Louis-Armstrong

Coronavirus cases rise in Washington region

The increase was led by Maryland, which recorded 2,885 new cases Saturday, a 23 percent jump from the prior day. D.C. had 153 new cases, a rise of 18 percent, while Virginia’s daily case number dipped by about 8 percent to 2,348.

With the coronavirus in mind, AAA surveyed people about their Thanksgiving travel plans and found that:

• In D.C., 83 percent of people said they would not be traveling for the holiday, with 65 percent of them saying it was because of the pandemic.

• In Virginia, 84 percent of people said they will stay home, with 41 percent citing the pandemic.

• In Maryland, 89 percent of residents said they won’t travel Thursday, and 50 percent said it was because of the virus.

“Conflicted by two competing emotions at once — nostalgia and familial love, which is natural and instinctual — fewer Washington, D.C. residents are opting to travel back home for traditional Thanksgiving Day family gatherings during the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic this year,” reads a news release from AAA.

D.C.-area residents are largely heeding the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has recommended against Thanksgiving travel. More than 85 percent of those surveyed in all three jurisdictions said they perceive traveling during the pandemic as a risk. Of those who are still planning to travel, more than 60 percent plan to drive, according to the survey, which was conducted Nov. 12-13.

“Given the recent surge in covid-19 and the strong urging of public health officials for everyone to stay home for the holiday, the Thanksgiving travel landscape continues to change,” said John B. Townsend II, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“I’m hoping people across the country are staying locally,” said Clifford Mitchell, director of the Environmental Health Bureau in the Maryland Department of Health. “It’s the best thing they can do. It’s the best thing we all can do.”

Additionally, states and counties have enacted more restrictions that took effect this weekend.

Prince George’s County imposed a weekend curfew at National Harbor, which began Friday at 5 p.m. for unaccompanied minors. It came after County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) said large groups of young people were gathering in the area, including at hotels where parents have rented rooms for their children to host parties.

The curfew will be in effect from 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 6 a.m. the next morning for people 17 and under who are without an adult. Minors accompanied by adults are exempt from the curfew.

And across the entire state, an order from Gov. Larry Hogan (R) that went into effect Friday clamps down on the hours restaurants and bars can operate and how many people are allowed in stores and at religious facilities.

The order requires bars and restaurants in Maryland to close at 10 p.m. for indoor service and reduces capacity in stores, religious facilities, fitness centers, personal service facilities and bowling alleys to 50 percent.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) also imposed more restrictions on dining, gatherings and mask-wearing that went into effect recently in a move to get a better handle on the virus.

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