Washington, D.C.’s mayor says the city’s residents could be jailed for 90 days or slapped with a $5,000 fine if they are seen to be leaving their home while efforts are being made to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Mayor Muriel Bowser’s directive came just hours after neighboring Maryland and Virginia each unveiled similar orders on Monday.
‘Our message remains the same: stay home,’ Bowser said in a statement on Monday.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday announced an order requiring residents of the nation’s capital to stay at home or potentially face criminal charges
‘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.’
‘When we slow the spread of COVID we protect our hospitals and healthcare facilities from getting overwhelmed. We are able to keep more hospital beds open and make better use of limited resources,’ she said.
There are exceptions to the stay-home order for grocery shopping and essential workers.
People are allowed to perform exercise outside as long as people keep six feet apart or are with members of the same household.
The region is working to curb the spread of the coronavirus. People are allowed to perform exercise outside as long as people keep six feet apart or are with members of the same home
Residents are also able to obtain medical care but there is still a ban on mass gatherings of 10 people or more.
The nation’s capital has had a relatively small number of coronavirus cases with just 401 documented so far.
The threat of jail time did not sit well with those pushing for civil liberties at this time.
‘When we saw this order, we thought, ‘You want to send them where?” Monica Hopkins, executive director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia said to the New York Post.
Wisconsin Avenue in Washington DC pictured at 5pm during the evening ‘rush house’. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a mandatory stay-at-home order for Washington residents
‘People being arrested for that causes all sorts of problems that are antithetical to the goals of lessening the virus.
‘What we would hope for is voluntary compliance with the stay at home order and discretion on the part of officers to break those sort of things up and send people home,’ Hopkins said.
Presidents Trump’s former White House director of strategic communications was also taken aback by the new rules.
‘This is insane. Criminal penalties?’ tweeted Mercedes Schlapp.
Presidents Trump’s former White House director of strategic communications was taken aback by the new rules
Twitter followers were quick to respond. ‘There is a pandemic going on. Just thought I’d let you know,’ wrote one user.
‘The politicians are out of control. They have no legal authority for most of what they are doing. They must pass law, not create edicts. Government of the people. Not totalitarian by mayors, governors etc.’ added another.
It’s not clear whether residents would be issued warnings for a first offense or what treatment the city’s 6,500-person homeless population will receive.
The new order by Washington’s mayor generated some mixed responses online