Arlington Co. adds $100 fine for failure to follow pandemic social distancing guidelines

New signs are seen near “The Lot” beer garden at 10th street and Wilson Boulevard In Arlington, Virginia.

New signs are posted near “The Lot” beer garden at 10th street and Wilson Boulevard In Arlington, Virginia.

New social distancing signs are seen near “The Lot” beer garden at 10th street and Wilson Boulevard In Arlington, Virginia.

Signs just added noting a new $100 fine for violations of social distancing guidelines are seen at Don Tito’s on Clarendon Boulevard in Virginia.

Signs to remind people to social distance are seen at Spider Kelly’s on Clarendon Boulevard in Virginia.

Dots to remind people to adhere to social distancing guidelines are seen on Clarendon Boulevard in Virginia.

Dots to remind people to adhere to social distancing guidelines are seen on Clarendon Boulevard in Virginia.

A sign reminding people to adhere to social distancing guidelines is seen at bar Bao on Clarendon Boulevard.

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Officials in Virginia’s Arlington County are concerned about an uptick in coronavirus cases and some people openly defying police trying to enforce social distancing guidelines.

So, starting this weekend, the county will enforce a new ordinance in areas of Wilson Boulevard, Clarendon Boulevard and Crystal City.

Under the new rules, no more than three people at a time can stand in line outside a bar or restaurant.

County Manager Mark Schwartz said some people have openly defied official attempts to enforce social distancing rules. The new ordinance will allow police to fine people up to $100 for not complying.


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“I don’t want to sound overly dramatic about it, but this is not a game, you know we’re dealing with the public’s health,” Schwartz said.

The new ordinance does not cover every street in Arlington County, just areas near some bars and restaurants where there have been problems.

The areas are marked by signs and by markings on sidewalks.

In June, Arlington County’s seven-day coronavirus case load was at six daily cases. It has recently increased up to about 20 cases per day.

“We need to stop the spread of this disease, and it’s incumbent upon me and our public health staff, and I think incumbent upon the community to do whatever it is we have to do, to make our best efforts,” Schwartz said.

If the new ordinance does not work, county leaders said they might consider changing how late bars and restaurants can serve alcohol.

Currently, the cut-off time is 2 a.m., but it could be changed to midnight or even 10 p.m., following what some other local communities have put in place.

“I remain deeply frustrated over what I’m seeing in the community,” Schwartz said.

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