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DC imposes coronavirus quarantine on travelers from 'high-risk' areas but lawmakers are exempt

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday those traveling from coronavirus hotspots will need to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the nation’s capital.

The order, which begins Monday, does not include Maryland or Virginia. Every two weeks the city will publish an updated list of high-risk areas on its official coronavirus website, Bower said during a press conference. The list of high-risk areas is expected to go up Monday.

“High-risk areas are locations where the seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases is 10 or more per 100,000 people,” the mayor’s presentation explains.

Anyone returning from performing an essential service or coming to the city to perform an essential service is told only to leave home for that work. Members of Congress are exempt because they’re performing an essential service, and the Washington Nationals have also been granted an exemption waiver, WTOP reported.

The announcement came just after Bowser boosted the city’s mask mandate, requiring anyone over the age of 3 to wear a mask any time they leave the house and may come in contact with others. The order indicated violators could be fined up to $1,000.

“We know, unfortunately, that there are states that are seeing significant spikes and new cases. We know that there are places where people are not being as cautious or making the sacrifices that we’re making here in D.C.,” Bowser said in a news conference.

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University and college students arriving from high-risk areas will also be required to self-quarantine on their campus or in their off-campus housing.

Bowser urged travelers to remain cautious, but admitted the order would be hard to enforce.

“Do I think that … my next door neighbor is going to call the police and say, ‘You know they went to Florida, you got to make sure they stay in their house?’ No. Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not going to happen,” Bowser said.

The city concluded this week it has seen an increase in community spread of the virus since entering Phase 2 of its reopening plan in late June. On Friday D.C. announced 78 new cases and no deaths, bringing the seven-day average to 76 cases per day, the highest since early June.

Reopening measures could be rolled back if trends continue, but Bowser reiterated that one of her main goals was to get children back to school.

“And as I said the other day, we don’t know what impact being out of school for months is having on our children. But we know it can’t be good,” Bowser said.

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The mayor also said: “It’s not good academically, socially or emotionally. So everything that we do to stop the spread of the virus, get our kids back to school, gets us one step closer to normality in our community.”

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