D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam all issued executive orders Monday for residents to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The orders allow only essential travel such as trips to grocery stores or pharmacies, transporting a family member for medical appointments and to obey court orders.
Bowser was the latest to enforce the stay-at-home order, issuing the directive late Monday afternoon just hours after Hogan and Northam had done the same earlier in the day.
“Today, due to an increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in DC and across the region and the nation, I’ve issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia,” she tweeted. “This order reinforces my direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities.”
Any person who “knowingly and willfully” violates the order could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to 90 days in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both, Bowser said.
The mayor had already closed schools and nonessential businesses in the city through April 24.
As of 7:30 p.m. Sunday, the District’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases was 401.
In Maryland, the order will go into effect at 8 p.m. Monday. As in D.C., violators face possible jail time and a $5,000 fine, but the jail sentence ranges up to a year in the state.
“This is a rapidly escalating emergency situation,” Hogan said at a press conference. “We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home. We are directing them to do so.”
The order prohibits all bars, fitness centers and other nonessential businesses from opening until the state of emergency is lifted. Hogan didn’t give a specific date of when the order would be lifted.
As of 11 a.m. Monday, the state recorded 1,413 confirmed coronavirus cases, including a month-old infant, Hogan said.
In Prince George’s County, a screening and testing site for the novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, opened Monday for those with scheduled appointments. The site will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.
In neighboring Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday the stay-at-home requirement is effective immediately and will remain until June 10. The state’s health department reports 1,020 confirmed coronavirus cases.
All public schools in the state will remain closed for the remaining academic year.
“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” Northam said in a statement. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing.”