WASHINGTON (WMAL) – Washingtonians who go to 27 states designated as COVID-19 hotspots for nonessential travel, like vacation, will now need to self-quarantine for 14 days when they get back to the District. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s order – which went into effect Monday – also applies to people who live in the hotspots and come to D.C. for nonessential business.
Monday the D.C. Department of Health released its list of states it has deemed high-risk because they have a seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases are 10 or more per 100,000 people. The list will be updated every two weeks and posted on coronavirus.dc.gov.
The closest state on the list is Delaware, which has many beaches – including Rehoboth, Bethany and Dewey – that are popular summer destinations for Washingtonians. The other states are: Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, California, 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.
The rule doesn’t apply to people coming to the city from Maryland or Virginia, or Washingtonians traveling to those states from the District. People who travel to or from the city from hotspots for essential business – including members of Congress – will be allowed to go out to do that work, according to Bowser, but should self-quarantine and get tested if they start getting symptoms. Bowser said essential businesses includes work, caring for elderly family members or your children, and visiting a house of worship.
Bowser said at a press conference last Friday she was putting the travel restriction in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the city from some places that aren’t being as careful and are seeing a rapid spread.
“Unfortunately when people travel in and out of D.C. from these places, that can put our community’s health at risk,” Bowser said.
She advised Washingtonians to re-consider travel plans to these states and encourage each other to do the same.
“You do know that when you get back you have to stay in your house because if you start circulating to the grocery store or to the family cookout or to work that you could be infecting other people,” Bowser said.
For now, the order will remain in place through Oct. 9 when the public health emergency in the city ends, but Bowser said that date could change based on new data.
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