DC Not Planning Fines, Jail Time for Violations of Stay-at-Home Order

"We are currently in a public health emergency. Your gathering puts both you and others at unnecessary risk,” an officer said on a loudspeaker

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Washington, D.C., officials are strongly urging residents to comply with the stay-at-home order that goes into effect Wednesday to slow the spread of coronavirus. But the mayor said they aren’t anticipating harsh enforcement. 

“We don’t expect we will have to issue any fines or jail time because we expect people will comply,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference Tuesday morning. 

The order the mayor issued Monday, following the governors of Maryland and Virginia, included punishment with a fine of $5,000 or less and up to 90 days in jail for anyone in deliberate violation. 

Businesses in violation also can face penalties, including fines and the loss of licenses, the mayor said. 

D.C. police officers are repeating stay-at-home messages on loudspeakers. 

“Attention, everyone. Attention, everyone. We are currently in a public health emergency. Your gathering puts both you and others at unnecessary risk,” an officer says in a video tweeted by the mayor. “We encourage you to use proper social distancing and to refrain from gathering in large groups. Failure to do so puts you all at risk and could result in illnesses and death. Thank you for your cooperation.” 

School safety officers will patrol playgrounds, parks and recreation centers to encourage social distancing, and police will be on the lookout for pickup sports games, the mayor said. 

D.C. health officials predict the city has yet to reach its peak for the number of COVID-19 cases. NBC4's Doreen Gentzler spoke with the president of the D.C. Hospital Association to see how they are preparing for the influx.

D.C. officials also had these updates Tuesday: 

Additional Data on Cases: Starting Wednesday, the District will provide more data on the people sickened by the virus. Information will be released on each patient’s age group, sex and in which ward they live. Data will be released every morning. 

More First Responders Sickened: More first responders and people in Department of Corrections (DOC) custody have contracted COVID-19, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue said. 

There were 14 members of DC Fire and EMS diagnosed and 172 in quarantine; six members of the Metropolitan Police Department diagnosed and 176 in quarantine; one DOC staff member diagnosed and 103 in quarantine; and 40 Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services staffers in quarantine. 

Additionally, six people in DOC custody had been diagnosed and 88 were quarantined. One youth in custody was diagnosed and eight were quarantined. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-at-home order. News4's Mark Segraves reports city leaders are concerned that some who have died from coronavirus were scared to seek medical treatment due to their immigration status.

More Supplies Delivered: D.C. received a large shipment of personal protective equipment on Tuesday and it will be distributed to health care providers and first responders, the mayor said. The supplies include tens of thousands of masks, gloves and gowns, plus hand sanitizer. 

The mayor urged residents not to hoard supplies, so that they’re available for health care workers and first responders. 

New Testing Center to Open: A public testing facility is set to open this week at United Medical Center. The center will have a test run Thursday with first responders and then be open to the public on Friday. It’s set to be open three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

Go here to learn more about the stay-in-place order for D.C. It’s set to remain in effect through April 24. Go here for a detailed rundown of what’s banned and allowed

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