The Virginia Supreme Court on Friday approved a request from Gov. Ralph Northam to extend a statewide moratorium on evictions until Sept. 7, as thousands of cases remain pending in Virginia.
The court was split 4-3 on the decision. The majority ruled that the pandemic may "substantially endanger" or "impede" tenants' ability to defend themselves in court.
The court pointed to the ease with which the virus spreads, the risks associated with traveling and being inside a courthouse, the fact that low-income citizens are more prone to underlying health issues, and that they may face difficulties accessing the court online or hiring a lawyer.
Northam celebrated the decision, asserting that yet-unsuccessful talks in Congress over a second COVID-19 relief package make the evictions ban more necessary.
"As the ongoing Congressional stalemate leaves Virginians without federal housing protection, this is a critical step towards keeping families safely in their homes," Northam tweeted.
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