A day after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser all declared stay-at-home orders for their respective jurisdictions, local elected officials from Maryland and Northern Virginia, including City of Falls Church Mayor David Tarter, issued a joint statement on the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement, from 21 local governments in the region, said:
“As the chief elected officials of 21 local governments in the National Capital Region, we are joining in one voice to implore each of the more than five and a half million individuals in our region to stay home unless you are performing an essential activity as permitted by authorities. This is the most important thing each of us can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the threat to our most vulnerable neighbors, including older individuals and those with chronic health conditions.
“Our most fundamental obligation is to protect the health and safety of the communities we serve. Along with our colleagues in elected office and tens of thousands of heroic local government staff on the front lines, we are doing everything we can to respond to this crisis at the local level.
“We pledge to continue our region’s long tradition of collaboration through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and private and non-profit sector partners to keep area residents regularly informed about the pandemic; share best practices among our health, public safety, and public information experts; advocate for additional support on testing, personal protective equipment, and economic stabilization; and join forces on response and recovery efforts.
“The COVID-19 virus ignores jurisdictional boundaries, political viewpoints, and socioeconomic differences. We must be united as one region while we each do our part to protect ourselves and each other. Staying home, practicing social distancing and avoiding gatherings, washing hands frequently, disinfecting surfaces regularly, and staying away from others when sick are simple but vitally important ways to keep each other safe. Please join us in this most critical fight.”
The statement was signed by Maryland officials including Mayor Timothy Adams of City of Bowie; Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins II of Charles County, Mayor Patrick Wojahn, City of College Park; Mayor Michael O’Connor, City of Frederick; County Executive Jan H. Gardner, Frederick County; Mayor Jud Ashman, City of Gaithersburg; Mayor Colin Byrd, City of Greenbelt; Mayor Craig A. Moe, City of Laurel; County Executive Marc Elrich, Montgomery County; County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks, Prince George’s County; Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, City of Rockville; and Mayor Kate Stewart, City of Takoma Park.
In Virginia, the statement was signed by Mayor Justin Wilson, City of Alexandria; County Board Chair Libby Garvey, Arlington County; Mayor David L. Meyer, City of Fairfax; County Board Chair Jeffrey C. McKay, Fairfax County; Mayor P. David Tarter, City of Falls Church; County Board Chair Phyllis J. Randall, Loudoun County; Mayor Harry J. Parrish II, City of Manassas; Mayor Jeanette Rishell, City of Manassas Park and Board Chair Ann B. Wheeler, Prince William County.