News & Politics

No Social Distancing-Related Citations Have Been Issued in DC

That doesn't mean everyone's following the Mayor's orders

Coronavirus 2020

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As of today, no social distancing-related citations have been issued in DC. Since March 30, Washingtonians have been subject to a fine of up to $5000, jail time of up to 90 days, or both if they’re found in violation of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s stay at home order.

Just because there haven’t been any citations doesn’t mean everyone is following protocol, though. Police have had to disperse groups in public areas around the city, most notably when people packed in at the Wharf fish market two weeks ago. An MPD spokesperson said arrests and citations are a last-resort tool, and that the Department is prioritizing education about the Mayor’s order over punitive measures. For an officer to take any kind of disciplinary action, an individual would have to directly refuse to disperse after being asked by police.

Currently, officers are being instructed to follow their normal patrol routes. The MPD is not implementing a greater presence of their officers in areas where social distancing violations are more likely to occur, like in public parks and squares. There is a greater police presence in some parts of the city, though, as the MPD is working with the National Guard to enforce social distancing. An MPD spokesperson declined to specify where in the city the National Guard has been deployed.

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.