Virginia – Coronavirus State Actions

Governors are working closely with federal and local officials as well as private sector partners to address the threat of the novel coronavirus. This page lists select actions taken to date. It is not intended to be exhaustive but is meant to highlight key actions and resources that may inform other states and territories as they prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus. All state actions can be viewed here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for additional information and resources.


Virginia coronavirus resource page.

  • March 4, 2020— Virginia’s public health and safety experts established an Incident Management Team across state government to lead the Commonwealth’s planning and response for COVID-19. 
  • March 11, 2020—Governor Northam issued a statement addressing plans to enable state employee teleworking. He also encouraged private businesses to explore telework and paid time-off options. 
  • March 12, 2020—Governor Northam declared a State of Emergency on 12 March to address COVID-19. Guidance included a ban on out-of-state travel, implementation of telework policies, cancelling specially scheduled state events for 30 days, and urging avoidance of large public gatherings.
  • March 13, 2020The Governor ordered all K-12 schools in Virginia to close for a minimum of two weeks.
  • March 15, 2020 – The Governor announced a temporary ban on all public events of more than 100 people.
  • March 16, 2020 – The Governor joined the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of the District of Columbia in calling on the President to add the National Capital Region to the list of priority locations for federal supported COVID-19 testing sites.
  • March 17, 2020  – The Governor announced additional steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including:
    • Recommending reduction of public gatherings of more than 10 people, in accordance with federal guidelines;
    • Encouraging those with chronic health conditions and those aged 65 or older to self-quarantine;
    • Mandating restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters reduce capacity to 10 people, or to close;
    • And closing Virginia’s 75 DMV offices to the public.
  • March 17, 2020 – The Governor moved to increase support to affected workers and employers by:
    • Directing the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits;
    • Enhancing unemployment eligibility to include those directed to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official;
    • Granting affected workers special considerations on deadlines for mandatory re-employment appointments and work search requirements;
    • Activating regional workforce teams to support employers who have slowed or ceased operations;
    • Waiving financial penalties for employers who experience an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits;
    • Authorizing funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act for employers to remain open; and
    • Directing employers to follow U.S. Department of Labor guidance on workplace safety.
  • March 17, 2020 – The Governor and the Health Commissioner issued a Public Health Emergency Order to enforce a prohibition on more than 10 patrons in restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor announced the following actions.
    • Increased access to health care for Medicaid members and low-income residents including waived co-pays and expanded access to telehealth.
    • Modifications to Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program to expand eligibility and ensure continued support for essential personnel.
    • Approved Economic Injury Disaster Loan to support Virginia small businesses.
    • Suspension of in-person visitations to state correctional facilities.
    • Suspension of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections for 60 days.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor signed an Executive Order giving hospitals and nursing homes more flexibility to add beds.
  • March 21, 2020 – The Virginia Department of Health amended testing criteria, giving additional priority to first responders and medical professionals who have had contact with confirmed cases.
  • March 23, 2020 – The Governor issued Executive Order 53:
    • Orders the closure of non-essential businesses and permits carry-out food and alcohol services, and delineates essential businesses;
    • Bans gatherings of more than 10 people;
    • Closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic school year; and
    • Urges Virginians to stay home except for essential travel.
    • The order will remain in effect until April 23.
  • March 23, 2020- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Virginia’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables Virginia to lift prior authorization requirements and extend fair hearing and appeals timelines in its Medicaid program.
  • March 25, 2020 – The Governor and the State Health Commissioner directed all hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures for the preservation of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • March 27, 2020 – The Governor encouraged Virginians to complete the 2020 Census online.
  • March 30, 2020 – The Governor issued a “Stay at Home” executive order, effective until June 10. Violation of the order will be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • April 2, 2020 – The Governor announced that the state of Virginia’s request for a federal major disaster declaration was approved.
  • April 3, 2020 – The Governor announced $2.5 million in emergency funding to provide housing options to Virginia’s homeless population.
  • April 8, 2020 – The Governor requested the General Assembly to move the May general election and all special elections scheduled for May 5 to November 3. The Governor also moved the June 9 primary election to June 23.
  • April 8, 2020 – The Governor authorized the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) to defer annual fees for licenses and permits that would be up for renewal through June. The Governor also directed the ABC to allow establishments with mixed beverage licenses to sell mixed beverages through takeout or delivery.
  • April 8, 2020 — The Governor announced several changes to unemployment insurance rules and processes to help make it easier for people to receive benefits in a timely manner.  
  • April 12, 2020 – The Governor signed a number of laws to protect Virginian workers, including legislation to combat wage theft, ban workplace discrimination, and prohibit non-compete covenants for low-wage workers.
  • April 12, 2020 – The Governor proposed an increase to minimum wage and the creation of a work-sharing program to support workers impacted by COVID-19.
  • April 13, 2020 – The Governor announced the expansion of the Department of Education’s online learning system to enable all teachers to host virtual classes.
  • April 13, 2020 – The Governor, researchers from the University of Virginia, and RAND Corporation, released infectious disease modeling on the impact of COVID-19 mitigation in Virginia.
  • April 14, 2020 – The Governor announced March revenue results, and warned that future reports may reflect significant economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • April 15, 2020 – The Governor extended Executive Order 53, banning crowds of more than 10 people, closes certain businesses, and limits restaurants to takeout and delivery services until May 8.
  • April 15, 2020 – The Governor announced an additional $70 million in Child Care and Development Block Grant funding through the CARES Act, to support the provision of childcare for essential personnel.
  • April 16, 2020 – The Governor sent a letter to the Virginia congressional delegation outlining the following additional requests for federal support:
    • Additional flexible state funding;
    • Investments in public health infrastructure;
    • Support for Virginia families, including SNAP benefits;
    • Support for Virginia workers, including expanded unemployment benefits, health insurance, and hazard pay;
    • Small business relief, including federal recovery loans and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program; and
    • Infrastructure investment including universal broadband.
  • April 17, 2020 – The Governor signed an Executive Order implementing new policies to bolster the healthcare workforce.
  • April 20, 2020 – The Governor appointed former Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Remley and State Epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peake to lead a COVID-19 testing working group.
  • April 23, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order Fifty-Eight to grant flexibility to the Department of Medical Assistance Services in the provision of critical services and to make it easier for Medicaid recipients to access medical care.
  • April 23, 2020 – The Governor extended the state’s existing ban on elective surgeries to May 1 and the closure of Department of Motor Vehicles public offices to May 11.
  • April 23, 2020 – The Governor joined Maryland Governor Hogan and D.C. Mayor Bowser in sending a letter to the White House, urging the Trump administration to continue telework policies for federal workers.
  • April 24, 2020 – The Governor announced community leaders to participate in the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Business Task Force, responsible for providing guidance to the Cabinet on strategy to ease restrictions.
  • April 24, 2020 – The Governor invoked his statutory authority to postpone the State’s May General and Special Elections from May 5 to May 19.
  • April 24, 2020 – The Governor presented the “Forward Virginia” blueprint, guiding the easing of public health restrictions in the state. The blueprint includes the following priorities:
    • Testing and tracing;
    • Personal Protective Equipment;
    • Hospital Capacity and staff; and
    • Phase One of easing restrictions.
  • April 28, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order Sixty, reinforcing certain statutory liability protections for Virginia healthcare workers.
  • April 29, 2020 – The Governor announced that hospitals and dentists will be permitted to resume non-emergency procedures beginning at midnight on April 30.
  • April 29, 2020 – The Governor announced relief options for more than 200,000 Virginians with privately held student loans, secured by coordination with major private student loan servicers.
  • May 2, 2020 – The Governor announced FEMA’s approval for Virginia to receive three Battelle Critical Care Decontamination Systems, to be used to sterilize PPE.
  • May 4, 2020 – The Governor outlined a three-phase plan to ease restrictions in Virginia. The first phase will ease restrictions while maintaining social distancing, teleworking, recommendations for face coverings, and prohibition of gatherings of 10 or more.
  • May 8, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order Sixty-One, detailing the framework for Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” plan.
  • May 11, 2020 – The Governor announced a health equity pilot program with the City of Richmond, to increase equitable access to PPE in underserved communities most affected by COVID-19. The Virginia Health Equity Leadership Task Force is leveraging data to identify disproportionately affected communities and establish policies and programs accordingly.
  • May 12, 2020 – The Governor issued Executive Order Sixty-Two, allowing specific localities in Northern Virginia to delay Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” plan, originally set to begin for all of Virginia on May 15, until May 28.
  • May 13, 2020 – The Governor announced that most Virginia will begin Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” plan on May 15, while localities in Northern Virginia will delay Phase One for an additional two weeks.
  • May 13, 2020 – The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) announced that the Commonwealth will allow eateries to expand outside dining areas. The ABC outlined steps for businesses to temporarily expand outdoor dining options when it comes to the sale of alcohol. 
  • May 14, 2020 – The Governor called on the federal government to implement additional screening and testing in two federally-run detention centers in Virginia.
  • May 14, 2020 – The Governor announced that Accomack County and the City of Richmond would delay Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” plan until at least May 28.
  • May 18, 2020 – The Governor announced a group of stakeholders to participate in Virginia’s COVID-19 Education Work Group, charged with charting a path to determine how schools can safely reopen later this year. Stakeholders include representatives of public and private early childhood education, K-12, higher education, and public sector officials.
  • May 18, 2020 – The Governor announced that he will allow Virginia Beach to reopen with restrictions, beginning May 22.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor shared new resources to protect Virginians from eviction and support individuals who have lost their job or income due to COVID-19. One such resource is StayHomeVirginia.com, a website to help Virginian’s navigate housing programs, services, guidance, and other resources.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor announced the launch of COVIDCheck, an online risk-assessment tool to check their symptoms and connect with the appropriate health care resource, including COVID-19 testing locations.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor announced that more than 740,000 Virginians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be able to pay for their groceries online and have them delivered.
  • May 26, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order Sixty-Three, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings.
  • May 26, 2020 – The Governor amended Executive Order Fifty-One, extending the state’s Emergency Declaration. 
  • June 2, 2020 – The Governor signed Executive Order Sixty-Five, modifying existing public health guidance, and announced that Phase 2 of the “Forward Virginia” plan will begin on June 5. Phase 2 maintains recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and requiring face coverings in indoor public settings, while permitting restaurant and beverage establishments to offer indoor dining at 50% occupancy and fitness centers to open indoor areas at 30% occupancy.
  • June 8, 2020 – The Governor announced a temporary statewide moratorium on all eviction proceedings in the state. The order will remain in effect through June 28, as the administration implements a rent relief program for Virginians facing housing insecurity.
  • June 9, 2020 – The Governor announced a phased approach to allow Virginia schools to resume in-person classes for summer school and for the 2020-2021 academic school year. The plan was developed by the Office of the Secretary of Education, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Virginia Department of Education, and requires all PreK-12 schools to deliver new instruction to students for the 2020-2021 academic year, regardless of the operational status of school buildings.
  • June 10, 2020 – The Governor announced that Virginia schools will received $66.8 million through the federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund  to expand distance learning, fund services for students disproportionately impacted by loss of class time, and provide financial assistance to higher education students and institutions impacted by COVID-19.
  • June 10, 2020 – The Governor extended Executive Orders Fifty-Seven and Fifty-Eight, allowing for expanded use of telehealth services and authorizing out-of-state licenses to health-care providers; and ensuring Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) members have continued access to care.
  • June 11, 2020 – The Governor issued guidance to public and private higher education institutions, requiring that institutions meet certain public health conditions in order to reopen campuses and to develop plans that consider:
    • Repopulation of the campus;
    • Monitoring health conditions;
    • Containment; and
    • Shutdown considerations if necessary.
  • June 12, 2020 – The Governor announced the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Planning Grant program, intended to support agriculture and forestry-based businesses through the COVID-19 emergency.
  • June 12, 2020 – The Governor announced the expansion of the Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT). The platform is being used to support the state’s response, mitigate spread, and maintain an adequate supply of resources.
  • June 15, 2020 – The Governor announced more than $14.66 million for a new Economic Resilience and Recovery Program to address the short and long term impacts of COVID-19. The initiative was created through a restructuring of the Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) funding. 
  • June 16, 2020 – The Governor, First Lady, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Director announced the Virginia Artist Relief Program – a program to assist visual artists impacted by COVID-19. Under the program, 40 visual artists from the Commonwealth will be selected to receive a $5,000 grant.
  • June 18, 2020 – The Governor presented the third phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan, which continues to ease public health restrictions.
  • June 19, 2020 – The Governor announced new guidelines and testing requirements for reopening long-term care facilities. The Governor also outlined how the Commonwealth will direct $246 million to support long-term care facilities in their COVID-19 response.
  • June 29, 2020 – The Governor launched the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP), which will provide $50 million in federal CARES Act funding for households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19.
  • June 30, 2020 – The Governor announced that bar seating and congregating areas in restaurants will remain prohibited except for those passing through. Restaurants may use non-bar seating in the bar area, if a minimum of six feet between tables is provided.