“I will make whatever decisions and take whatever actions necessary to save the lives of Marylanders,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in Annapolis. “We’re not fooling around anymore.”
The second death in the region from coronavirus was a man from York County, Va., who was in his 70s and died of respiratory failure in the hospital, officials said. The first fatality was a man in his 70s from nearby James City County who died Saturday, also of respiratory failure.
With newly reported cases pushing the region’s known total to 116 as of Monday evening — 52 in Virginia, 41 in Maryland and 23 in the District — residents and businesses dug in for a long period of increasing isolation. The Naval Academy said it would close to visitors starting Tuesday. The U.S. District Court in Washington suspended all jury selection, trials through May 11 and grand jury proceedings through April 17.
The Arlington Diocese joined D.C. and Maryland Catholic leaders in canceling Mass, and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington said its previously announced two-week closure of all churches would last through mid-May, including Holy Week and Easter. First lady Melania Trump announced that the White House Easter Egg Roll, which dates to 1878, will not be held this year.
Hogan, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) urged the Trump administration Monday to make the Washington region a priority for testing — including drive-through testing sites.
“The National Capital region is home to over 6 million residents and the seat of the federal government, with hundreds of thousands of employees and contractors serving the Department of Defense and other mission essential agencies,” they wrote in a joint letter sent Sunday to President Trump.
Administration officials had not responded to the request as of Monday evening.
At least one major bank, Capital One, shut down some branches in the region and its cafes to minimize the potential for infection. The bank, which will keep ATMs operating, said it isn’t aware of any confirmed cases of infection at any of its facilities.
In Virginia, Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun counties closed libraries, recreation centers, senior centers and facilities for elderly residents with disabilities. Loudoun and Prince William counties declared local states of emergency, while in Maryland, Prince George’s County did the same.
“This can be prevented and contained, but it will require sacrifices on all of our parts,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D). “As a community, we can come together.”
A positive test result involving an employee of the Capital Hilton hotel prompted officials to suspend operations and warn former guests to seek medical attention if they feel ill. Metro shut down a police station near the Franconia-Springfield station in Fairfax County after one of its police officers there tested positive.
Most area schools were closed.
At Gonzaga College High School in the District, officials notified parents that the school’s president, Stephen Planning, had tested positive for the virus. Planning had recently returned from a trip to Florida.
“He is feeling relatively well, is in OK spirits, has been resting, and is doing what is urgently required from all of us during this time — namely self quarantining,” said the note from Chief Operating Officer Stephen Neill.
At Holy Trinity, an Episcopal school in Prince George’s County, officials told parents and staff that two faculty members have tested positive and recommended that students in the school’s high school prep program self-quarantine through March 25.
The University of Virginia also announced its first covid-19 case Monday, though officials there did not provide details.
In the District, Howard University canceled in-person classes for the rest of spring, as well as its commencement ceremony, after someone at a March 7 Charter Day dinner tested positive. Others who attended the dinner were told to report to their doctor if they begin exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
The District also recorded its first known infection at United Medical Center, the public hospital in Southeast Washington. There, an emergency room doctor has tested positive, while a hospital gastroenterologist has self-quarantined after he began to feel unwell. The hospital did not provide details for the ER doctor.
Wayne Turnage, D.C. deputy mayor for health and human services, said the gastroenterologist’s wife had tested positive for coronavirus after returning from travel abroad. The gastroenterologist is awaiting his test results, Turnage said.
Meanwhile, tensions grew over efforts to keep people from further spreading the virus in public gathering places. Hogan said he plans to use 2,200 National Guard troops plus state police to enforce his executive order, which also bans gatherings of 50 or more people indefinitely. He said his administration will work to add 6,000 beds to hospitals for increased capacity and temporarily ban proceedings for evictions and utility shut-offs.
“It’s impossible to know how long this threat will continue,” he said.
Keith Jones, the owner of the popular Chick & Ruth’s Delly in Annapolis, sat in one of the restaurant’s trademark tiny booths Monday — a day before the normally busy St. Patrick’s Day holiday — trying to devise a plan that would allow him to stay afloat and avoid laying off workers.
“We don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Jones said. “We’re in uncharted waters.”
In the District, Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said the city’s closure order includes health spas, massage establishments and any other venue where 50 or more people might gather. The closure of restaurants and bars was to take effect Monday night. The order affecting theaters, gyms and other venues takes effect Tuesday.
Officials in Arlington called on bars and restaurants in the county to shut down as well so that D.C. and Maryland patrons wouldn’t flood in on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond.
Bowser this weekend had imposed less-stringent restrictions — for nightclubs to close and restaurants and bars to suspend bar seating and keep tables six feet apart — which drew pushback from at least one major restaurant owner in the city.
“We will not bow down to pressure from the Mayor’s Office or any group for that matter who covertly is attempting to shut us down,” the Hill Restaurant Group, which operates seven establishments in the city, posted on Facebook. The statement said the District’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus “is not our burden to bear nor is it our staff’s burden to bear.”
Bowser sternly responded on Twitter that she would use the “full force” of her police and fire departments, alcohol regulators and the Department of Health to achieve compliance.
“We all have an obligation to do our part to contain the spread of this global pandemic.”
Tom Johnson, the managing partner of the Hill Restaurant Group, relented Monday morning and said he would comply with the restrictions. When the mayor ordered full closures hours later, he said he worried whether his seven establishments including Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Lola’s and Opehlia’s Fish House, could survive.
“It might bankrupt us, period, if government doesn’t anything to help small business,” Johnson said. “It’s not just us. Everybody is going to have the same problem.”
Others in the area worked to ease the impact. Independent bookstores offered free shipping and, in one case, one-hour reservations to four people at a time who want to peruse selections in the store away from others.
“This will obviously hurt our business in the short term,” the Solid States Books store in Northeast Washington said in a tweet about its plans to take orders by phone and email for curbside pickup. “Hopefully, with your help, we’ll all reap the benefits of this closure in the long term.”
Near American University, which reported Monday that a student who lives on the Northwest Washington campus has tested positive, parents urged their homebound children to draw pictures that they would then display in their windows, as a sort of outdoor gallery for passersby.
A map showing everyone who promised to participate listed 77 homes in the Friendship Heights and American University Park neighborhoods. Several families ventured out to see the pictures of rainbows, shamrocks and other festive scenes that had been put up so far.
Four girls playing on Jenifer Street were eager to explain the benefits.
“It’s so you don’t get trapped inside your home,” said 7-year-old Parker Deem.
Correction: An earlier version of this story may have implied that all Capital One branches were temprarily closing. Only some branches in the Washington region are closing.
Rachel Chason, Erin Cox, Peter Jamison, Luz Lazo, Laura Lumpkin, Hannah Natanson, Darran Simon, Patricia Sullivan and Justin George contributed to this report.