Virginia Resources Updated: June 18, 2020
North Carolina Resources Updated: May 8, 2020
Commonwealth of Virginia Official COVID-19 Website
This website is a comprehensive resource that provides information pertaining to official actions, guidance, updates, and information about the novel coronavirus.
Updates from the Governor
Governor Northam is holding Facebook Live briefings at 2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to provide an update to the public on the actions his administration is taking to combat and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia and to support Virginians during this very difficult time.
On Thursday June 18, 2020, Governor Northam provided guidance on what to expect when Virginia enters Phase 3. He did not provide a date for when the state will enter Phase 3.
The Phase 3 guidance includes the following:
The Governor also discussed how COVID-19 has disproportionally impacted the Latinx community; he highlighted measures his staff are taking to ensure information is communicated efficiently and effectively.
Here is a link to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders and Directives.
Department of Taxation: www.tax.virginia.gov
Department of Health: www.vdh.virginia.gov
Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid): www.dmas.virginia.gov
Department of Motor Vehicles: www.dmv.virginia.gov
Virginia’s Judicial System: http://www.courts.state.va.us/
Virginia Employment Commission http://www.vec.virginia.gov/
North Carolina Official COVID-19 Website
This website is a comprehensive resource of North Carolina’s response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Williams Mullen COVID-19 Legal Updates
Williams Mullen attorneys continue to serve our clients and have helped by assembling a legal resource page with alerts on federal and state actions related to COVID-19. An email sign-up is available so you can have legal alerts and updates sent as soon as they are published.
On Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Roy Cooper held a press conference to provide updates on the state’s COVID-19 response and share details regarding Phase 1 of reopening the state. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen went over the factors being used to determine when the state will transition from phase to phase of the reopening process.
The factors are set out below along with what the data currently shows:
Additionally, the other factors (testing per day, tracing of those exposed and supply of PPE) all look good.
Therefore, the Governor signed Executive Order 138 that goes into effect this Friday, May 8th, at 5 pm and runs through the 22nd of May.
Below is a general overview and analysis of the new order.
Mass Gathering Ban
The Phase 1 Executive Order (Order) retains a ban on gatherings of over ten people, but normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, shopping malls and shopping centers continue to be exempt so long as individuals follow the social distancing recommendations (i.e., wearing a face mask, maintaining at least six feet social distancing, hand washing, regularly cleaning of high-touch surfaces, staying at home if sick) “as much as possible” and “they should circulate within the space so that there is no sustained contact between people.”
Which Businesses May Operate
The Order removes the designation of essential and non-essential businesses. Business operations that were expressly closed in previous orders (personal care and grooming businesses, entertainment facilities and on-premise dining and consumption at bars and restaurants) cannot reopen. In general, any other business may operate so long as it complies with certain restrictions and requirements (discussed below).
The Order provides that personal care and grooming businesses include, but are not limited to, the following:
Entertainment facilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
Restaurants and bars remain closed for on-premise dining and consumption, but restaurants can continue to provide drive-through, take-out, and delivery. Restaurants are encouraged to comply with the “Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission” (i.e., maintaining at least six feet social distancing, hand washing, regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, staying at home if sick), including the use of face coverings when providing carry-out, drive-through, and delivery services. Any retail or dining component within an entertainment facility may operate solely for retail or dining but must comply with the restrictions otherwise applicable to those operations.
Requirements and Recommendations
The Order includes a series of requirements and recommendations for retail and other business operations.
Requirements Specific to Retail Businesses
To assist with compliance, NC DHHS will make available on its website a sample screening checklist questionnaire and sample signs.
Additional Recommendations Specific to Retail Businesses
Retailers are “strongly encouraged” to do the following:
Recommendations for All Businesses (Retail or Other)
All businesses are “strongly encouraged” to:
There are additional measures applicable to the operation of parks and trails, childcare facilities, camps, schools and long-term care facilities.
The Order specifically provides that it does not create a private right of action by any party against the “State of North Carolina, its agencies, departments, political subdivisions, or other entities, or any officers, employees, or agents thereof, or any emergency management worker (as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-l 9.60) or any other person.”
Local government orders that would restrict state government operations or establish different requirements for the maximum occupancy standard of retail establishments are preempted. This is the case under the current order.
The Governor made it clear, again, that Phase 1 will be extended unless the data shows the state is ready to move to Phase 2. Phase 2 will likely include the opening of more businesses and perhaps moderation of the requirements for retail operations.
For more information on Executive Order 138 the Governor’s Office has created a guidance document, which can be found here.
On Thursday, April 23rd, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 135 extending North Carolina’s Stay at Home Order (Executive Order 121) through May 8th. The Order also extends provisions from previous Executive Orders to conform with the new May 8th expiration date. Executive Order 135 makes no substantive changes to restrictions or prohibitions made in previous Executive Orders. The following sections now expire at 5pm on May 8th:
Governor Cooper also set forth a plan to gradually lift restrictions and re-open the state over three phases. Although there are still uncertainties regarding the specifics, the Governor’s Office has stated that the plan is based on the best information available now but could be modified as new information emerges.
The three phases of the re-opening plan rely on North Carolina’s progress on certain measurable factors. Below are the factors and in parenthesis the result needed for each factor to continue moving forward in re-opening the state:
After May 8th and once all of the factors listed above are satisfied, the state will transition to Phase 1. The first phase will modify the Stay at Home Order to allow travel not currently defined as "essential." It’s unclear which businesses will be allowed to reopen of those that are currently prohibited from operating, but “clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, and houseware stores” were specifically identified. The ensuing press release also mentioned ensuring that “any open stores implement appropriate employee and consumer social distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, symptom screening of employees, accommodations for vulnerable workers, and provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation.” Gatherings would continue to be limited to no more than 10 people, but parks would reopen subject to this mass gathering limitation. Local emergency orders with more restrictive measures can remain in place.
After two or three weeks of Phase 1, and if the factors continue to be met, Phase 2 would begin. The state Stay at Home order would be lifted at this point, and restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services, and other businesses could open so long as they follow safety protocols (including the potential need to reduce capacity). This phase would increase the number of people allowed to gather, including at houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity. There has been no guidance regarding the continuation of local government restrictions under this phase.
At least four to six weeks after starting Phase 2, and again assuming that the factors continue to be met, restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships, and entertainment venues would be allowed to increase their capacities. Also, the number of people allowed at gatherings would increase.
Presumably, although it’s not completely clear, the next step after Phase 3 would be lifting all restrictions. However, the Governor made it clear that if there is regression in terms of meeting the factors, then moving back a phase would be possible. A link to the Governor’s presentation of the 3-phase plan can be found here.
On Friday, April 24th, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Overview of Governor Cooper’s Previous Executive Orders amid COVID-19
Executive Order 131, was issued by Governor Cooper on April 9th. The Order tightens social distancing measures statewide and takes effect Monday, April 13th at 5pm. Sections 1 and 2 expire on May 8th at 5pm (Executive Order 135). Sections 1 and 2 of the Order require all retail stores deemed essential businesses pursuant to previous orders to implement new social distancing policies to make shopping safer for customers and employees. Those policies include:
The Order also sets public health and safety requirements for nursing homes, including cancelling communal activities, taking the temperature of employees and essential personnel when they enter the facility, requiring close monitoring of residents for COVID-19 symptoms, and requiring specific personal protective equipment in the facility. The Order encourages other long-term care facilities to follow the same guidance, and states that these requirements are effective until the Order is repealed.
Finally, Executive Order 131, allows employers to file unemployment claims on behalf of their employees, called an attached claim. This provision is effective 60 days beyond the lifting of the state of emergency.
For more information on Executive Order 131, the Governor’s Office has created a guidance document, which can be found here.
Executive Order 124, was issued by Governor Cooper on March 31st. The Order directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits utilities from collecting fees, penalties, or interest for late payments. These provisions apply to electric, gas, water and wastewater services. The Order also encourages financial institutions to refrain from charging customers overdraft fees, late fees, and other penalties. In line with Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s recent order, Executive Order 124 strongly encourages landlords to delay evictions and encourages lenders to work with property owners to provide loan payment flexibility to avoid mortgage foreclosures. The Order went into effect on March 31, 2020 and remains in effect for 60 days.
Executive Order 121, was issued by Governor Cooper on March 27th and imposed a statewide stay at home order beginning at 5pm on Monday, March 30th. Executive Order 135 extends all sections of Executive Order 121 and they now expire on May 8th at 5pmThe order bans gatherings of more than ten(10) individuals, however airports, bus and train stations, libraries, medical facilities, shopping venues and “Essential Businesses” are exempt but are required to follow social distancing requirements to the extent practicable.
The order also requires all North Carolinians to remain in their homes except for “Essential Activities,” “Essential Governmental Operations” or to work or shop at “Essential Businesses and Operations.” In general, “Essential Activities” include the following:
“Essential Governmental Operations” includes state and local services needed to ensure the continued operation of government or provide for or support the health, safety and welfare of the public. Each government body determines the operations that fall into this category, but first responders, emergency management personnel, court system personnel, and child welfare staff are included.
The definition of “Essential Businesses and Operations” is broad and includes several business and industry sectors. Among other business operations, the following are included:
No documentation authenticating an exemption to the stay at home order is required. In the areas where a local order is also in place, Governor Cooper has instructed that the more restrictive provisions of the state and local orders would apply.
For more information on Executive Order 121, the Governor’s Office has created a guidance document, which can be found here.
Executive Order 120 was issued by Governor Cooper on March 23rd. Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Order expire on May 8th at 5pm (Executive Order 135). Section 1 prohibits the following businesses from operating: Bingo parlors, bowling alleys, ice skating rinks, indoor exercise facilities (gyms, studios, etc.), health clubs, indoor pools, live performance venues, movie theaters, roller skating rinks, spas, sweepstakes lounges, video game arcades, barber shops, beauty salons, hair salons, nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo shops. Section 2 of Executive Order 120 expressly provides that certain local government offices shall continue to operate, including health departments, registrar of deeds offices and department of social services offices. Finally, Section 3 generally bans visitors at health care facilities, except for health care personnel and during end-of-life situations. This includes long-term care facilities, nursing homes, mental health and disability group homes.
A link to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders can be found here.
The General Assembly convened its 2020 session on April 28th. The session will primarily focus on COVID-19 relief measures and legislation generated from the House Select Committee on COVID-19’s four separate work groups (Health Care, Education, Economic Support and Continuity of States). The Committee was appointed by the Speaker of the House to review current developments and to assist in the preparation of legislative proposals and began meeting March 25th. More information on the Committee and materials from work group meetings can be found here.
Municipal and County Restrictions:
Several local governments across North Carolina have implemented their own restrictions. Below is a list of 27 communities who have passed such restrictions, and a link to the local order.
NC Department of Revenue (DOR): https://www.ncdor.gov/
NC Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/
NC Department of Commerce: https://www.nccommerce.com/
NC Judicial Branch: https://www.nccourts.gov/
NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv
NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: http://www.ncagr.gov/
Department of Insurance https://www.ncdoi.gov/
Golden LEAF Foundation - Rapid Recovery Loan Program https://ncrapidrecovery.org/
Department of Homeland Security:
FDIC and Other Bank/Lending Regulators:
US Small Business Administration: