August 11, 2020 at 11:25 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. drops Delaware from list of ‘high-risk’ states
quarantine, gay news, Washington Blade
Mayor Bowser established the quarantine rule last month. (Photo by AFGE via Flickr)

The D.C. Department of Health on Monday removed Delaware from an updated list of “high-risk” states from which D.C. residents and visitors are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return or arrival in the District if their travel is considered non-essential, including vacation related travel.

LGBTQ D.C. residents who own second homes or who are regular visitors to the popular Delaware resort town of Rehoboth Beach and other Delaware beach towns were among those expected to be adversely impacted by the self-quarantine requirement for Delaware.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an order last month establishing the quarantine rule, which defines high-risk states as those in which the seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases is 10 or more per 100,000 residents of the state.  

Delaware, Ohio, and Washington were among the states on the D.C. list whose COVID-19 cases fell below that threshold and were removed from the high-risk category this week, according to a DOH statement. The statement says Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Minnesota were added to the high-risk list on Monday.

Maryland and Virginia are exempt from the Bowser quarantine order. Under the order, anyone arriving in D.C. from a high-risk state that travels for non-essential activities are required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District. Those arriving in D.C. from high-risk states involved in “essential” travel are required only to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and, if they show signs or experience symptoms of COVID-19, they are required to self-quarantine and seek medical advice or testing.

It couldn’t immediately be determined whether the quarantine requirement had a significant impact on Rehoboth Beach during the 10 days it was in effect before D.C. dropped Delaware from the high-risk list. 

“I don’t know officially what the result was on D.C. asking for the quarantine for others, but it kept me from going when I had originally planned,” said D.C. resident and LGBTQ rights advocate Peter Rosenstein, who has a second home in Rehoboth. “I will now be going to the beach on Sunday morning for two weeks,” said Rosenstein, who added he is glad that Mayor Bowser has taken Delaware off the high-risk state list.

“I’m sure there are other people that will now make plans that they may have held off doing and I am sure the businesses and Rehoboth are pleased that this happened,” he said.

The D.C. Department of Health statement announcing Delaware and the other states’ removal from the high-risk list also states that the updated list, which includes 29 states, will be again updated on Aug. 24. It says the next update will be posted on the website coronavirus.dc.gov.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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