Mayor to Residents: “Stay Home!”

311
The shuttered Anthem. Photo: Andrew Lightman

On March 30, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) issued an order directing residents to shelter in place until April 24.

“Our message remains the same: stay home,” Bowser stated. This “is the best way to flatten the curves and protect yourself, your family and our entire community from COVID-19.”

Residential Restrictions

Washingtonians are permitted to leave their residences for the following reasons:

  • obtain medical care not provided through tele-health;
  • shop for food and essential household goods;
  • work at essential businesses;
  • essential travel;
  • engage in limited recreational activities.

Homeless individuals are exempted from the order, but enjoined to find shelter. Porches and yards are considered part of a person’s residence.

All individuals suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 is restricted to their residence with the sole exception of seeking medical care.

Apartment dwellers are directed not to linger in common spaces such as gyms, party rooms, rooftops or courtyards. Many residential communities have already closed such amenities.

Residents may continue to obtain home-based services provided they do not involve physical contact and comply with social distancing. They are also permitted to care for family members or pets in another household. Child and eldercare may continue.

Uber and Lyft vehicles may not transport more than two passengers. Drivers are enjoined to disinfect all surfaces after each trip. Bikeshare and scooter riders are also directed to wipe down their rides after use. Buses will embark passengers from the back doors. Metro riders are encouraged to maintain social distance while using public transit.

Non-contact outdoor recreation is permitted provided the sport complies with social distancing is conducted solely with members of one’s own household. Examples including walking, running, dog walking, biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, tennis, golfing and gardening.

All businesses are directed to move as many employees as possible to telework. The Mayor empowered the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to demand COVID-19 operational plans from both essential and non-essential businesses.

Penalties For Non Compliance

Under the order, DCRA can issue warnings and impose fines of up to$1,000 a day per site. The agency can also close non-compliant businesses.

While this may not seem to be different from earlier directives, the new order makes violating the order a misdemeanor. The Metropolitan Police Department and other law enforcement agencies can now issue fine and imprison violators. The penalties cannot exceed $5,000 or more than 90 days.