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DC, Virginia, Maryland Shutter Schools, Close ‘Nonessential’ Businesses

March 24, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — All K-12 schools in Virginia will remain closed “at least” for the remainder of the current academic year, and all restaurants must end dine-in service, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday.

Northam announced the new measures as the number of coronavirus cases in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia climbed above 660.

The governor said during a news conference he expects those numbers to rise in the coming days.

So far 11 people have died in the region as a result of the virus outbreak.

The new restrictions on “non-essential businesses” include restaurants, gyms, and racetracks.

Restaurants can continue carryout, delivery and drive-thru service, he said.

The executive order, Northam signed Thursday will close many businesses for at least the next 30 days.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms including fever. shortness of breath and cough. Recovery might take about two weeks.

In severe cases, illnesses including pneumonia can occur, especially in the elderly and people with existing health problems, and recovery could take six weeks in such cases.

Also on Monday, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents and visitors to stay home except for essential trips and to steer clear of anyone who is not a member of “your family unit.” 

Bowser also said any groups of people in D.C. will be asked to disperse, including people playing sports on the National Mall.

“We are going to ask our teams to move along people who are not practicing social distancing,” she said.

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all nonessential businesses to close by 5 p.m. Monday. That includes all businesses not designated as critical infrastructure sectors by the federal government.

Grocery stores, restaurants, farmer’s markets, convenience stores, liquor stores and cafeterias can remain open. The prohibition on dine-in service continues.

Anyone who works in the food supply chain, from farmers to delivery drivers to retail workers, is considered essential, Hogan said.

Some other businesses that are considered essential and can stay open include: hotels, electrician firms, janitorial firms, laundromats, dry cleaners, media companies, banks, insurance companies, staffing companies and transportation companies.

Hogan said the state is not issuing a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order at this time, but police will be enforcing bans on gatherings of 10 or more people.

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