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DC issues stay-at-home order: Here's what you can leave your house for

Anyone who violates the stay-at-home order may be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a $5,000 fine, 90 days in prison, or both.

WASHINGTON — Following the lead of the surrounding states, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of coronavirus across the District. The order goes into effect Wednesday, April 1.

This order reinforces the Mayor’s direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities.

“Our message remains the same: stay home,” Bowser said. “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.”

The Mayor’s Order specifies that residents may only leave their residences to:

  • Engage in essential activities, including obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth and obtaining food and essential household goods;
  • Perform or access essential governmental functions;
  • Work at essential businesses;
  • Engage in essential travel; or
  • Engage in allowable recreational activities, as defined by the Mayor’s Order, such as walking, hiking, dog walking, biking, rollerblading, scootering, skateboarding, playing tennis, golfing, gardening, and other activities.
  • Outdoor activities should not be conducted with others other than those from the same household.

Anyone who violates the stay-at-home order may be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a $5,000 fine, 90 days in prison, or both, officials said. The order will remain in place through April 24. 

On Monday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam both issued stay-at-home orders for the two states to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our area.

"We are no longer asking or suggesting for Marylanders to stay home. We are ordering them to do so," Hogan said during a news conference on Monday.

"Please stay home as much as possible," Northam urged Virginians. "This is a community-wide effort and I thank you for complying. This is a time of sacrifice. We need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly."

Maryland's order goes into effect at 8 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 30; Virginia's order will remain in effect until June 10, unless amended or rescinded before then.

The stay-at-home order means that residents must stay in their homes and only leave if it is absolutely necessary.

To be clear: A stay-at-home order is not a full lockdown. 

Both Virginia and Maryland have implemented a list of restrictions and enforcements to ensure everyone is safe but has deemed some activities as essential. Here is a list of activities that are considered essential that you can still participate in:

  1. Going to the grocery store to buy groceries or supplies for you and/or your household. 
  2. Engaging in activities that are essential for your health and safety of one's self, family, household members, pets, or livestock, including such things as seeking medical or behavioral health or emergency services, and obtaining medication or medical supplies.
  3. Caring for a family member, friend, pet, or livestock in another household or location, including, transporting a family member, friend, pet, or livestock animal for essential health and safety activities and to obtain necessary supplies and services.
  4. Traveling to and from an educational institution to receive meals or instructional materials for distance learning.
  5. Engaging in outdoor exercises, such as walking, hiking, running, or biking while abiding by CDC social distancing guidelines.
  6. Travel required by a law enforcement officer or court order.
  7. Traveling to and from a federal, state, or local government building for a necessary purpose.

RELATED: Virginia Stay-At-Home order: Here's why you can and can't leave your house

RELATED: Maryland Stay-At-Home order: Here's what it means, and what needs to close

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