Nonessential travelers to DC from ‘high-risk areas’ will need to self-quarantine

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a new order Friday requiring people coming to the District from “high-risk areas” after nonessential travel to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The mayor’s order starts Monday.

It “excludes Maryland and Virginia. D.C. Health will publish a list of high-risk areas on and update it every two weeks,” Bowser’s presentation reads. “High-risk areas are locations where the seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases is 10 or more per 100,000 people.”

D.C.’s list of high-risk areas is expected to go online Monday.

Bowser said at a Friday news conference that the city has raised concerns about people traveling to other parts of the U.S. and coming to D.C.

“We know, unfortunately, that there are states that are seeing significant spikes and new cases. We know that there are places where people are not being as cautious or making the sacrifices that we’re making here in D.C.,” Bowser said.

“And, unfortunately, when people travel in and out of D.C. from these places, that can put our community’s health at risk.”

Bowser added that if people come into Washington from a high-risk area because they are returning home after performing an essential duty, or because they are coming to D.C. to perform an essential duty, they’re being asked to be more vigilant.

“They should only leave home or where they’re staying to perform the essential activities related to their travel,” Bowser said.

University and college students arriving from high-risk areas will also be required to self-quarantine on their campus or in their off-campus housing.

Asked about enforcing the order, Bowser said, “For our colleges and universities, we will require that they maintain a list of students who will be required to quarantine because of their travel. And that list would have to be available for for inspection.”

However, “There’s nobody standing at the hotel door telling people if they can come or go, but certainly, they will be required to make all of their travelers aware of the guidelines of the local jurisdiction.”

Bowser said she’s urging D.C. residents to remain cautious about travel and not risk bringing new infections home. But she doesn’t think Washingtonians will turn on each other over enforcement.

“Do I think that … my next door neighbor is going to call the police and say, ‘You know they went to Florida, you got to make sure they stay in their house?’ No. Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not going to happen,” Bowser said.

Exceptions to the order include the Nationals, who have been given a waiver. And members of Congress are also exempted because they’re performing essential government functions.

Nats star Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19 and was put on the injured list Thursday.

During Friday’s news conference, D.C. Homeland Security & Emergency Management Director Chris Rodriguez said Soto is “not the only case” the Nationals are reporting.

Personal services, indoor dining, the 50-person limit on gatherings, recreational sports and elective procedures could be dialed back if trends worsen. According to officials, there isn’t any one particular metric that could cause a rollback.

The mayor said one of her big goals is to get children back to school safely.

“And, as I said the other day, we don’t know what impact being out of school for months is having on our children. But we know it can’t be good,” Bowser said.

“It’s not good academically, socially or emotionally. So everything that we do to stop the spread of the virus, get our kids back to school, gets us one step closer to normality in our community.”

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.

DC coronavirus numbers

The District reported 78 new coronavirus cases Friday, bringing the total to 11,649.

No new D.C. residents lost their lives to the virus. The death toll stands at 581.

Track the District’s coronavirus data online.

Below are maps of coronavirus cases by ward, neighborhood and community spread (click to enlarge).

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up