Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Dec. 24

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

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Despite warnings not to travel, 85 million Americans are expected to leave home over the holidays.

Doctors worry long-distance travel will accelerate the spread of the coronavirus.

Virginia has set a record for the number of people hospitalized with the virus. On Christmas Eve, 2,240 Virginians are hospitalized with COVID-19.

But there are reasons for hope: 1 million Americans have now received a COVID-19 vaccine.

A judge upheld Montgomery County, Maryland's ban on indoor dining Wednesday evening.

Another hearing will be held in 10 days.

Restaurants are suing to stop Montgomery County's ban on indoor dining. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

Thirty-three restaurants sued to stop County Executive Marc Elrich’s executive order banning indoor dining, saying outdoor and carryout dining only bring in about 25% of the revenue they need.

The attorney for the restaurants says the indoor dining ban causes “irreparable harm … a certain death knell to the restaurant industry.”

Montgomery County lawyers argued Elrich issued the executive order and the county council approved it and a temporary restraining order “would undermine steps to protect residents of Montgomery County. It would put countless people at risk of infection and death.”

D.C.'s ban on indoor dining is in effect. Some restaurant owners are understanding but also frustrated. The ban means canceling reservations during the holiday season and beyond. News4’s Shomari Stone reports.

D.C.'s suspension of indoor dining is now in effect, prohibiting restaurants from seating customers until 5 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2021.

Some restauranteurs are understanding but also frustrated at the loss of revenue.

"It's definitely going to hurt business," said Oji Abbott, the owner of soul food restaurant restaurant Oohs and Aahs. "You can't bring in the revenue you need to sustain and thrive."

Other restrictions are also in effect until Jan. 15: Capacity is limited at retail stores to 25% or 250 people, museums and libraries can't welcome visitors and tours are paused.

What the Data Shows

The coronavirus data has some encouraging signs, but were still at the height of the pandemic: The D.C. area is seeing a slowdown in new cases, but key metrics are still significantly worse than they were one month ago.

Compared to Thanksgiving Day, seven-day averages of new cases are up. They’ve risen in D.C. from 151 to 229; in Maryland from 2,250 to 2,392 and in Virginia from 2,036 to 2,930.

Virginia reported a record-high number of coronavirus hospitalizations on Thursday, reaching 2,240 patients.

Hospitalizations are also up in Maryland and Virginia, reaching 2,232 and 253, respectively.

Local Coronavirus Headlines

Reopening Tracker

Although COVID-19 treatments have improved and a vaccine is on the way, even a mild case of the virus can cause long-term complications — including the possibility of erectile dysfunction. Infectious disease expert Dr. Dena Grayson joined LX News with a warning not to let our guards down as we wait for a vaccine.

How to Stay Safe

Anyone can get COVID-19. Here are three simple ways the CDC says you can lower your risk: 

  • Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth. 
  • Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on. 
  • Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.
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