Virginia Gov. Northam makes it a crime for 10 or more people to gather — including at church

"Information from the Virginia Department of Health reveals occurrences of the virus in every region of the Commonwealth. Indeed, the data suggests that in several regions there may be community spread of the virus," the order reads. "Now, we must take additional long term action to mitigate the impacts of this virus on our Commonwealth."

About the order: Executive Order 53 was signed by the governor on Monday. It prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people, closes all K-12 schools for the rest of the school year, closes all restaurant and bar dine-in services, and closes all "recreational and entertainment businesses."

The order took effect Wednesday. Exemptions include typical essential businesses like grocery stores, banks, health care providers, and pharmacies, but also includes, for some reason, beer, wine, and liquor stores.

What about churches? The order doesn't explicitly mention religious gatherings, but the governor's office confirmed that religious services were not included in the list of exemptions that was granted to liquor stores. CNS News reported:

Criminal penalties: The executive order makes violations a Class 1 misdemeanor. Such misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $2,500.

 
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