Virginians can now be jailed for a year for attending church services with 10 people. Gathering in a church is now punishable by up to 12 months in jail or up to a $2,500 fine, or both.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order on Monday that is aimed at stopping the new coronavirus — and, in the process, makes it a criminal offense to hold a church service attended by more than 10 people.
Yes, his order makes it a crime for more than 10 people to gather in a church.
There are two passages in the text of the governor’s order that are relevant to this.
Paragraph 1 says: "Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia, by § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia and in furtherance of Executive Order 51, I order the following: 1. Effective 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, 2020 until 11:59 p.m., Thursday, April 23, 2020, all public and private in person gatherings of 10 or more individuals are prohibited."
Virginia governor makes attending church a criminal offense. Virginia governor Ralph Northam has made it a criminal offense to attend church services of more than 10 people. An executive order went into effect in the commonwealth on Tuesday, March 24, making any non-essential gatherings a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine of $2,500.
Executive Order 53 states “All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.”
The executive order expires at 11:59 p.m. on April 23, 2020, and is subject to change at any time in response to ongoing concerns for public health during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the order, Gov. Northam (D) ordered all restaurants, breweries, food courts, farmers markets, and bars to close to the public, and shift to delivery and takeout only. Only retail businesses deemed “essential” were permitted to remain open.
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