3 states, US capital order residents to stay home

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia ordered their residents to stay at home Monday in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus while Florida issued restrictions for some residents.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan first issued his directive on Monday morning, followed by his counterpart in Virginia and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Each of their orders has varying penalties attached, as well as time frames.

In Maryland, Hogan's order does not have a sunset clause, meaning the stay at home directive will remain in effect until the state's state of emergency has ended, or until it is rescinded by another order. Marylanders face misdemeanor charges and a penalty of $5,000, a year in prison, or both if they violate the order.

In the nation's capital, Bowser's order subjects individuals who violate the order to a $5,000 fine, 90 days behind bars, or both.

And in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam's order does not contain explicit penalties, but is effective through June 10 unless it is amended by another order.

Meanwhile, in the state of Florida, Gov. Ron Desantis took a piecemeal approach, telling residents in the state's south and southeast Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Munroe counties to stay home.

Desantis has faced a torrent of criticism for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, including from some who challenge the wisdom behind his decision to not close beaches statewide during a period in which the state attracts droves of students from across the nation during spring break.

There are 159,184 confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S., and 2,945 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The virus which emerged in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to at least 178 countries and regions around the globe.