By ASHRAF KHALIL for the Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to address newly rising infection numbers, Washington, D.C., is mandating that anyone arriving in the nation’s capital after non-essential travel to a coronavirus hot spot area must self-quarantine for 14 days.
The executive order from Mayor Muriel Bowser comes days after Bowser took the step of making face-masks mandatory outdoors in the nation’s capital.
“We know, unfortunately, there are states that are seeing significant spikes in new cases,” Bowser said.
After saying they had successfully blunted the infection curve in the city earlier this summer, health officials say the infection numbers have slowly crept upward, reaching triple digits on Wednesday for the first time in weeks.
Bowser’s government is defining a hot spot as any area where the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases is 10 or more per 100,000 persons. The city government plans to publish a list of those hot spots on Monday, and update it every two weeks.
Anyone coming or returning to Washington from one of these hot spots will be asked to stay in their home or hotel room for 14 days, allowing no visitors and only leaving for essential reasons such as medical treatment.
Bowser said the self-quarantines would essentially be on the honor system and there would be “nobody standing at the hotel door telling people if they can come or go.”
The order begins on Monday, July 27 and will continue until October 9, the current expiration date for the city’s state of emergency and public health emergency declarations.
The order does not apply to people travelling between the District of Columbia and the neighboring communities of Maryland or Virginia. It also doesn’t apply if someone is merely transiting through an airport in a hot spot area.
Those arriving or returning from travel considered essential will be asked to limit their activities and monitor their physical symptoms, Bowser said. Members of Congress travelling to and from their districts would be considered essential.