Tighter coronavirus-related restrictions go into effect Sunday evening in Prince George’s County and early Monday in Virginia as officials try to get ahead of elevated case numbers. Changes previously went into effect in Maryland.
Starting at 5 p.m. Sunday in Prince George’s County, masks must be worn outdoors and capacity will be restricted at many businesses. Starting after midnight Sunday in Virginia, anyone 5 years old or older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces, and capacity at indoor and outdoor gatherings will be further restricted.
D.C.’s seven-day rolling average of cases as of Sunday was 139 — the highest it’s been since May 24. Maryland’s was 1,705, the highest on record. Virginia’s was down slightly from a rise the previous day. Hospitalizations were about steady in D.C. but elevated in Maryland and Virginia.
In Prince George’s County, gathering sizes will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, or one person or household per 200 square feet.
Masks and face coverings will be required outdoors unless someone is vigorously exercising. The rule applies to most people older than 5 years old.
New capacity limits will be implemented across many businesses, including:
- Indoor dining establishments now limited to 25% capacity
- Outdoor dining limited to 50% capacity
- Bowling alleys and gyms limited to 25% capacity
- Retail capped at 50% capacity
- Churches are limited to 125 persons outside or 25% capacity inside
In Virginia, attendance at indoor and outdoor gatherings will be reduced from 250 people down to 25, and the age at which children must wear masks in indoor public spaces will be lowered from age 10 to age five. Alcohol sales must end at 10 p.m.
The owners of The Renegade restaurant and music venue in Arlington were worried about the impact of the alcohol sales cutoff time.
“It’s going to hurt us dramatically. We are a late-night business here in Clarendon. A huge portion of our sales come in that 10 to 2 o’clock hour on the weekends,” managing partner Seamus Phillips said. “We do not know how we’re going to get around this scenario in order to keep our doors open.”
The following measures will take effect:
Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians age five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals age 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.
Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.
Earlier this week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she’s not ruling out the possibility of rolling back some elements of phase two reopening if the impact of the virus worsens.
Coronavirus Cases by Neighborhood in D.C.
Source: D.C. Coronavirus Hub Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington
Last updated Dec. 9
What the Data Shows
Coronavirus cases and deaths are still climbing in D.C., Maryland and Virginia — with big jumps in cases in D.C. and Maryland.
D.C. announced 163 more cases on Sunday. Two more people died. The seven-day rolling average of cases was 139, which is the highest it’s been since May 24.
Maryland announced 1,840 cases of the virus and nine more deaths. The seven-day rolling average was 1,705, the highest on record.
Virginia announced 970 more cases and one more death. The seven-day rolling average was 1,034 and was down slightly from a rise the previous day. The peak was 1,143 on May 31.
Hospitalizations were about steady in D.C. but elevated in Maryland and Virginia, with 104 people hospitalized in D.C., 938 in Maryland and 1,006 in Virginia.
The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 100,000 residents.
Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia
COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Prince George's County is tightening restrictions and requiring masks be worn outdoors.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday how the state will allocate about $70 million in federal aid as the state braces for months of rising coronavirus cases.
- Eight players on the University of Maryland football team tested positive for COVID-19. The game against Ohio State has been canceled.
- Maryland released a new contact tracing app and at 5 p.m. Wednesday reduces indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50% in response to rising coronavirus cases and increased hospitalizations.
- A review by the News4 I-Team has found concerns that Prince George’s County, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state, has received what some are calling an underwhelming share of the more than $165 million in aid thus far.
- Coronavirus hospitalizations in Maryland this week reached the highest level since June. Here's how the state is responding.
- D.C. now requires travelers from all but four states get tested for COVID-19, once before travel and again if they plan to stay in the District for more than three days. Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and Vermont are the exceptions.
- Almost 100 employees at motor vehicle branches around the D.C. area have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Maryland and Virginia released plans Oct. 20 for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, but D.C. is staying mum for now.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser is urging D.C. residents who use iPhone or Android smartphones to opt in for a new COVID-19 contact-tracing app.
- Most new COVID-19 cases in D.C. come from social events, according to data presented by the District's health department.
- Maryland rolled back capacity limits at indoor dining establishments and urged people against traveling to states where coronavirus is spreading too fast.
- Montgomery County has reduced capacity limits at many businesses, including for indoor dining, to 25%. The county previously stopped giving waivers for alcohol sales after 10 p.m.
- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said that his administration is focused on promoting healthy behaviors such as mask-wearing, frequent hand washing and social distancing rather than rolling back reopening as cases rise.
- D.C.'s mayor extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency to last through the end of the year.
- Maryland child care providers can return to the full teacher-to-child ratios for which they are licensed, state officials said, and some nursing homes will be able to resume indoor visits.
- Montgomery and Prince George's counties are among those that did not enter phase three with the state of Maryland. Here's a roundup of counties in our area.
- Prince George's County allowed tanning salons, banquet halls and other businesses to open with restrictions. Officials recently adjusted some other rules too. Read more.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan authorized all public schools in the state to begin “safely” reopening because state metrics on the coronavirus show improvements. The state “strongly suggests” that local school districts bring students back into schools but cannot force them to do so, Hogan said. Montgomery and Prince George's schools both affirmed that they were not altering plans to hold classes online throughout the first half of the school year.
- Prince George's County revisited its phase two reopening executive order due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, according to the county executive's office.
- Virginia entered phase three reopening July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools. Northam has said more restrictions could be implemented if cases continue to grow.
- D.C. entered phase two June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two June 19, reopening with restrictions gyms, houses of worship, indoor dining and retail.
How to Stay Safe
There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:
- 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.