Open or closed: How Governor Northam’s stay-at-home order affects you

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home executive order took effect immediately and will change what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Here’s a guide to what is permitted under the order.

Grocery stores: Shopping at grocery stores is permitted under the executive order. You should take precautions such as keeping six feet between you and other shoppers. Gov. Northam recommended you try to get all the groceries you need for an extended period of time in one trip, and you shouldn’t go to the store for only one item.

Pharmacies, dollar stores, other stores that sell essential supplies: You may shop for essential items at department stores and pharmacies, but just like with grocery shopping, you should try to pick up several items at once.

ABC stores: ABC stores will remain open under limited hours.

Pet stores: You are allowed to shop for food for your pets and stores can stay open while practicing social distancing.

Laundromats and dry cleaners: Cleaners may remain open while practicing social distancing. Some cleaners are offering curbside pick up and delivery options.

Restaurants: All restaurants and cafes can only provide curbside pickup and delivery options. You should elect to get restaurant delivery as much as possible to limit social interaction.

Places of worship: The executive order permits traveling to a place of worship, but gatherings of more than ten people aren’t permitted. Services with more than ten people should not occur.

Private residences: You are allowed to leave your home to go to the home of a family member if you need to provide assistance. The executive order specifies you may leave if you are “taking care of other individuals, animals, or visiting the home of a family member.” Gov. Northam said you can go to a private residence if it is essential.

Traveling required by court order: You may leave your home to facilitate child custody, visitation or child care.

Going outside: You may leave your home to exercise outside. Localities can make individual determinations about parks, but you should only be going to the park for the purpose of exercise. All gatherings of more than ten people in parks are banned.

Golf courses: You may go golfing as long as you are in a group of ten or less. Golf courses should have their clubhouses closed. Social distancing guidelines should be followed.

Virginia beaches: The beaches in Virginia are closed for all reasons except exercise and fishing.

Boating: Boating is allowed as long as social distancing is practiced and there are fewer than 10 people on the boat.

Recreational businesses: All businesses previously banned are still closed. That includes salons, barbershops, movie theaters, etc.

Educational institutions: All public and private schools and colleges must close in-person classes. All gatherings of more than ten people are banned as well.

Camping: Starting at 11:59 p.m. April 1, all overnight reservations for less than two weeks at privately-owned campgrounds in Virginia are banned.

Non-profits: All volunteering with organizations that “provide charitable or social services” is permitted. All travel to and from food banks and other resources for low-income Virginians is also permitted.

Health emergencies: Virginians can leave their homes to seek medical attention. The executive order also specifies that Virginians can leave because of “reasonable fear for health or safety.”

Have a question about whether or not you can leave your house for an activity? Email us at We’ll try to get your question answered. Check back for more updates as we answer your questions.

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