Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Monday issued an order to residents stay at home until June 10, part of expanded efforts to curtail the coronavirus pandemic that continues to spread across the country.
“I want to be clear: Do not go out unless you need to go out. This is very different than wanting to go out,” the Democratic governor said in announcing the order.
Northam noted that “some of our beaches and other recreational areas were literally packed” over the weekend, and warned that, “everyone who is gathering in a crowd is putting themselves and others at risk.”
The Virginia order goes into effect immediately and will remain in effect until June 10 unless the governor cancels it sooner. Violators can be punished by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Hours earlier, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a similar “unprecedented” order, requiring residents to stay home except for essential trips such as grocery shopping or obtaining medical care. The order goes into effect at 8 p.m. on Monday and will remain active until the state of emergency is over. Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor offense with penalties up to a year in jail or a $5,000 fine.
“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home. We are directing them to do so,” said Hogan, a Republican. “Every single Marylander can be a hero just by staying home.”
Residents may also leave their homes for other specific purposes including working essential jobs, exercising while practicing social distancing, caring for relatives and others in need, tending to livestock or pets, visiting their businesses for minimal tasks, or visiting government buildings for necessary reasons.
Hogan admitted the order will be “devastating” to the state budget, saying the order could “perhaps drain the entire rainy-day fund.”
“We’re talking about nationally, 25 percent unemployment. Revenues should be down dramatically,” he said.
At least 1,413 people in Maryland have been infected by the coronavirus.