April 8, 2020

Counting on Our Community to Stay Focused - Staying at Home Will Save Lives!

With the holiday week upon us, we want to reiterate the importance of complying with Governor Northam's Executive Orders 53 and 55. We understand this is a time when people want to attend religious services and get together with family and friends; however, for the protection of our community, we implore people to follow the orders to maintain social distance and not gather in groups of more than 10 people. Seek alternate ways to spend time with others that won't put anyone at risk of contracting COVID-19. We have all been making adjustments to integrate the new "temporary normal" conditions into our daily lives and we appreciate those concerted efforts.

Unfortunately, a few businesses and places of worship, as well as groups of individuals, have had a more difficult time adapting to the guidelines outlined in Governor Northam's Executive Orders. First and foremost, we have been pursuing voluntary compliance, and we will continue to do so. We are striving to educate everyone on the significance of each person's role in flattening the curve. However, if people choose to ignore our educational efforts and continue to disregard these directives, we will have no choice but to take enforcement measures, including the possibility of a physical arrest. As a reminder, all public and private in-person gatherings of more than ten individuals, except for the operation of businesses not required to close to the public under Executive Order 53, or to the gathering of family members living in the same residence, are prohibited. This includes parties, celebrations, religious, or other social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors. A violation of these provisions is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. We want everyone to enjoy their holidays while still adhering to the boundaries that are in place until June 10. Taking enforcement action for violations of the Governor's Executive Orders is a last resort, but will become necessary if our forewarnings are blatantly ignored. Please help us to protect our community by following the guidelines.

To read the Governor's Executive Orders in their entirety, please visit the links listed below: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/EO-53-Temporary-Restrictions-Due-To-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf

For additional clarity and guidance provided to faith communities and the acceptable means of conducting/attending religious services, please visit the link below: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/Faith-PDF_Guidance-Document_JBU_4-6-2020.pdf

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