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Northam urges Virginians to stay home for Thanksgiving

Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 18:29:49-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam is urging Virginians to stay home for the Thanksgiving holiday, saying it would be “an act of love” to help keep people safe amid steadily rising coronavirus cases.

The Democratic governor’s comments Wednesday come a few days after he announced substantial new statewide restrictions on gatherings and certain businesses in an effort to slow the virus's spread.

At his press briefing Wednesday, Northam explained his decision for announcing new statewide restrictions.

"I do not intend for things to get worse before taking action," said Northam.

Earlier last week, Northam said he was focused on mitigation, but was swayed by the data he saw that day and what was happening elsewhere in the country.

"Seeing mobile morgues outside of hospitals because there’s no place to put the dead. We don’t need that to happen in Virginia," he added.

The state’s cap on gatherings will be reduced from 250 people to 25, and the mask requirement will be applied to younger children.

Also, the number of spectators allowed at athletic events will be reduced, and alcohol sales will be prohibited at dining and drinking establishments after 10 p.m.

When asked about other possible restrictions, such as one for travel, Northam again said all options were on the table.

He was also asked about if or when he may consider ordering schools to stop in-person learning. Northam said he’ll continue to let local districts make that call.

"What may be good for one area of Virginia may not be good for another. So, I’ve given them that discretion. I don’t have any numbers in mind when I’ll intervene," Northam added.