All shoppers at grocery stores in D.C. must wear masks, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday morning. The requirement will be enforced by stores.
At a news conference Thursday morning, the mayor asked shoppers to help keep grocery store workers safe.
“Our grocery workers are on the front line of the response to this pandemic. All of us ... need to do everything in our power to keep them safe."
The mayor asked shoppers to limit their grocery-store trips, shop quickly and use self-checkout lanes when possible.
Bowser issued an order Wednesday night requiring that all grocery stores comply with new social distancing guidelines. In D.C., all grocery stores and convenience stores must limit the number of shoppers, create one-way aisles where possible and cease the use of buffets. Go here to see more of the new rules.
Beginning Monday, shoppers in Montgomery County, Maryland, also will be required to wear face coverings in grocery stores, pharmacies and large chain retail establishments, County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced Thursday. Retailers also must establish capacity limits, according to the health order.
The order also requires stores to provide signage and markings to reinforce social distancing.
Giant and Safeway stores across the region will create one-way aisles and urge shoppers to keep their distance from each other.
The restrictions follow the death of a 27-year-old employee of a Giant store in Largo, Maryland. Also, an employee at the Trader Joe’s store on 14th Street NW in D.C. tested positive, the company said Wednesday night.
Here’s where we are Thursday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area.
The number of people diagnosed with the virus in D.C, Maryland and Virginia has now topped 11,000. As of Wednesday morning, 11,011 cases of coronavirus had been diagnosed. D.C. had reported 1,440 cases, Maryland had 5,529 and Virginia had 4,042. At least 260 people had died. Go here for details.
African Americans in the D.C. area and nationally face higher risks from coronavirus. News4 spoke with Howard University’s president, Wayne Frederick, about why. He cited “larger structural issues” including access to care, access to healthy food and stressors in one’s daily life. Frederick urged social distancing.
In Montgomery County, parts of Sligo Creek Parkway will be closed to give residents more space to get outside while abiding by social distancing guidelines. Other roadways in the county are expected to be closed soon. D.C.’s mayor said she wasn’t sold by the “open streets argument.”
“I think if we shut down a street, you would be asking me, ‘Why are so many people in the street?’” she said.
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam postponed the state’s congressional primaries and said officials are trying to improve their collection of data on coronavirus patients’ races. The commonwealth does not have race or ethnicity data for 53% of its patients.
In D.C., street vendors told News4 that they are relying on donations as coronvirus precautions makes regular business impossible. They stopped selling food and products to keep themselves and others safe.
And something cheerful beyond — way beyond — our area: A U.S.-Russian space crew blasted off Thursday to the International Space Station. They left from Kazakhstan at about 4 a.m. ET.