Anyone who visits D.C. from anywhere in the United States except four states deemed low-risk must get tested for COVID-19, according to the mayor’s order that went into effect Monday.
With a handful of exceptions, visitors must get a COVID-19 test before traveling and again if they will be here for more than three days. The restrictions do not apply to visitors from Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and Vermont.
Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced the new restrictions on Thursday amid indications that coronavirus crisis is worsening in the District.
“We want people to be safe and smart if they do travel,” she said at a news conference.
Travelers to D.C. will be required to get tested up to 72 hours before they travel, the mayor's order says. If you are a close contact of someone who has the coronavirus, don’t travel, the city says. If you’re here for more than three days, you must get tested again within three to five days of arrival.
Private institutions such as employers, universities, hotels and houses of worship may ask visitors about their recent travel and require proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
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Bowser admitted last week that enforcement will operate somewhat on the honor system and will rely on the private sector. There will not be "check points" at airports or on highways, she said.
The new restrictions will not apply to visitors from the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia, people here less than 24 hours, people traveling for essential work, or those traveling for a family emergency or funeral.
D.C. residents who travel to a high-risk state will be required to “limit daily activities and self-monitor for 14 days upon their return” or limit their activities until they get tested 72 hours after their return and receive a negative result.
More than 18,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus in D.C. and 654 people have died.
The mayor’s order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday and is set to remain in effect through the end of the year. It could be extended.
Since late July, D.C. has required visitors from high-risk states to self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested if they show signs or symptoms of the virus.
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An updated list of high-risk states is set to be released on Nov. 16.