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Quarantine Required After Non-Essential Travel

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) issued a Mayor’s Order requiring residents to self-quarantine for 14 days after non-essential travel to high-risk areas. 

Announced at her Friday, July 24 situational update, the order goes into effect Monday, July 27. Beginning Monday, DC Health will publish a list of high-risk areas every two weeks. Such areas are locations where the seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases is ten or more more per 100,000 people.  

The order excludes Maryland and Virginia from the list. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I), while acknowledging the difficulty given the large number of commuters coming from those states, said the exclusion was ‘troubling’ given areas with high levels of COVID-19 transmission. “It seems we could have specified cities in MD and VA identified as hotspots to get at Ocean City,” she wrote in a tweet.

Bowser said the order applies to college students, who will be required to self-quarantine if travelling to the District from high-risk areas. District government has reached out to post-secondary institutions to seek information about their COVID-19 policy and procedures, she added.

The order is effective until October 9, although Bowser said it could be “dialed back” based on COVID-19 trends. 

While Bowser emphasized COVID-19 cases are not tied to a single activity, high-risk activities — including personal services, indoor dining, 50-person gatherings, recreational sports and elective hospital procedures — could be limited or restricted. 

If people come to the District from a high-risk area because they are either returning home after performing an essential duty or arriving to perform an essential duty, they should only leave their residence to perform essential activities. 

Essential travel includes travel for purposes or work, medical care and worship, among other activities. While acknowledging that widespread, mandatory enforcement of the order is impossible, Bowser said residents who choose to travel to high-risk areas for non-essential purposes should realize that their behavior may jeopardize the health of vulnerable residents. 

As of July 24, D.C. reported no additional deaths related to COVID-19 and 78 new positive cases, bringing the total numbers to 581 and 11,649, respectively.

View Phase 2 metrics and data here

FY 2021 Budget

Yesterday, the Council unanimously passed a $8.5 billion local budget for fiscal year 2021, which includes a cut to the Metropolitan Police Department and some tax increases to fund social services. The Council scrapped a proposed three percent tax on advertising revenue, making up the $18 million lost in revenue by shaving funds from proposed increases to mental health services and infrastructure projects. 

Bowser said economic downturn caused by COVID-19 forced the District to reduce spending for programs. 

“Because of this pandemic, we have seen a decrease in our revenues,” Bowser said. “A lot of programs and services got a haircut because of that decrease in revenues. Those were necessary tough decisions.”

Eva Herscowitz is a journalism student at Northwestern University currently interning with the Hill Rag. She writes for Northwestern’s student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern. You can reach her at eva@hillrag.com

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