Richmond reacts to Northam’s “modified stay at home order”

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Hours after Governor Ralph Northam’s “modified stay at home order” was announced, reaction in the capital city’s Carytown neighborhood was largely met with approval, however some questioned how upcoming measures will be enforced.

Virginians will be required to stay home between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. except for working purposes, to obtain food and goods or to seek medical help.

The moves, effective Monday morning, are less restrictive from what Virginians experienced in the spring and continues to leave flexibility for school, work and other essential activities.

“You should stay home whenever you can during the rest of the day,” Northam said during a Thursday press conference. “If you don’t need to go out, go home.”

The new rules also expands the mask mandate. Currently, masks are only required within indoor public spaces. However, come next week, this will apply to all indoor spaces outside homes, and people will be required to wear masks outside, and anywhere social distancing cannot be achieved. This could include activities like visits to a crowded park or outdoor shopping malls.

In Carytown, people chimed-in on Northam’s order. Jensen Gutierrez said he approves of the new rulings.

“I mean, going into every store you got to use it now,” Gutierrez said. “I use it every day when I’m at my job, I wouldn’t want to catch something and go home and talk to my sister,” he said.

While Gutierrez is in favor of the mask mandate expansion, he worries that others won’t be. “I’m not trying to be 10 years in the future still having to wear a mask,” he said. “I know that sucks but I’m going to still do it.”

Sara Sealy says she wishes more people would wear their masks.

“They say it bothers their breathing like, they have asthma. But I have asthma and I’m not having any problem wearing a mask. But, I know it’s uncomfortable to some people to wear one, but, really I think that’s false. I think they’re getting scared for no reason,” Sealy said.

Under the governor’s current executive order several factions of the public will continue to be not required to wear masks, including those with certain health conditions and children under five.

Gatherings will also face new restrictions with the maximum number of people allowed to congregate; group limitations will decrease from 25 to 10. But, the governor said this will not impact indoor capacity limits at places such as restaurants. Northam said that’s because those establishments already have to spread out tables, and cannot seat people at bars.

Another group unaffected by the changes will be places of worship. They will continue to not have capacity limits. However, the governor encourages people to worship from home. “You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers,” Northam said.

Northam acknowledged there won’t be legal enforcement for the curfew and mask violators, also noting that the “modified stay at home order” will continue until January 31st. Depending on how widespread the disease travels, he said restrictions could be extended.

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