RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The state of Virginia has temporarily suspended all evictions through June 28 after Governor Ralph Northam requested a temporary statewide moratorium on all eviction proceedings over the weekend.

Northam’s request was granted by Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons who issued an order that stops eviction proceedings in the Commonwealth for nearly three weeks.

On Monday morning, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney tweeted a letter he wrote asking Governor Northam to stop evictions across the Commonwealth by issuing a statewide moratorium on residential evictions until the pandemic is over.

In Stoney’s letter, he told Northam that it is essential to pause evictions in the city during this time — as thousands of Richmond residents are facing eviction. Some Richmond residents have already been served a summons to attend court for their eviction case in June and July.

“A total of 1, 124 cases between June 15 and June 26 alone,” Stoney wrote.

The New York Times reported that Richmond has been one of the hardest-hit areas. Stoney said that Richmond has 100,000 more eviction cases than Henrico, Chesterfield and Virginia as a whole.

Stoney said he expected the funds in the city’s Eviction Diversion Program to decrease as the number of cases will most likely overwhelm the program.

“If thousands of people were ordered to leave their homes with no clear place to go, it could easily cause the virus to spread rapidly again,” Stoney said, emphasizing the sacrifices Virginians have made to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

Chief Justice Donald Lemons’s order allows Governor Northam to implement a comprehensive rent relief program for Virginians facing housing insecurity. Details for the funding will be available in the coming weeks.

Stoney thanked Northam in a tweet, saying this move is vital to Richmonders who need housing support. The mayor said the city recently put $250 towards their Eviction Diversion Program to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

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