The COVID-19 crisis has essentially shut down large portions of society in Virginia and across the United States. To prevent – or at least slow – the spread of the virus, state governors across the country implemented a variety of stay-at-home, or shelter-in-place, orders. In Virginia, Governor Northam’s executive order requires that non-essential businesses close and that residents stay in their homes, with a few limited exceptions:
- To seek medical attention
- To work
- To care for family members
- To obtain necessary goods
- To engage in outdoor recreation
Employers, lawmakers and workers across the country have all had difficulty when it comes to defining what constitutes an essential business. It is almost universally agreed upon that theaters, hair and nail salons, museums, concert venues, gyms, tattoo parlors, racetracks, bowling alleys, aquariums, zoos, and indoor shooting ranges are considered non-essential in most states. Under the Governor’s executive order, the following are essential businesses:
- Home improvement stores
- Grocery stores
- Pet stores
- Dry cleaners
- Medical supply stores
- Liquor stores
- Electronics stores
Virginia is unique in that those businesses that are neither considered essential or non-essential can remain open if they follow proper social distancing protocol and limit customers to 10 at a time. Of course, most people working in the medical field will continue to go to work, as well.
While hospitals, doctor’s offices, and many businesses can remain open during the COVID-19 crisis, these places must still take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For example, the following are essential precautions that any facility should take:
- Ensure employees and customers follow social distancing protocol by remaining at least six feet apart whenever possible.
- Encourage employees to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Encourage employees and customers to cover their mouth with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze, or wear a face mask.
- Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.
If these precautions are not followed, COVID-19 is much more likely to spread to others.
Those who have been infected with COVID-19 during the stay-at-home order may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries they suffered. However, the unprecedented situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic will require courts to wrestle with many new and unanswered questions. For that reason, anyone who has contracted COVID-19 and has questions about their options should consult with a dedicated Virginia personal injury attorney.
Contact a Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has recently contracted COVID-19, and you believe that it was from your place of employment or another business, contact the Virginia personal injury lawyers at Robinson Law PLLC. Our dedicated team of Virginia premises liability attorneys has extensive experience handling all types of personal injury claims, including novel issues such as those involving the contraction of COVID-19. To learn more about how we can help you with your case, call 703-649-4500 to schedule a free consultation today. Because we work on a contingency basis, we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover for your injuries.