Schools adapt to shutdown, new Dulles screening creates 40,000-person crowd, tax relief for Richmond restaurants, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Sentara Healthcare began offering drive-through COVID-19 screening at three sites in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Chesapeake.—Daily Press

• Schools are taking varied approaches to a state-mandated two-week shutdown. Alexandria is moving instruction online, Loudoun bought $5 million worth of Chromebooks for students, and Fairfax distributed some activities but said they won’t be graded.—The Washington Post

• Businesses around the state closed, reduced hours or shifted operations in response to an order by Gov. Ralph Northam to limit public gatherings of 50 people or more. “It just seemed for the general safety of our staff and everyone involved we should not have a bunch of people in here breathing on each other,” said the manager of Edo’s Squid, a popular Richmond restaurant.—Associated Press

• A handful of state lawmakers called for a special legislative session, but Northam said the step isn’t necessary. Democrats want the state to require employers to provide paid sick days, while a Republican leader is asking for a reevaluation of next year’s budget.—The Virginian-Pilot

• Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney pledged tax relief for restaurants hurt by the pandemic and is also considering offering no-interest loans to small businesses in the city.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• At Dulles International Airport, new screening requirements for 40,000 residents reentering the country led to “a tense, hours-long, close-quarters re-entry process for thousands of Americans, some of whom now worry whether they may have been exposed to the virus while navigating a system designed to prevent its spread.”—WAMU

• After downplaying the threat of the virus on national television, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. reversed course and said the university will indeed cancel most in-person classes when students return from spring break.—The News & Advance

• Local governments around the state are trying to figure out how to keep meeting and safely hold required public hearings.—The Roanoke Times

• “The Virginia Department of Corrections has suspended taking new inmates from local jails for 30 days as of Thursday’s declaration by Gov. Ralph Northam of a state of emergency. As of Monday afternoon, there had been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the system’s 30,000 inmates or among the staff at its more than 40 facilities, officials said.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• School districts around the state kept their cafeteria kitchens open, handing out meals at distribution points and via school bus.—The Roanoke Times

• With door-to-door and storefront sales no longer advisable, local Girl Scouts are turning to social media to sell their cookies.—The Virginian-Pilot

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