Prince William Police plans to actively discourage gathering of ten people or more.
Governor Ralph Northam's 'Stay-At-Home Order' gives local and state law enforcement the ability to enforce this ban.Breaking rules of the order could result in a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both.
According to Sgt. Jonathan Perok, county police do not intend to be heavy-handed as people adjust to the new rules; however, officers want people to understand the gravity of the situation and comply with this and other state-issued orders.
"The police department’s stance is and has always been voluntary compliance and education," Perok said. "We understand this is a challenging and stressful time for everyone and these are new restrictions not seen by many before so we’re all trying to work together to get through it."
However, he makes clear the orders are important to public health and safety.
"We’re not looking to arrest or cite people for violating the order but we need everyone to take it seriously. This is meant to stop the spread of the virus. That’s the message we have for the community."
"We’re not looking to arrest or cite people for violating the order but we need everyone to take it seriously. This is meant to stop the spread of the virus. That’s the message we have for the community."[/pullquote]Gov. Ralph Northam issued Order 55, TEMPORARY STAY AT HOME ORDER DUE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19), Monday. The Order limits what Virginians are permitted to do during the outbreak in order to keep everyone safe and curtail the spread of the virus.
As Perok understands it, the Governor’s orders clear in addressing many of the questions people may have about what they can and cannot do.
The main three takeaways are:
1) limit travel to essential purposes as outlined in the order,
2) maintain social distancing of 6ft or more, and
3) limit gatherings in accordance to the order to no more than 10 people.
As a resource to provide more clarity, Gov. Ralph Northam's Office has posted more information on a Frequently Asked Questions page as a resource for clarification.