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Trump Declares Major Disaster In VA Over Coronavirus

Patch logo Patch 4/2/2020 Deb Belt
a close up of a flower: President Trump approved Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's request to declare the state a disaster, freeing up resources to fight coronavirus. © Shutterstock President Trump approved Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's request to declare the state a disaster, freeing up resources to fight coronavirus.

VIRGINIA — President Donald Trump on Thursday approved Gov. Ralph Northam's request to declare a major disaster in Virginia, which frees up federal resources to fight the state's growing coronavirus outbreak.

The disaster declaration opens up federal assistance throughout all parts of the state affected by the new coronavirus at a federal cost share of 75 percent. This allows state agencies, local governments, and some non-profit organizations to buy supplies and be reimbursed for coronavirus-related costs. In addition, the major disaster declaration authorizes federal agencies to provide direct emergency assistance to Virginia.

Northam requested the federal disaster assistance on March 30.

“We thank the federal government for moving quickly to approve Virginia’s request for a major disaster declaration,” Northam said. “This critical funding will support our ongoing, statewide efforts to fight this virus in our Commonwealth and keep Virginians safe.”

On March 27, the Commonwealth received authorization for Title 32 funding to support the Virginia National Guard.

Northam issued a state-at-home order Monday for residents to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. The order lasts until June 10, unless changed or rescinded by another executive order.

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He had earlier banned gatherings of ten people or more. Local police will break up crowds and residents are encouraged to contact the police if they see stores or other establishments not enforcing social distancing or limiting their customer counts.

Those who violate the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people, or the closure of beaches and campgrounds, could be punished by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.

For more information about Virginia’s COVID-19 response, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

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