Arlington County will let sidewalk physical distancing ordinance lapse

Calling the ordinance requiring physical distancing on Arlington County, Virginia, sidewalks and streets impractical, the county board voted to let it lapse when it expires near the end of the month.

The emergency ordinance required pedestrians to stay 6 feet apart, and prohibited groups of more than three people on posted streets and sidewalks. It was adopted July 31 and will lapse Sept. 29.

The board voted 4 to 1 to let the ordinance expire, with Katie Cristol, Matt de Ferranti, Takis Karantonis and Christian Dorsey voting against making the emergency ordinance permanent, and Board Chair Libby Garvey voting in favor, the county government said in a statement Wednesday.

Violators were subject to a $100 fine, but Dorsey said in the statement that no one had been cited and that the police called it “impractical.”

He added, “They have prioritized encouraging compliance and have not issued a single citation. I don’t see any reason to continue having something on the books that clearly doesn’t work.”

Garvey said in the statement, “I believe the ordinance had an effect and has encouraged compliance in areas of the county where crowds gather in and around bars and restaurants. I hope what compliance it brought continues even after the ordinance lapses.”

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Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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