Northam extends ban on elective surgeries, delays on vehicle registration deadlines

Mike Still • Apr 24, 2020 at 12:00 PM

RICHMOND – Citing continuing COVID-19 spread in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam has extended a ban on elective surgeries in the state’s hospitals until May 1.

Northam’s announcement Thursday also gives the state’s drivers until July 31 for registering vehicles, getting inspections and renewing driver’s licenses.

“We have increased our supply of PPE, but before we allow elective surgeries to resume, we must first be assured that the doctors, nurses and medical staff who are fighting this virus or conducting emergency surgeries have the necessary supplies,” Northam said on Thursday of his extension of March 19’s Emergency Order Two. “We are working with medical facilities on plans to ensure that we can resume elective surgeries safely and responsibly.”

Northam said the extended ban does not apply to procedures where patients would suffer harm because of a delay. Outpatient visits in hospital-based clinics, family planning services or emergency needs are also exempt from the extension. He said the public should feel safe when going to hospitals for emergencies.

State Department of Motor Vehicles Customer Service Centers, DMV 2 Go, and DMV Connect locations were ordered closed to the public on March 17, and Northam extended that closure to May 11. Online and mail services will remain available, he said, and DMV services should reopen to the public with limited operations on May 11.

All driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, special identification and driving credentials set to expire on or before June 10 will remain valid for 90 days beyond expiration but not beyond July 31. The extension will allow holders to renew those documents, Northam said.

Class B state driver training schools will have behind-the-wheel training suspended until June 10 to minimize contact between customers and instructors.

The Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed unanimously to a second extension of its March 16 emergency order for all state and local courts, pushing that order into 63 days on its May 17 expiration.

Besides continuing most court trials and requiring electronic court document filing where possible, state Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons has ordered that video or telephonic technology be used to conduct all arraignments, hearings, trials and other proceedings. Certain filing deadlines and case statutes of limitations may also be extended based on the emergency order’s duration.

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