The Arlington County Board of Supervisors had decided not to adopt a pandemic-related sidewalk crowding ordinance on a permanent basis.
At the end of July, the board adopted the emergency ordinance prohibiting groups of more than three people from congregating on streets and sidewalks posted with the restrictions, and requiring pedestrians to maintain at least six feet of physical separation from others on the posted streets and sidewalks.
Violators could face a traffic fine of up to $100. In adopting the measure, the board cited the difficulty of securing voluntary compliance with social distancing requirements as coronavirus cases surge nationwide.
Staff recommended adopting the measure permanently, but after opposers lined up to speak against the rule at Tuesday night's board meetings, supervisors voted against keeping the measure. It will lapse when the emergency order runs out Sept. 29.
"We support the entire community working together to help everyone to be safe in Arlington," the Arlington Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. "The ordinance, and its threat of $100 fines, has not been shown to reduce crowds. Instead, it raised concerns about the targeting of certain businesses and their customers."
The chamber took a lead role in opposing the continuation of the sidewalk ordinance, saying members were concerned with enforcement and whether certain restaurants and their patrons would be targeted.