Individuals traveling into DC from hotspot states will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. In a press conference today, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the District would now require travelers to obtain a negative Covid test before traveling to DC—and then another after they arrive in the District.
Travelers must be tested within 72 hours of traveling to DC. If they will be here for more than three days, they must obtain another Covid test within three to five days of arriving in the District. Travelers from Maryland and Virginia are exempt from the advisory, and DC residents coming back into the District can choose whether to limit activities and self-monitor for 14 days upon returning, or to get a test around 72 hours after returning and limit their activities until they receive a negative result.
While Bowser said DC Health has the power to enforce any of the city’s public health guidelines, it doesn’t seem like the DC government has any plans for strict enforcement of this advisory. In Bowser’s words, “Nobody is going to be asking you at the airport, or on bridges, or roads to show your papers [of a negative Covid test].”
Rather, this new advisory is intended to be a tool for private institutions to manage travelers, Bowser said. Hotels, universities, employers, places of worship, and other similar private enterprises will be allowed to require proof of a negative Covid test to provide entry to travelers.
Bowser said the change was spurred by the expected increase in travel around the holidays. Though DC officials still advise individuals to limit their travel, Bowser said she realized many people would still come here for Thanksgiving—and weren’t likely to follow the 14-day quarantine.