ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders Monday as the greater D.C. region battles to control the advance of the novel coronavirus.
Both states and the District are currently trying to come to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread worldwide.
“We’re no longer asking, we’re directing,” Hogan said.
In both cases, the governors noted that many residents were complying with state guidelines regarding social gatherings, but there were enough people ignoring them that additional measures needed to be taken.
Northam noted that while most residents were complying, the state's beaches were "literally packed" over the weekend.
According to a statement from Bowser’s office, the order reinforces her direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities. The order will remain in place through April 24.
Hogan's order – which goes into effect tonight at 8 p.m. – makes violating it a misdemeanor.
Under the Virginia order - which goes into effect immediately - violation warrants a misdemeanor charge under certain circumstances.
Those who are convicted of violating the orders could be subject to one year in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.
The orders bar all non-essential travel, and permits only travel that is "absolutely necessary."
This the kind of public movement that is permitted under the Maryland order:
- Grocery shopping
- Seeking medical care
- Caring for a family member or friend
- Traveling to and from schools for food or obtaining distance learning materials
- Engaging in exercise outdoors, but only if you refrain from activities involving 10 or more people
- If you’re a police officer or you’re adhering to a court order
- Traveling to and from a state, federal or local government building on official business
Virginia's list is similar, but added that travel would be permitted for those participating in social or charitable services; and for those who are threatened at their current location or are directed to by law enforcement.
Both orders also maintain a prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more people, and orders any such events to be canceled.
Those who work at the “non-essential” businesses in Maryland, which have been ordered closed while the state battles the coronavirus, are permitted to remain there if:
- They’re facilitating remote working for other staff members
- Maintaining essential property
- Preventing the loss of, or damage to, property
- Performing administrative functions – like picking up the mail and payroll
- Caring for live animals
Maryland is also closing senior citizen activities centers until the end of the state of emergency.
Northam ordered that all public beaches would close, along with all public institutes of higher learning.
The D.C. order specifies that residents may only leave their residences to:
- Engage in essential activities, including obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth and obtaining food and essential household goods;
- Perform or access essential governmental functions;
- Work at essential businesses;
- Engage in essential travel; or
- Engage in allowable recreational activities, as defined by the Mayor’ s Order.