Bowser issues stay-at-home order, joining governors of Maryland, Virginia

Media Credit: File Photo by Dean Whitelaw | Staff Photographer

Bowser said those found violating the order could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $5,000, 90 days' imprisonment, or both.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a stay-at-home order for District residents Monday as the number of COVID-19 cases in the District nears 500.

The order, which goes into effect Wednesday, prohibits people from leaving their residences except to conduct some essential activities, like buying groceries, working an essential job or engaging in essential travel. The move comes hours after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued similar orders Monday.

“Our message remains the same: stay home,” Bowser said in a release. “Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people, this is how – by staying home.”

Bowser said in a press conference earlier today that she had a call scheduled Monday with Northam and Hogan to discuss the pandemic’s continued spread.

Residents still may travel to obtain medical care and “essential household goods,” work in essential government functions or businesses, or engage in “allowable recreational activities,” according to the release. Those found violating the order may be convicted of a misdemeanor and receive a $5,000 fine, a prison sentence of up to 90 days, or both.

The number of cases in D.C. has swelled to almost 500 in just three weeks since the first confirmed case on March 7.

Bowser declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency on March 11 and earlier this month shuttered all non-essential businesses and closed the National Mall and Tidal Basin.

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