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Nice weather outside draws Northern Virginians to ignore social distancing guidelines

Despite Northern Virginia’s extended stay at home order, Old Town Alexandria was bustling on Saturday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — On Saturday the City of Alexandria saw its second-highest spike in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started, with 64 additional cases.

The rise in coronavirus cases didn’t keep visitors away from the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. Sidewalks along King Street were bustling as people waited for cocktails, chatted with friends, and took walks with loved ones.

"This is the first time we've been out. This is the first time we've been walking. A lot of people don't have masks on,” David Brandt said.

Brandt and his wife said they needed some fresh air and took a walk down to the waterfront.

Credit: WUSA
Groups of people waited for their takeout on the Alexandria waterfront Saturday.

They weren’t the only ones with that idea, despite the outside seating being closed along the water in Alexandria there were still people sitting and walking outside.

"We wanted to come out today because we've spent two months, literally two months living in a very carefully controlled environment,” Karen Macci said.

She said she and her daughter chose to come to Old Town rather than somewhere near their Fairfax County home because the number of COVID-19 cases is lower in Alexandria.

"I think we've all learned a lot from this, how to cover up, how to social distance ourselves. I feel smarter. I do feel that the COVID-19 is not going away.  Our future is learning how to live with it and deal with it,” Macci said.

RELATED: Gov. Northam delays Phase 1 of reopening for Northern Virginia. Here's what that means

With all of the people out today, officials with Arlington County Police and the city of Alexandria said no citations were issued and no arrests were made for violating the governor’s stay at home order.

Credit: WUSA
Alexandria police officers could be seen patrolling the area near the waterfront.

“Unfortunately, many others are risking their own health and the health of others by spending time in crowded areas like sidewalks and parks,” a statement from a city spokesperson said. “Although we cherish the vibrancy of the Alexandria waterfront, we ask everyone to avoid crowded areas until it is safe. Northern Virginia remains under the Governor's stay-at-home order and bans on gatherings of more than 10 people."

"Everyone should stay at home except for essential trips like purchasing food, obtaining medical care, working in essential jobs, or getting exercise," the Alexandria statement said. "Even these activities should be done at times and in places where physical distance can be maintained.”

Credit: WUSA
The sidewalks were busy in Old Town Alexandria on Saturday.

For those out on Saturday, some people said they were abiding by the rules and desperately needed some fresh air.

"Everyone is pretty much social distancing themselves," Kigh Sanderson said. "There are connected units that are close, but those that are not part of that family unit if you will that friendship unit, we pretty much are distancing ourselves."

RELATED: Virginia Stay-At-Home order: Here's why you can and can't leave your house

The stay at home order remains in effect for Northern Virginia until May 29.

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