New travel restrictions on District visitors took effect just as airline fares and D.C. hotel room rates were reported to be spiking for out-of-towners wanting to attend the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Effective Nov. 9, would-be travelers to D.C. are required to have a coronavirus test within 72 hours prior to travel, according to an order issued by Mayor Muriel Bowser on Nov. 5. Hosts have the right, if not the duty, to request proof of negative test results from anyone coming from states other than Maryland or Virginia. “If you’re here for more than three days, you must get tested again within three to five days of arrival,” the order reads.
Restrictions also apply to District residents who travel to states other than Maryland and Virginia, almost all of which are considered to be high-risk by D.C. government. Per the order, District residents will be required to limit daily activities and self-monitor for 14 days upon their return unless they test negative within 72 hours after returning.
“If you are in close contact of someone who has the coronavirus, don’t travel,” the mayor urged. “We want people to be safe and smart if they do travel.”
D.C. remains in Phase Two of its reopening process. The order to wear masks and maintain social distancing when outside one’s residence remains in effect. But no police enforcement is planned to back up any of the new or old restrictions. Adherence is dependent on self-monitoring and self-regulation.
The new restrictions will not apply to visitors from Maryland and Virginia or those remaining in D.C. for less than 24 hours or traveling for essential work or for a family emergency or a funeral.
The District has experienced an increase in probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past week, as has much of the U.S. The number of confirmed cases in D.C. has increased by 110 to 18,000. But there were no reported deaths over this period. The actual death rate in the District continues to decline, now to 3.3 percent. Maryland has a reported death rate of 3 percent; Virginia 1.9 percent. The U.S. death rate is 2.4 percent, just under the global death rate of 2.5.