WASHINGTON - Mayor Muriel Bowser had a strong message on Wednesday for District residents who might consider visiting their neighbors should they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic: you are putting D.C. at risk.
The question arose in the days following Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement that the state could reopen on a limited basis as soon as next week – including opening restaurants and salons with reduced capacity, and protective measures in place.
“D.C. residents who are participating in non-essential activities, no matter the jurisdiction, put D.C., their household, their neighbors, people they’re on public transportation with at risk – and that’s why we continue to be in the stay-at home posture. And that’s why we continue to watch our cases very closely,” the mayor said.
The mayor – along with leaders in Maryland and Virginia – have maintained that they are coordinating their efforts to combat the virus, which has infected thousands in the region, and killed hundreds.
However, while Virginia has at least suggest that it may reopen, neither D.C. nor Maryland have suggested they are willing to take the same step anytime soon.
FOX 5 spoke with Maryland and D.C. residents on Tuesday – many of whom said they were confused about what they can and can’t do should neighboring Virginia reopen. Others were concerned that a premature reopening in one jurisdiction or the other could lead to a second surge.
The mayor suggested that there’s still some uncertainty about what decision Virginia will arrive at next week.
“I don’t know where they’re going to land in Virginia, in Maryland I don’t think their posture has changed. But I don’t know where they’re going to land. I Think the governor said he would be making some decisions by May 15 in Virginia,” she said.
The mayor stressed that regardless, the stay-at-home order remains in effect in the nation’s capital.
“We are focused on essential activity in our city. That’s what we will continue to tell our residents and D.C. government employees, no matter what jurisdiction they’re in – that staying at home is the only way that we’re going to be able to safely open up,” the mayor said.