislature during the wave of Democratic victories in 2017. Ayala and Guzmán ran for office to provide diversity in state government that more accurately represents the population in Prince William County where a quarter of residents are Latino; almost 25% are Black and nearly 10% are Asian, according to the U.S. Census.

‘A bridge-builder’

Ayala was born in Alexandria to a Salvadorian father and Irish-Lebanese mother. Before becoming a state delegate, she volunteered for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and founded the Prince William Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She also was vice president of the organization at the state level. Ayala defeated eight-year incumbent Republican Rich Anderson to represent District 51 in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

Ayala said she first considered running for lieutenant governor in 2019 to be a bridge-builder. She said she has seen the societal divide in America grow this year because of COVID-19 and knew she could do more. Before becoming involved in politics, Ayala worked in national security, where she said settling disagreements and being a bridge builder is part of the job.

A self-described politician and activist, Ayala said she has always championed equality.

“My work with Prince William NOW was about bringing people together, which I’ve always tried to do,” Ayala said. “You may not like what I say, but at least you know you are seen, you are heard and you are welcomed.”

Ayala is also an advocate for improving Medicaid, which she credits with saving her son, who has autism.

“We need a healthcare system that is inclusive of our economy and works for every family, especially now, as Virginia deals with the pandemic,” she said.

In the upcoming General Assembly session, Ayala said she plans to introduce legislation providing hazard pay for essential workers, defining broadband as critical infrastructure, and improving schools.

‘A matter of representation’

Guzmán immigrated to the United States from Peru and settled in Northern Virginia. She worked three jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment before earning a master’s degree in public administration and social work and becoming a social worker.

Guzmán defeated eight-term Republican incumbent Del. Scott Lingamfelter in 2017 for the 31st District seat. She ran on a platform of improving public education, raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid.

Guzmán said her decision to run for the state legislature was a matter of representation, and that Lingamfelter was not a good representation of the diverse constituents in Eastern Prince William.
Guzman said that because of her background she was able to champion historic legislation this year.

“It was because of the communities that I represent,” Guzmán said. “It was about the struggles that I had as a first-generation immigrant.”

Guzmán was tapped to co-chair Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in Virginia with fellow Prince William Del. Lee Carter.

Guzmán said she’s passionate about investing more into the state’s public education, including more counselors in schools and more resources for special education and remote learning. Guzmán said she was surprised to discover education issues and legislation that would improve “quality of life” were seen as partisan in the chamber.

“It didn’t matter how well I could make my case or how prepared I would be with data and facts, it was all about the party,” Guzmán said. “My intention was to serve all Virginians, not only those who voted for me.”

As a member of the Prince William-Manassas Regional Jail Board, Guzmán had a hand in getting Prince William County to end its agreement to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pursue and detain immigrants who entered the country without legal permission. Guzmán said that Prince William was no safer statistically than nearby localities without the program, and ICE made the county’s immigrant community feel less safe and more hesitant to report a crime they were the victim of, such as a robbery or domestic violence for fear of being deported.

“The vision for Virginia should be a place where diversity is embraced and not disrespected,” Guzmán said. “It should be a place where people feel safe, and feeling safe means that you should be comfortable calling the police when there is a crime regardless of your immigration status.”

Guzmán said she has heard from constituents that health care and access to higher education are important issues.

“Your credit score or your eligibility for a loan should not define whether you should go to college,” Guzmán said. “If you have good grades, if you’re a good citizen, you should have the opportunity to go to college, and college affordability is definitely what young voters want.”

Other Democrats running for lieutenant governor include Paul Goldman, former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia; Sean Perryman, president of Fairfax County NAACP; Roanoke Del. Sam Rasoul and Xavier Warren, a sports agent. Across the aisle are businessmen Puneet Ahluwalia and Lance Allen, Virginia Beach Del. Glenn Davis, who will make his second run for the seat, and former Fairfax Del. Tim Hugo.

By Will Gonzalez
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.

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Touchstone Television project will film in Central Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, and Roanoke region

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On November 24, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Dopesick, the upcoming Hulu eight-episode limited series, will film in Central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, and the Roanoke regions, including Clifton Forge, this winter and is anticipated to continue through the spring. Developed by writer and executive producer Danny Strong, Dopesick is inspired by the bestselling book “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” by Virginia author Beth Macy.

Production will be required to adhere to comprehensive industry health and safety protocols developed over the past six months by the Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and other industry organizations. Guiding principles include strictly enforced testing regimens and safety protocols, a zone-based system, and diligent use of personal protective equipment. These safety measures are in addition to the current Virginia pandemic workplace safety guidelines and those required by Touchstone Television.

“Virginia continues to be a premier production hub for filmmakers seeking an authentic, film-friendly environment and a home away from home,” said Governor Northam. “It is wonderful to see this story from a Virginia author transformed from page to screen right here in our Commonwealth. We are honored to host the impressive team behind this compelling and consequential project, and to play a role in putting a universal spotlight on the opioid epidemic that continues to devastate American families and communities from all walks of life.”

Michael Keaton – Blair-39, CC BY-SA 2.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Academy Award®-nominated actor Michael Keaton (Birdman, Spotlight) will executive produce and star alongside Peter Sarsgaard (Jackie, An Education), Rosario Dawson (Rent, Luke Cage) and Kaitlyn Dever (Unbelievable, Booksmart). Barry Levinson (Rain Man) is set to direct the project with executive producers Strong, Keaton, Warren Littlefield (The Handmaid’s Tale), Karen Rosenfelt (Twilight), John Goldwyn (Dexter), and Touchstone Television.

Dopesick will be a revealing look into the epicenter of America’s struggle with opioid addiction. The show will take viewers from a mining community to the hallways of the Drug Enforcement Administration, to the opulence of “one-percenter” Big Pharma Manhattan, intertwining the stories of affected families to reveal the state of addiction in America, while shining a hopeful light on the heroes battling an unprecedented drug epidemic.

“Film, television, and new media production is an incredibly valuable combined industry, and a much-needed immediate revenue generator for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We welcome the high-paying jobs and economic stimulation that this type of work provides for Virginia workers and communities.”

Author Beth Macy, who resides in Roanoke, Virginia also wrote the award-winning book “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town,” which tells the story of the Bassett Furniture Company, located in Bassett, Virginia.

“We are grateful to the Commonwealth of Virginia and its vibrant production community for welcoming this production with open arms,” said Touchstone Television Executive Vice President of Production Nissa Diederich. “We’re excited to get to work.”

Dopesick will be eligible to receive a Virginia film tax credit or grant. The exact amount will be based on the number of Virginia workers hired, Virginia goods and services purchased, and deliverables including Virginia tourism promotions.

“Film productions act like super tourists—spending large amounts in a short period of time and touching local businesses large and small,” said Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds. “We’re excited that the Commonwealth’s hard work and credentials have once again attracted a production of this scope and caliber. The added benefit of hosting a project that can provide vital awareness and change lives is truly immeasurable. This industry is structured to address complicated logistical challenges, thus implementing comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation, testing, and tracing protocols to execute the work safely is a top priority.”

Dopesick marks another major production choosing to film in Virginia and follows recently filmed projects, including the latest installment of AMC’s popular The Walking Dead franchise, The Walking Dead: World Beyond; SHOWTIME®’s critically-acclaimed limited series The Good Lord Bird; and Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984, slated to premiere later this year.

For information about Virginia’s film production industry, please visit the Virginia Film Office website at filmvirginia.org.

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Traditional Thanksgiving off the table for many

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Many Americans are grappling with ways to make one of the nation’s most celebrated holidays safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Richmond resident Caroline Kaschak will feast at home to protect at-risk elders in her family.

“It is just going to be my husband and me,” Kaschak said. “We are going to order in fancy takeout instead.”

Colleges like Virginia Commonwealth University are offering COVID-19 exit testing to students before they return home for the holidays. Some Americans still have scheduled traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with their families.

“I plan on going to my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving,” said VCU student Rickaya Sykes. “They live in the same town as me, and we are very close. If I am not at home, I am at their house spending time with them.”

The Centers for Disease Control recently issued guidance for gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is at home with people who live in the same household, the CDC said. Gatherings with family and friends who live outside the home can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

The agency recommends that hosts limit the number of guests, disinfect surfaces and keep windows open to decrease coronavirus risk. For attendees, the guidance includes bringing and eating food from home with their own utensils and staying out of the kitchen.

COVID-19 cases and deaths have sharply risen in the past two weeks across the nation and in Virginia, according to the New York Times. Over the past week, there has been an average of 2,262 new cases per day in Virginia, an increase of 62% from the average two weeks earlier, according to the Times.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced a coronavirus mandate in Virginia to limit private gatherings and some public events to 25 people. The restrictions took effect on Nov. 15, less than two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The CDC urged Americans to consider alternative Thanksgiving Day activities such as virtual celebrations, eating meals outdoors, post-holiday shopping online and using a curbside pickup.

Virginia State Parks is encouraging families to gather at its 39 parks— which have remained open during the pandemic—over the Thanksgiving holiday. The “Opt Outside” promotion will be celebrated throughout the holiday weekend from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29. Visitors have a chance to win a $500 Virginia State Parks gift certificate if they submit up to five photos of their trip and enter it into the annual photo contest. The Virginia State Parks promotion started 10 years ago as “Green Friday” to motivate families to visit the park instead of post-Thanksgiving shopping on “Black Friday.”

“Since the promotion started, we have seen more people visiting parks over the holidays,” said Tim Shrader, the eastern region field operations manager for Virginia State Parks. “You have all this family coming in, you probably need to get outside and enjoy each other’s company outside for physical and mental health.”

AAA released its annual Thanksgiving travel forecast, which anticipated at least a 10% drop in travel. The agency said that is the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008. In mid-October, AAA expected up to 50 million Americans to travel for the holiday. Now they say it could be lowered given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and health notices.

The nation’s airports saw an uptick in travelers over the weekend, despite the CDC advisory to avoid traveling. The Transportation Security Administration reported almost 4 million travelers from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22, but the rate of travelers was still much lower than at the same time last year.

By India Jones
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.

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Legal state marijuana sales could overtake illegal trade by year four

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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.

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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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