In response to escalating violence across the commonwealth, Governor Ralph Northam Sunday declared a state of emergency and authorized assistance to localities. The governor also granted a request from Mayor Levar Stoney to extend a curfew in the City of Richmond.
“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe, said Governor Northam. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”
A state of emergency allows the commonwealth to mobilize resources, including the Virginia National Guard, and pre-position people and equipment to assist localities in their efforts to de-escalate violent protests and protect public safety.
The declaration allocates $350,000 for state and local governments and state response and recovery operations authorized and coordinated through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
The order extended a curfew in the City of Richmond between the hours of 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM through today, June 3, 2020. While the curfew is in effect, people must remain in their homes and may leave only to seek emergency services or travel to and from home, work, or places of worship.
The governor’s executive order declares in part:
On this day, May 31, 2020, I declare that a state of emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Virginia due to past and potential future civil unrest that poses a danger to public safety. The Commonwealth of Virginia has experienced significant events in the past 48 hours that have required intervention to restore order, ensure the safety of protestors and the public, protect property, and provide additional resources to support our local and state partners.
In the past 24 hours alone, there have been numerous instances of unlawful activity resulting in injuries to peaceful protestors and first responders, significant property damage, and continued escalation of violent events. Specific incidents include unlawful assemblies declared in the City of Richmond, Prince William County, and Roanoke, extensive property damage in the City of Richmond including the burning of two buildings, vehicle fires, debris and dumpster fires, vandalism, looting, and the damage to law enforcement vehicles.
The commonwealth has a compelling interest to maintain peace and order in the face of escalating tension. The effects of this civil unrest constitute an emergency wherein human lives and public and private property are imperiled, as described in § 44-146.16 of the Code of
Virginia (Code). Action is necessary to preserve life and property and to alleviate the conditions caused by this situation.
Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V of the Constitution of Virginia, by §§ 44-146.17 and 44-75.1 of the Code, and as Governor and Director of Emergency Management and Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth’s armed forces, I proclaim that a state of emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Virginia . Accordingly, I direct state and local governments to render appropriate assistance to prepare for and respond to this situation, to alleviate any conditions resulting from the situation, and to implement recovery and mitigation operations and activities so as to return impacted areas to pre-event conditions as much as possible. Emergency services shall be conducted in accordance with § 44-146.13 et seq. of the
Further, I declare that the City of Richmond shall be under a curfew between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. beginning May 31, 2020, and ending June 3, 2020. Unless extended by further executive order, the curfew shall end at 6 a.m., June 3, 2020. While the curfew is in place no person shall be present on any street, road, alley, avenue, park, or other public place in the City of Richmond with the following exceptions: persons traveling to and from home, work, or places of worship; hospital personnel; members of the press; state and City of Richmond employees and volunteers; military personnel including but not limited to national guard troops; private emergency medical transport workers; persons seeking emergency services; and other emergency workers
Nothing in this Order shall be construed to prohibit or restrict travel to a hospital in the event of a medical emergency, nor shall such travel be considered in violation of this order.