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Arlington County: Groups of 3 or more banned from gathering on streets and sidewalks under new ordinance

Arlington County adopted the emergency order July 31 in an effort to help mitigate coronavirus cases and promote social distancing.

ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. — Groups of three or more people are now banned from gathering on Arlington streets and sidewalks under a new emergency order adopted by the Arlington County Board Friday.

The new ordinance only applies to areas posted with the restrictions and is an attempt to mandate social distancing for the county. Pedestrians are still required to keep at least six feet of space between one another.

Libby Garvey, a board chair for Arlington County, said Friday that the initiative comes as a way to remind Arlington residents the seriousness of the virus. Many bars and restaurants have seen large crowds as groups wait for socially distanced tables, while others are situated on busy streets where groups can intertwine.

“While most Arlingtonians are adhering to requirements to wear masks and maintain social distancing, unfortunately, some are not," Garvey said. "They are putting themselves and our community at risk of serious illness or death during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Those found violating the county's order could be hit with a traffic fine of up to $400 dollars.

In Virginia Beach, health data shows the number of cases climbing, and Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia) said too many young adults have been in bars maskless.

In Maryland, there has been a steady rise in the percentage of cases among people younger than 30. 

"The infection rate among Marylanders under the age of 35 is now shockingly 52% higher than among those 35 and older," Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Maryland) said earlier this month.

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