May 19, 2020
Section 44-146.17 of the Virginia Code dictates that the Governor of Virginia shall act as the Director of Emergency Management during declared disasters. When Virginia entered a state of emergency following the outbreak of COVID-19, Governor Northam gained additional powers to coordinate emergency response efforts. His authority includes the power to issue any binding executive directives and orders he deems necessary to see Virginia through this crisis. To date, these orders include Virginia’s stay-at-home directive, Medicaid changes, and election postponements.
Contact the Virginia attorneys at McClanahan Powers, PLLC, with questions about the impact of Governor Northam’s executive actions by calling (703) 520-1326 or reaching out online. We’re available for Virginia business owners and residents alike seeking guidance during the Novel Coronavirus outbreak.
The Governor’s office issues new executive orders and directives nearly every week as the pandemic evolves. Executive directives are binding on government agencies, but they often benefit Virginia residents. Executive orders, however, are legally binding in Virginia and generally applicable to all persons present in the Commonwealth. As such, violating a Virginia executive order may lead to criminal charges. Virginia residents and businesses should review the following executive actions and contact a qualified Virginia lawyer with questions.
Amended EO-53, expanded and updated on April 15, 2020:
The Governor may amend, revoke, and expand these orders as the situation develops. For questions about whether your business can remain open during this crisis, speak with a Virginia lawyer at McClanahan Powers, PLLC.
As of March 30, 2020, EO-55 provides that all individuals present in Virginia must remain in their homes or places of residence unless an exemption applies. Exemptions include obtaining food and other goods, seeking medical attention, meeting with law enforcement, applying for essential government benefits, visiting family members, caring for a pet or individual, attending a court hearing, engaging in outdoor exercise, traveling to work/school/church, and volunteering. During these activities, individuals must maintain a social distance of at least six feet.
Additional directives from EO-55 mandate the closure of all in-person learning and gatherings at public and private colleges, public beaches for activates other than fishing and exercising, and short-term campgrounds. The primary elections scheduled for June 9, 2020, have been postponed to June 23,
EO-58 waives Medicaid and FAMIS copays, pre-screening requirements at nursing facilities, certain steps for replacing durable medical equipment (DME), and 30-day limitations on companion and personal care providers.
EO-60 clarifies that specific provisions of the Virginia Code work to shield healthcare providers from liability for medical malpractice related to COVID-19. Due to healthcare shortages, providers have immunity for injuries and death caused because they had to refuse, abandon, and/or cease treating patients during a health crisis. They also have immunity for any injuries or deaths arising from their treatment of patients when responding to the outbreak. EO-60 clarifies that healthcare workers are not expected to provide the same level of care during emergencies. Immunity only applies to cases for ordinary negligence and does not excuse gross negligence or willfully malicious conduct.
The Governor implemented the following relevant executive directives since the COVID-19 outbreak. Such directives apply to Virginia agencies but may benefit Virginia residents:
If an Executive Directive impacted you or your business, speak with one of our Virginia business lawyers today.
At McClanahan Powers, PLLC, our experienced Virginia attorneys actively monitor the stream of Governor Northam’s executive actions to apprise clients of relevant changes. For more information about your legal rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 crisis in Virginia, contact our virtual office today at (703) 520-1326 or online.