What businesses can still operate during stay-at-home order?
Realtors, construction workers and HVAC employees continue work.
Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday issued a temporary stay-at-home order through June 10 in response to coronavirus, but what are Virginians still allowed to do?
Essentially, Virginians will only be able to leave their homes for essential reasons — such as picking up groceries or prescriptions, seeking medical care or going to a job if necessary. But essential businesses include more than one may think, as the order does not require that the operation of businesses be closed to the public.
The following is a list of essential retail businesses, according to the governor:
- Grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, as well as department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations
- medical, laboratory and vision supply retailers
- electronic retailers that sell or service cellphones, computers, tablets and other communications technology
- automotive parts, accessories and tire retailers, as well as automotive repair facilities
- home improvement, hardware, building material and building supply retailers
- lawn and garden equipment retailers
- beer, wine and liquor stores
- retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores
- retail within health care facilities
- banks and other financial institutions with retail functions
- pet stores and feed stores
- printing and office supply stores
- laundromats and dry cleaners
Aside from retail, other industries are operating in-person while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Although Virginia Realtors is strongly recommending that members stop holding in-person open houses, the association says that Realtors are still be able to conduct business.
“Try to meet with clients virtually as much as you can,” according to Virginia Realtors’ COVID-19 resources page. “Unlike other states where the governor has spelled out in detail what is and is not allowed, Virginia has left this more open. This ambiguity can benefit the industry if the industry continues to be responsible and take precautions.”
Individual showings are still permitted, but Virginia Realtors recommends that agents work with clients to limit the number of properties they show.
The construction industry is still continuing work on projects and adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“We have only seen a few jobs shut down, and most of them involve nursing homes additions,” says Pat Dean, president of the Associated Builders Contractors Virginia chapter. “If we do see [shutdowns], it’s going to be because a developer says ‘hey, let’s stop for a minute, and let’s make sure everyone is on board with all of the protocols we’re going to need to be doing.
“We have not slowed down, we’re just working differently. We have to be safer than ever. You’ll see members doing temperature testing and interview questions of everybody that enters the job site.”
HVAC, plumbing and electrical companies are still operating as well.
“We are issuing protective gear to each technician so that we can continue to provide routine preventative maintenance and emergency services without interruption,” Justin Andress, president of Richmond-based HVAC contracting company Woodfin, said in a statement to customers. “We have modified our paid-time-off policies to ensure that no one here at Woodfin will be forced to decide between their financial well-being and their health.”
Golf courses are allowed to remain open under the executive order, but clubhouses must close.
For questions not addressed by this list, contact the Virginia state government by calling 211 or emailing [email protected].
This is a developing story. Wondering what other businesses continue to operate in-person? Contact assistant editor Sydney Lake with questions or tips.