People whose travels outside the District — or arrival in the District — are for the purpose of “essential travel” are required to watch for symptoms of the novel coronavirus for 14 days. If they have symptoms, they’re expected to self-quarantine and get medical attention.
Officials said travel to and from Maryland and Virginia is exempt from the order.
The 27 hot spot states on the list are Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
City officials acknowledged that local authorities would not be able to widely enforce the order — which is similar to rules being put in place by states across the country. But officials said they expect residents and visitors to follow it. Anyone who “willfully violates” the order can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 and imprisoned up to 30 days.
Authorities said Washingtonians planning to go to beaches in North Carolina and Delaware in upcoming weeks should cancel those vacations. Under the order, if they go, they would have to quarantine upon their return.
The mayor’s order comes as there have been spikes in coronavirus cases nationally and in parts of the D.C. region. Much of the increase in Maryland, Virginia and the District has been from the reopening of bars, indoor dining at restaurants and people just generally being out and about more, according to health experts.
D.C. expanded its mask mandate last week and jurisdictions including Baltimore and Anne Arundel County have taken more aggressive measures to try to slow down the virus and enforce social distancing, mask-wearing and other restrictions.
On Friday, officials in Virginia said the state wasn’t considering any self-quarantine measures similar to those Bowser was putting in place in the District. Officials in Maryland — where Gov. Larry Hogan (R) last week criticized New York’s decision to put Maryland on its quarantine list — declined to discuss whether they were considering such options.
Virginia and some parts of Maryland have seen rises in their test positivity rates, particularly among young people. Experts have said those rates and the rising caseload in the greater Washington area are of concern and warned that governments should consider requiring face coverings, shutting down bars and stopping indoor dining.
On Monday, Maryland, the District and Virginia reported more than 2,700 new cases and a dozen deaths. The District reported 78 new cases and one new death. Maryland had 1,128 new cases and seven new deaths. Virginia reported 1,505 new cases and four new deaths.
Hogan reiterated in an interview Monday that it’s up to local leaders to regulate bar behavior and implement stricter mask requirements to curb localized spikes. Statewide numbers, he said, do not justify rolling back Maryland’s entire reopening plan.
“We’re watching the numbers every single day. And if we think we have to take further action, nobody has been more aggressive in taking actions than I have,” Hogan said.
The governor attributed the rising caseload partly to what he said was more than threefold increase in testing over the past month. He said officials are concerned about what he called “a slight increase in hospitalizations” in recent days but said the numbers so far do not call for across-the-board action.
And he said it is up to “local liquor boards, county liquor boards, county health departments and, if necessary, county law enforcement” to enforce the state’s strict rules about seating and distancing inside bars and restaurants.
“We’ve told the leaders they have to start enforcing them,” Hogan said. “It’s causing a huge problem.”
Erin Cox contributed to this report.