Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks described Thursday an ongoing problem at National Harbor of thousands of young people gathering in large groups.
“There have been increased thefts, hotel parties hosted by parents for underage children, who they leave in those hotel rooms,” Alsobrooks said.
She said the large crowds could ease the spread of the coronavirus.
She said there have been complaints from restaurant owners of some young people refusing to pay for their food.
Harborside Hotel employee Vincent Washington said large parties of kids were an issue even before the pandemic.
“A lot of times you don’t even know that the parent is not there,” he said.
Harborside has a strict no party policy. Guests have to sign a form when they check in promising not to gather in groups larger than four or make too much noise.
Coronavirus Cases in Maryland by Zipcode
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“We try to give them some kind of benefit of the doubt, so we’ll give them that one-time warning only,” Washington said. “If we hear it again, they are evicted from the hotel.”
He said they’ve only had to kick out about five people so far.
Prince George’s County promised to offer more activities for kids, like sports and online games, to keep them from gathering in groups at the harbor.
“It is not the playground, it is not an amusement park, and it pains me to have to say that, because I understand what our kids are going through,” Alsobrooks said.
The county is not ready to move into phase three of pandemic reopening. Officials said the numbers aren't quite there yet to resume more activities in the county.
“Prince George’s County has been the hardest hit jurisdiction in our region and in our state,” Alsobrooks said. “This unfortunately continues to be the case.”
She said in recent weeks the rate of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has increased.
“We are really concerned and want to make sure that it stays at a low number,” she said.
The county also is asking people to avoid trick-or-treating this year, saying it’s not safe.