Arlington Co. cracks down on crowded streets and sidewalks

Healthcare workers wait for patients to be tested at a walk-in Covid-19 testing site on May 12, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia.(AFP via Getty Images/OLIVIER DOULIERY)
There’s a new emergency ordinance in Arlington, Virginia, aimed at cracking down on a lack of social distancing in some parts of the county, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The new law passed unanimously by the Arlington Board prohibits people from gathering in groups of more than three, and directs pedestrians to keep a distance of at least six feet on certain streets and sidewalks, where signs will be posted noting the restrictions.

Failure to comply could result in a $100 fine, according to the county news release announcing the new law, which marks some of the strictest rules regarding outdoor behavior in the D.C. region.

While it is not clear exactly which streets and sidewalks the new law will impact, the county said some areas have seen “significant crowding inside restaurants and on the public sidewalks, rights of way, and adjacent public spaces,” where people are waiting for restaurant tables.

That suggests the new ordinance will apply to some of the busier streets and sidewalks in the county’s commercial district, where the board said that too many times, those who are gathered outside are not wearing masks and are not keeping a proper distance from others while waiting for tables.

“They are putting themselves and our community at risk of serious illness or death during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Arlington Board Chair Libby Garvey said.

The county board will hold a public hearing on the amendment at its county board meeting in September, before voting on whether to make it permanent.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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