DC Mayor’s trip to Delaware celebrating Biden’s win considered 'essential travel'

In her “Coronavirus Situational Update” news conference held Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed she traveled to Delaware and was present when President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris gave their victory speeches this weekend. 

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A photo posted to her “Muriel Bowser” Facebook page on Sunday morning appears to show the D.C. mayor smiling under her mask with others, including Biden Campaign Advisor, Symone Sanders. 

Delaware is on the District’s list of High Risk states, which requires those traveling from a state on the list for “non-essential” reasons, to quarantine for 14-days. Those who travel for “essential reasons” are told to self-monitor to self-monitor for 14-days, or self-quarantine if they show symptoms. 

The Mayor’s office tells FOX 5 the trip is considered “essential travel” because the Mayor met with members of the Biden-Harris campaign in her “official capacity” as D.C.’s Mayor while there. 
We’re told it’s considered a government-to-government action. 

Essential travel - according to District guidelines - does not necessitate mandatory testing. The mayor's office said it would check to see whether she tested as a precaution.

READ MORE: Travel restrictions updated to include COVID-19 testing for visitors to DC

The Mayor’s office says Mayor Bowser traveled to Delaware on Saturday evening and returned the same night, just to hear the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect’s remarks. When asked if she tested before or after out of precaution, FOX 5 was told the mayor tests regularly and did so earlier in the week. 

It was not immediately clear if she tested upon her return. We’re told she is not showing symptoms. Two staffers also traveled with the mayor. 

At the Monday news conference, the Mayor urged people to follow D.C. new coronavirus travel advisory that went into effect on Monday. The mayor wants those traveling to the District from outside of the DMV to test two days before their travel. She also wants visitors to test again if they’re staying more than three days. 

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“It didn’t go unnoticed that some people wore masks and people did not. Uh, but we, you’re know that we’re going to be concerned,” said the Director of DC Health, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, speaking of what District health officials observed during the impromptu Biden celebrations seen downtown on Saturday. 

On Monday, the District reported 86 new positive Coronavirus cases for November 8th bringing the overall positive case total to 18,087. That new case number was 110 on Thursday, November 5th.  

For some comparison, back on October 6th, FOX 5 reported had the “breaking news” that 105 new COVID19 cases were reported in a single day – the highest one-day spike the city had seen since June.  

The District’s test positivity rate is now at 3% as of last Thursday. 

FOX 5 asked whether the Mayor is advising people not to attend the Inauguration out of COVID19 concerns, as cases rise across the country. The mayor answered they’re still in the planning phase and she has not issued Inauguration guidance yet. 

The mayor did say she is not shutting down hotels around January 20, 2021 out of Coronavirus concerns, but did confirm the city has the authority to place restrictions on Airbnb’s.

Hotel rates appear to have skyrocketed for Inauguration Day. Some are showing rooms online for around $1,000 a night or more on January 20th. FOX 5 found multiple hotels reading “fully booked” on Inauguration Day on Hotels.com.