As the pandemic continues, Washington, D.C., is seeing its efforts to limit certain large gatherings start to be challenged.
A crowd of people gathered outside the White House on Saturday for President Donald Trump's first public, in-person event since he announced he tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Hospital.
Scores of supporters cheered on the South Lawn as Trump said, "I'm feeling great."
The White House had said hundreds of people would attend the event, which far exceeds D.C.'s limit of 50 people at most gatherings. However, the White House is federal land.
A court sided with a D.C. church that petitioned to have outdoor worship services with more than 100 people. The city denied Capitol Hill Baptist Church's request for a waiver, despite a plan for churchgoers to wear masks and maintain social distance.
A judge granted a temporary injunction Friday that will allow that church to hold services, saying the limits outlined in the mayor's order likely violate religious liberty.
The church says it has 850 members.
In Prince George's County, officials will add a new activity to the list permitted enterprises: drive-in movies. As of Friday, drive-ins that received a permit from the county and had a sufficient COVID-19 compliance plan could open.
Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
What the Data Shows
The spread of COVID-19 is speeding up in the region, according to recent trends. The seven-day averages of new cases are significantly higher than last week.
D.C.'s seven-day moving average of new cases has grown larger almost every day this month. On Oct. 1, it was 36. On Saturday, it's 64.
Virginia and Maryland's case numbers are also trending upwards. Over the past week, Maryland has grown from 550 cases to 568 cases and Virginia has grown from 679 to 859.
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
- Childcare capacity is expanding in Maryland under phase three. Montgomery and Prince George's counties have opted to remain at current operating levels.
- D.C. reported 105 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, the highest number since early June.
- Gym goers in Arlington, Virginia, will soon take spin classes on an open air training terrace instead of peddling away indoors. Take a look at how it works.
- D.C. updated its list of states subject to travel restrictions because they're considered high risk due to coronavirus. The next updated list is set to be released Monday, Oct. 19.
- A Maryland high school donated the money it raised for prom to an effort to fight COVID-19 when the pandemic forced it to cancel the party.
- D.C. plans to have high school sports return in January.
- D.C. granted permission for six indoor venues to host performances. D.C. also granted permission for the Adams Morgan business improvement district to host outdoor movies.
- A judge sentenced a Maryland man to a year in jail for throwing parties that exceeded capacity restrictions at the beginning of the governor’s coronavirus emergency order.
- D.C.'s mayor extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency Wednesday 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 Thursday, 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 will allow tanning salons, banquet halls and other businesses to open with restrictions. It adjusted some other rules on Wednesday, 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:
- Anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering. Keep it over your nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often. When you do, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who lives outside your home. That means staying six feet away from anyone outside your circle, even if you're wearing masks.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.