The mayor of Washington issued a decree ordering residents to stay at home

It will come into effect from Tuesday to Wednesday.

A decree from Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser reinforces the previous decree to keep the residents of the American capital at home, except in urgent need.

“Our message remains the same: Stay home,” said Mayor Bowser. “Staying home is the best way to level the curve and protect yourself, your family and our entire society from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help, and for most people the answer is simple: Stay home.

The mayor’s edict states that residents can only leave their homes to “participate in basic activities including receiving medical care that cannot be provided through teleconference, purchasing food and basic necessities, doing important government work,” and the like.

“Any person who willfully violates the order to stay at home may be found guilty of an offense and may be fined up to $5,000 and/or receive imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days,” the decree says.

It comes into force on April 1, 2020 at 0:01 am.

A similar decree at 20:00 local time has entered into force in the State of Maryland. Its governor, Larry Hogan, has ordered the residents of the state not to leave their homes without urgent need.

“This is a public health crisis. Now we’re not just recommending that Maryland residents stay home, we’re ordering them to,” Hogan told a press conference on Monday.

Infections in the region have increased rapidly in recent days with more than 2,800 cases recorded as of Monday morning. Over 1,000 cases were confirmed over the weekend alone. The number of cases has more than quadrupled over the week.

Hogan stressed that residents should not leave home without a valid reason, such as work, buying food or medicine or seeking medical help. They are allowed to go out for physical activity but at a social distance. Even in the street it is prohibited to gather in groups of more than 10 people.

Violators of the rules face up to one year in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

A similar decree is being prepared by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.