DC Metro Area Goes on Lockdown

Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia announced “stay at home” orders on Monday in response to the growing COVID-19 outbreak in the region. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

Stay-at-home’ orders have been issued for the D.C. region. Here is what that means.

Maryland, Virginia and the District issued “stay-at-home” orders on Monday, joining a growing list of states and cities mandating broad, enforceable restrictions on where residents can go in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

For weeks, officials in the Washington region have escalated social distancing measures, closing schools and businesses deemed nonessential, cutting down on public transport and banning large gatherings. Storefronts have been boarded up and streets emptied.

So what do these new stay-at-home orders actually do? And how will they affect the day-to-day lives of residents?

First, it’s important to note that these orders — known variously as “stay-at-home,” “shelter-in-place” and lockdown orders — are not all the same.

The most stringent, happening in Italy and France, mean residents who leave their homes must carry a document explaining why they are doing so.

In the greater Washington region and in most parts of the United States, such orders do not go that far.

Monday’s stay-at-home directives do not significantly expand existing rules on who can or cannot leave the house; they mostly make the rules enforceable. So while before, a person may have been frowned upon for playing basketball with friends or having brunch with people who are not part of their household, now — in Maryland and in the District, at least — they may be detained, fined or even given jail time.

As Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Monday: “We are no longer asking or suggesting Marylanders to stay home. We are directing them.”

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

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