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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Issues Stay-at-Home Order

To address COVID-19’s rapid spread in Washington, DC and across the region and the nation, Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia. The Order, which goes into effect on April 1, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., parallels orders that Maryland and Virginia issued yesterday.

Said Bowser, “Our message remains the same: stay home.”  That, she explained “is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19.  Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how – by staying home.”

Under the Order, everyone who resides in the District of Columbia must remain at home, unless otherwise specified.

The Exceptions?

The Order exempts homeless people. But, it urges them to obtain shelter and urges public and private entities to assist them.

People may leave their residence, including their porches and yards, only to engage in “Essential Activities”, which include:

Residents may not linger in apartment building common areas and or use a building’s facilities, such as gyms, party rooms, lounges, rooftop, or courtyard.

Residents may leave home to engage in “Essential Business Activities” or the “Minimum Business Operations” of “non-essential businesses”. Also, they may obtain and provide home-based services that involve no touching and that may be performed in keeping with the City’s “Social Distancing Requirements”.

The following requirements and restrictions apply when District of Columbia residents engage in “Essential Travel”:

  • When taking public transportation, residents must, to the greatest extent feasible, comply with the City’s “Social Distancing Requirements”. Also, to protect drivers, the Order encourages travelers to enter through the rear door of any bus or van.
  • Ride-sharing drivers must keep in their vehicles disinfecting wipes and must wipe down, after each ride, all surfaces that a passenger has potentially touched. Also, ride-sharing drivers may not allow more than two people in their vehicle at any time.
  • People using shared mobility devices, such as scooters and bicycles, should bring their own disinfecting wipes and, before and after riding, wipe down the parts of the device that they touch.

Residents who leave their home must, to the maximum extent possible, comply with the City’s “Social Distancing Requirements”.

And, any resident who is suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, or any other infectious disease, must remain in his or her residence except as necessary to receive medical care in accordance with guidance from public health officials or their healthcare provider.

In addition to identifying the City’s stay-at-home requirements, the Order also addresses business operations.

The City’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs may, at any time, request an “Essential Business” to provide its plans for complying with the City’s requirement to minimize person-to-person contact and comply with the City’s “Social Distancing Requirements”.

Non-essential businesses conducting “Minimum Business Operations” or operating under a waiver, may be asked to show their operational plan and why and how their activities fit within allowable limits.

And, “Essential Businesses” that remain open to the public, with an expected occupancy of ten or more people, must promptly and conspicuously post a copy of the City’s social distancing requirements.

A business that violates the Order may be closed or penalized up to $1,000 for each day that the violation persists. Likewise, individuals who violate the Order may be fined of up to $5,000, imprisoned for up to 90 days, or both.

The Order will remain in effect through April 24, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended.

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