(Updated at 10:25 p.m.) Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew in Arlington and Alexandria.
The governor says that there will be “limited exceptions” to the curfew. He has also declared a State of Emergency. The curfew matches that declared by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser amid chaos at the U.S. Capitol.
I am also issuing a State of Emergency in Virginia, so we can continue to respond.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 6, 2021
In a statement, Arlington County reiterated that during the curfew “it is illegal for any person to be present in any street, park, or other public place, unless an exception applies.” Those exceptions include “persons traveling to and from home, work, or places of worship; government, emergency services, and hospital personnel; members of the news media; and persons seeking emergency services. ”
“Violation of the curfew order is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both,” the statement said.
All was quiet in portions of Arlington’s Metro corridors seen by ARLnow reporters after 6 p.m. In Rosslyn, a group of men gathered at the Marine Corps War Memorial dispersed as night fell. No crowds could be seen in Ballston, Crystal City and Pentagon City, though a few individuals were walking around, perhaps unaware of the curfew that had gone into effect less than an hour prior.
A few pro-Trump supporters, sporting MAGA hats, were seen on the street clutching bags of take-out in Crystal City.
The curfew has prompted some businesses to close early. Among them is District Taco, which is closing its Arlington and Alexandria at 8 p.m. A Safeway spokesperson retracted an earlier statement that Arlington stores were closing early.
Several Arlington County offices will be closed on Thursday, the county announced Wednesday night.
“In the interest of public safety and to allow law enforcement officers to continue a visible presence in the community, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church Circuit Court, General District Court, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court will be closed on Thursday, January 7, 2021,” the county said.
More police and fire department resources, meanwhile, have been heading from Arlington into D.C., including several Arlington medic units and a convoy of Virginia State Police cruisers.
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 7, 2021
More Arlington medic units are being dispatched into the District, per scanner. Sounds like they’re going to a fire station to help fill in for their D.C. counterparts.
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 6, 2021
Earlier, the County Board convened a closed meeting at 4:45 p.m. today (Wednesday) to discuss “the events that have occurred” in D.C.
The meeting was closed so that the Board can consult “with the County Attorney concerning authority of the County Board to protect public safety by restricting the assembly of persons and movement of people, and discussions to protect public safety as it relates to potential terrorist activity,” said newly-elected Chair Matt de Ferranti said.
Also on the video conference were Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz, Alexandria City Manager Mark Jinks, and Arlington-Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti.
“Folks, please stay safe,” de Ferranti said at the conclusion of the closed meeting. “We anticipate that within the coming minutes to the next half hour, we will be coming forth with a County statement with respect to this evening. So, stay home, stay safe, take care of yourselves and take care of each other.”
After the curfew was issued, Dehghani-Tafti issued a statement via social media.
“Our overarching goal is to keep the community safe,” she wrote. “And, while we respect the right to peacefully assemble and protest, Arlington will not tolerate violence or disorder in our community. These are difficult and stressful times, in which we all need to play our part in maintaining calm. We have much work to do when we get through this, and we have the fortitude to do it.”
Jo DeVoe, Jay Westcott and Matt Blitz contributed to this report.