August 24, 2020 at 10:56 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Delaware returned to D.C. ‘high-risk states’ list
Delaware, Rehoboth Beach coronavirus, gay news, Washington Blade
The Purple Parrot is open in Rehoboth and observing strict social distancing protocols. D.C. residents who visit the resort town will have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to D.C. (Photo by John Bator)

The D.C. Department of Health on Monday added Delaware to its current list of 30 high-risk states for COVID-19, two weeks after it had removed Delaware from the list that identifies states from which D.C. residents or visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in D.C. for non-essential travel.

Similar to its earlier statement on Aug. 10 announcing Delaware had been removed from the high-risk state list, DOH’s latest statement on Aug. 24 says Delaware and two other states – Hawaii and South Dakota – were added to the list because their seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases reached 10 or more per 100,000 persons.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an order last month establishing the quarantine requirement for visitors coming to D.C. or D.C. residents returning to the District from a high-risk state in an effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. The DOH has said it will update the list every two weeks and that the next revised list will be released on Sept. 7.

Travel to and from Maryland and Virginia is exempt from the mayor’s order.

Delaware’s placement on the city’s high-risk state list was expected to impact many D.C. residents, including LGBTQ residents, who own second homes or who are regular visitors to the popular Delaware resort city of Rehoboth Beach and other Delaware beach areas. Rehoboth officials have said D.C’s placement of Delaware on the list was expected to further impact the beach city’s hospitality businesses that have been suffering from the COVID pandemic since early spring.

Rehoboth Beach has been a long-time LGBTQ tourist destination in the mid-Atlantic region, especially for the LGBTQ communities of Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

“Anyone coming into Washington, D.C. from a high-risk state (within the prior 14 days) who was traveling for non-essential activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District,” the DOH statement released on Monday says.

“Individuals traveling from high-risk states after essential travel or arriving in the District for essential travel are required to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and, if they show signs or experience symptoms of COVID-19, they are to self-quarantine and seek medical advice or testing,” the statement says.

The mayor’s order establishing the quarantine requirement for D.C. residents or visitors arriving in the District defines essential travel, among other things, as important business related travel or travel to care for a family member.

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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