Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Monday ordered the city’s residents to stay indoors unless carrying out essential activities as the U.S. tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
An order from the mayor’s office Monday afternoon indicated that individuals who defied the order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face fines of up to $5,000 if convicted. Essential activities exempted from the order include obtaining “food and essential household goods,” getting medical care, performing or accessing government services or engaging in essential business or travel.
Residents will still be able to leave the house for various recreational activities, so long as they do not violate social distancing guidelines or bans on public gatherings. The order follows similar orders implemented by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Monday.
“Our message remains the same: stay home,” Bowser said in the news release. “Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how — by staying home.”The city previously closed nonessential businesses and directed restaurants to end dine-in services, while limits on gatherings of 50 or more people were temporarily banned. D.C. has registered more than 400 confirmed cases of the virus and nine deaths, while surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia have seen higher numbers of infections. “Today, due to an increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in DC and across the region and the nation, I’ve issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia. This order reinforces my direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities,” Mayor Bowser tweeted.
“Our message remains the same: stay home. Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how — by staying home,” she added.
On Sunday, President Trump approved a federal disaster declaration for the District of Columbia after the total number of deaths in D.C., Maryland and Virginia climbed to 51.
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