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District of Columbia: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance


Please note: As of April 15, 2021 we are no longer doing regularly scheduled updates to this page.

April 8, 2021:

Mayor Bowser and DC Health announced that beginning on April 19, 2021, all DC residents 16 and older would become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Washington, DC. The Mayor called on all DC residents to pre-register for the vaccination appointment online or by calling the vaccination hotline.

March 22, 2021:

On March 17, 2021, Mayor Bowser issued an order extending the health emergency. The order also modified existing orders such that outdoor gathering limits are increased from 25 persons to 50 persons. The order modified the existing Phase Two guidance by removing the provision strongly encouraging telework at non-essential, non-retail businesses. The order further authorizes:

  • Certain restaurants and licensed food establishments to operate and sell alcohol until midnight;
  • Spring sports for youth athletic leagues;
  • Indoor and outdoor group fitness classes;
  • The operation of hotel pools;
  • Guided tours;
  • Increased operations at libraries; and
  • Movie theaters to open.

March 4, 2021:

On March 3, 2021, Mayor Bowser and DC Health, led by Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, announced updates to the process of registering for a vaccination appointment in Washington, DC. Beginning next week, the District will switch over to a pre-registration system where individuals will be able to provide their information to DC Health through a pre-registration website or by calling the District’s call center. As appointments are made available, individuals who have pre-registered will receive an email, phone call, and/or text message alerting them that they have an opportunity to make a vaccination appointment.

February 24, 2021:

On February 24, 2021, Mayor Bowser announced that DC Residents with qualifying medical conditions can begin making vaccination appointments on February 25 at 9:00 a.m. through or by calling the District’s coronavirus Call Center. Qualifying medical conditions include:

  • Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and other Chronic Lung Disease;
  • Bone Marrow and Solid Organ Transplantation;
  • Cancer;
  • Cerebrovascular Disease;
  • Chronic Kidney Disease or Liver Disease;
  • Congenital Heart Disease and other Heart Conditions, such as Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, or Cardiomyopathies;
  • Diabetes Mellitus;
  • HIV;
  • Hypertension;
  • Immunocompromised State;
  • Inherited Metabolic Disorders;
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities;
  • Neurologic Conditions;
  • Obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2);
  • Pregnancy;
  • Severe Genetic Disorders;
  • Sickle Cell Disease; and
  • Thalassemia.

February 22, 2021:

On February 18, 2021, Mayor Bowser delivered a COVID-19 Situational Report, announcing that 2,450 vaccination appointments would become available to DC residents in priority zip codes who are at least 65 years old and/or are members of an eligible workforce group. The report also announced that beginning the week of March 1, DC would be vaccinating Phase 1C Tier 1, which includes DC Residents who are 16-64 years old with qualifying medical conditions.

February 18, 2021:

On February 17, 2021, Mayor Bowser announced that beginning on Thursday, February 18, individuals who work in four categories will become eligible to book vaccination appointments through or by calling the District’s COVID-19 Call Center:

  • individuals who work in a grocery store setting;
  • health and human services and social services outreach workers;
  • individuals who work in manufacturing; and
  • individuals who work in food packaging (for example, persons who work at Food & Friends and other similar facilities).

February 15, 2021:

On February 12, 2021, Mayor Bowser announced a second round of citywide PPE care packages to support local businesses. Through this second round of PPE care packages, the Bowser Administration is investing an additional $1.7 million of essential supplies to local businesses. Local businesses must complete the PPE Sign-Up Form to receive the PPE care packages. For more information, visit

February 11, 2021:

On February 10, 2021, DC Health announced that approximately 2,500 vaccination appointments will be made available to DC resident who live in priority zip codes and are 65 years or older and/or work in a healthcare setting. The priority zip codes are focused in Wards 5, 7, and 8 and include 20422, 20011, 20017, 20018, 20002, 20001, 20019, 20020, 20032, 20593. The following populations are now receiving the vaccine in Washington, DC:

  • individuals who work in health care settings;
  • members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department;
  • residents of long-term and intermediate care facilities and residents of community residential facilities/group homes;
  • DC residents who are 65 years old and older;
  • individuals experiencing homelessness;
  • members of the Metropolitan Police Department;
  • Continuity of District Government personnel;
  • Department of Corrections employees and residents;
  • teachers and staff who are, or will be, working in person at a traditional or public charter school; and
  • child care workers and teachers and staff at independent schools in DC.

February 9, 2021:

On February 8, 2021, Mayor Bowser announced that the District has expended $13 million in federal funding for two rental assistance programs developed by the Department of Housing and Community Development and the DC Housing Finance Agency. In addition, housing providers may also now apply to the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program on behalf of eligible tenants.

February 3, 2021:

On February 1, Mayor Bowser delivered a COVID-19 Situational Report announcing that, as of February 1, individuals working in-person for a licensed child care provider or an independent school located in the District will be able to book vaccination appointments with One Medical.

January 28, 2021:

On January 28, Mayor Bowser delivered the COVID Situational Update Report which reported that DC is now vaccinating individuals who work in healthcare, DC residents who are 65 years old and older, teachers and staff working in DCPS schools or DC public charter schools, members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Departments, individuals experiencing homelessness, Department of Corrections employees, residents of intermediate care facilities and residents of community residential facilities and group homes, members of the Metropolitan Police Department, and Continuity Government Operations personnel.

January 25, 2021:

On January 21, Mayor Bowser announced that beginning on January 22, restaurants can allow indoor dining at 25% capacity or no more than 250 people, whichever is fewer people. Additionally, museums can open, but may allow no more than 250 people per floor and may not conduct guided tours.

On January 25, Mayor Bowser delivered the Coronavirus Situational Report, reporting that as of January 23, 51,421 doses of vaccine had already been administered in Washington, D.C. and that 9,475 doses of vaccine are becoming available this week.

January 20, 2021:

On January 19, DC Health announced that beginning the week of January 25, in-person staff, including teachers and support staff, at DC Public Schools (DCPS) and DC Public Charter Schools will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

January 19, 2021:

On January 15, DC Health announced that on January 16, 4,309 vaccination appointments would become available to residents of Wards 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8 who are aged 65 and older and/or work in a health care setting. On January 18, an additional 1,436 appointments became available to any DC resident who is 65 and older or any individual who works in a health care setting in DC.

On January 16, Mayor Bowser announced that the District’s coronavirus (COVID-19) data includes 1,000,492 completed tests.

January 6, 2021:

On January 4, Mayor Bowser delivered a COVID-19 Situational Report that provided target dates for vaccination distribution. Target dates include the following:

  • Week of January 11 for DC residents who are 65 years old and older;
  • Week of January 25 for specific categories of essential workers, including public safety workers, grocery store workers, workers in PreK-12 educational settings, and childcare settings;
  • Week of February 1 for DC residents with chronic medical conditions and other essential workers.

December 21, 2020:

On December 18, Mayor Bowser issued an order restricting certain activities to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Under the order, restaurants are prohibited from hosting indoor dining. Also, under the order, museums and libraries must close and libraries can only operate on a pick-up and drop-off basis. The Department of Parks and Recreation is only allowed to offer reservations for individual swim and fitness room sessions. The order also orders that food sellers and big box stores selling essential and non-essential goods are not subject to the 250 persons or 25% cap imposed by Mayor’s Order 126.

December 17, 2020:

On December 16, Mayor Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-126 modifying Phase Two limits on large gatherings and confirming 25% occupancy caps for constitutionally protected, recreational and commercial activity. The Order will take effect at 12:01 AM on Thursday, December 17. Under the order, houses of worship, gyms, recreational facilities, retail food sellers, and restaurants may admit no more than 25% of their capacity or 250 persons, whichever is less. The Order also modifies past orders to reduce the allowable for libraries from 50% to 25% or 200 persons, whichever is less. The order also provides that the capacity of any outdoor event related to real estate, construction and development is limited to not more than 25 persons, and indoors, no more than 10 persons who are not actively participating in construction may be in the same room at the same time.

December 8, 2020:

On December 7, Mayor Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-123 modifying the District’s Phase Two requirements regarding sports and recreation. The Order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, December 11, 2020. Under the order, high contact sports as defined by the Department of Health (defined to include basketball, boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, rugby, soccer and wrestling) are prohibited in the District of Columbia, with the exception that universities or professional leagues may continue to organize and administer practices and competitions for their athletes who engage in high-contact sports, pursuant to a health and safety plan approved by its accredited or governing body and under such further conditions as may be imposed by the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA). The order also requires the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation to temporarily cease issuing permits for sports practices and drills involving physical contact. The order provides that middle school age athletes may continue to participate in organized drills and clinics for high contact sports provided the athletes are in groups of no more than twelve and the sports do not involve physical contact. The order also requires that high schools in the District suspend sports activities and competitions, and that recreation centers suspend all sports and organized athletic activities. Finally, the order implements a variety of other requirements related to social distancing during athletics, such as requiring that physical education classes only involve activities where students can maintain six feet of distance from each other, among other things.

December 1, 2020:

On November 30, 2020, Mayor Bowser delivered the COVID-19 situational report which reported on Housing Stabilization Grants funded through the CARES Act. The grants will provide $10 million in direct assistance to certain housing providers who provide affordable housing to DC residents. Applications for grants through the program open December 1, and will close on Friday, December 11, and will assess applicants on a rolling basis.

November 24, 2020:

On November 23, Mayor Bowser issued an order modifying Phase Two operations regarding outdoor and private indoor gatherings, capacity restrictions for restaurants and houses of worship, and various fitness activities. The order also strongly encourages continued telework. Under the order, restaurants may continue to operate for patrons until midnight, but alcohol sales must cease at 10:00 p.m. Also, the order reduces indoor occupancy of restaurants from 50% to 25% effective as of Monday, December 14, 2020. The live entertainment pilot previously announced by the Mayor has been suspended.

November 19, 2020:

On November 18, Mayor Bowser announced a $100 Million bridge fund passed by the Council of the District of Columbia. The Bridge Fund targets businesses and workers affected by the pandemic, and will strategically invest to sustain the hospitality, entertainment, and retail industries to help mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses. The funds will be disbursed via four programs: (i) the Restaurant Bridge Fund, funded at $35 million, (ii) the Hotel Bridge Fund, funded at $30 million, (iii) the Entertainment Bridge Fund funded at $20 million, and (iv) the Retail Bridge Fund, funded at $15 million. Disbursement will begin with the Hotel Bridge Fund. All full-service hotels, limited service hotels, extended stay hotels, bed and breakfast facilities, inns and motels located in DC, with at least 10 rooms, will be eligible for the Hotel Bridge Fund, including those that have temporarily suspended operations or are operating in a limited capacity. Grant funds will be allocated on a per-key basis. The Restaurant and Retail Bridge Funds will both operate as application-based grant programs in December. The Entertainment Bridge Fund will be launched later this year.

November 18, 2020:

On November 16, Mayor Bowser delivered the COVID situational update which announced that the District of Columbia Public Schools would open a limited number of CARE Classrooms at 29 elementary schools on November 18, with capacity to serve 600+ students. According to the report, CARE Classrooms will meet 5 days a week and Wednesdays will be half day, and patient care technicians will support school-based health protocols such as temperature checks, symptom screenings, and staffing of health isolation rooms.

November 9, 2020:

On November 6, Mayor Bowser issued an order that modified requirements regarding self-quarantines, testing and travel during the pandemic. Under the order, visitors to DC must get tested before entering DC within 72 hours of traveling. The order also states that potential visitors to DC who have come in close contact with a confirmed case may not come to DC. The order also provides that if a person is returning to DC for more than 3 days, they need to get tested again within 3-5 days of arrival. Per the order, DC residents returning to DC after traveling to any place other than Maryland, Virginia, or a low-risk state or country must either: (i) limit daily activities and self-monitor for 14 days upon their return to DC; or (ii) limit daily activities until they get tested for COVID-19 (within 3-5 days after their return) and receive a negative result.

November 5, 2020:

Mayor Bowser delivered an updated situation report with an updated travel advisory recommending that visitors to DC get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of traveling. The advisory also recommends that visitors to DC for more than three days get tested within three to five days of arrival. The report also highlighted the requirement that DC residents returning to the District after traveling to any place other than Maryland, Virginia, or a low-risk state must either limit activities and self-monitor for 14 days upon their return, or limit daily activities until they get tested for COVID-19 (approximately 72 hours after their return) and receive a negative test result.

November 2, 2020:

On November 2, DC Health released an Updated list of High-Risk states pursuant to previously issued Mayor’s Order 2020-81, which requires that anyone coming into Washington, DC from a high-risk state (within the prior 14 days) who was traveling for non-essential activities to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District. States that were added to the list include California, New Jersey, and Oregon. No states were removed from the list.

October 20, 2020:

On October 19, DC Health released an Updated list of High-Risk states pursuant to previously issued Mayor’s Order 2020-81, which requires that anyone coming into Washington, DC from a high-risk state (within the prior 14 days) who was traveling for non-essential activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District. States that were added to the list include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. No states were removed from the list.

On October 20, Mayor Bowser urged DC Residents to Opt-in to DC COVID Alert Notice (DC CAN) to receive exposure notifications. This alert system allows mobile device users to receive an alert when they may have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. A close proximity is anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. The Mayor’s announcement outlines data privacy measures being taken to secure information used by the application.

October 15, 2020:

On October 14, Mayor Bowser delivered a coronavirus situational report which highlighted that Washington, DC has the second lowest uninsured rate in the nation. The report also announced that health insurance open enrollment is from November 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, and that anyone who needs insurance can enroll and coverage can start immediately as long as COVID-19 is selected as a qualifying event. All plans cover diagnosis, testing and treatment for COVID-19 at no cost to the patient.

October 8, 2020:

On October 8, DC Health, requested that individuals connected to the White House contact their local health department. Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, joined health officers from nine local jurisdictions in sending a letter to individuals who have worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attended the Supreme Court announcement in the Rose Garden on Saturday, September 26, 2020, and/or have had close contact with others who work in those spaces or attended those events requesting that those individuals contact their local health department for further guidance/questions regarding their potential need to quarantine.

October 7, 2020:

On October 7, Mayor Bowser ordered an extension of the District’s public emergency and public health emergency and issued additional measures for Phase Two. Under the Order, the public emergency and public health emergency is extended through December 31, 2020.

October 5 ,2020:

On October 5, Mayor Bowser’s office posted the new list of high-risk states. Anyone traveling to Washington, DC from a high-risk state (within the prior 14 days) who was traveling for non-essential activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District. Individuals traveling from high-risk states after essential travel or arriving in the District for essential travel are required to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and, if they show signs or experience symptoms of COVID-19, they are to self-quarantine and seek medical advice or testing. New Mexico was added to the list, and Arizona was removed from the list. The list should be used until October 19, when an updated list will be posted on

October 1, 2020:

On September 30, Mayor Bowser delivered a COVID Situational Report, which notes several assumptions or projections for reopening including: (i) restrictions on bars and indoor dining will be extended through 2020; (ii) large gatherings and sporting events will be restricted until vaccine is widely deployed; and (iii) major conventions canceled through 2021.

September 29, 2020:

On September 28, Mayor Bowser delivered the Situational Report for Washington, DC, highlighting levels of community spread, health system capacity, and community engagement. It also highlighted Virtual Assistant, DC CovidLink, which is an optional service allowing positive cases and notified close contacts the ability to share information about their symptoms and health status with the DC Contact Trace Force via text and call. The Report also shared a sampling of feedback from various professionals working in schools re-opening with varying levels of in-person student learning or support services.

September 28, 2020:

On September 25, Mayor Bowser announced a pilot that will allow a limited number of venues to host live entertainment. The pilot creates an opportunity to resume live entertainment in a controlled environment that can be scaled up or down and that District officials can learn from for future guidance. There are six participating venues, all of which are required to submit and execute detailed plans for operating and will be monitored closely by the District. The pilot will run through October 30.

September 8, 2020:

On September 8, DC Health released an updated list of high-risk states. Individuals entering D.C. from non-essential travel from a high risk state must self-quarantine according to Mayor Bowser’s Order 2020-081 issued July 24, 2020. States that were added include Montana and Ohio. States that were removed include Alaska and Arizona. This list should be used until September 21, when an updated list will be posted on

September 3, 2020:

Columbia to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order, effective immediately, requires that persons must wear masks in common areas of apartments, condominiums, and cooperatives. It also requires businesses, office buildings, and other establishments open to members of the public to post signage on their exterior doors that a person may not enter unless such person is wearing a mask. Businesses, office buildings, and other public establishments are also required to exclude or attempt to eject persons who are not wearing masks. The order also requires that employers shall provide masks to their employees. Usage of masks is also required when persons are likely to come within six feet of another person and when a person is using public transportation. The order provides a list of exceptions to the foregoing requirements including an exception for when individuals are eating or drinking or when a person is in an enclosed office space.

On August 24, The DC Department of Health released an updated list of “high-risk” states. Individuals entering DC from non-essential travel from a high risk state must self-quarantine according to Mayor Bowser’s Order 2020-081 issued July 24, 2020. This list should be used until September 8, when an updated list will be posted.

Finally, on August 5, The District issued a guidance on school reopening including recommendations for healthy practices and requirements that schools perform a daily health screen for all students and staff entering the building. All students and staff must wear non-medical face coverings or face masks at all times while at school.

August 11, 2020:

Mayor Bowser and the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) announced the relaunch of the DC Mortgage Assistance Program (DC MAP) during a press conference on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. The press release includes details related to applicant eligibility for those that can apply to receive up to a $5,000 monthly loan to assist with mortgage payments for up to six months. The DC MAP program was established to help homeowners impacted by COVID-19 through a zero-interest, recourse loan.

August 10, 2020:

Individuals entering DC from non-essential travel from a "high-risk” state are required to self-quarantine according to Mayor Bowser's Order 2020-081 issued July 24, 2020. DC Health released an updated list of "high-risk" states on Monday, August 10, 2020. This list should be used until Monday, August 24, 2020, when an updated list will be published. The Mayor classified a "high-risk area" as a location with a seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases of 10 or more per 100,000 people.

July 30, 2020:

Mayor Bowser provided additional guidance related to the self-quarantine requirement during a situational update report on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The self-quarantine requirement for individuals traveling from high-risk states was announced last week and went into effect beginning Monday, July 27. The current list includes 27 high-risk states and will be updated on Monday, August 10.

The Mayor provided examples of non-essential travel as: vacations, beach trips, and work conferences. After non-essential travel to a state classified as "high-risk," individuals must self-quarantine for 14-days and only leave home to seek medical care or get food. Examples of essential travel were listed as: essential government functions; essential business; travel to care for minors, elderly, or dependents; and travel required by law enforcement or court order. After essential travel to high-risk states, individuals must monitor themselves for symptoms and self-quarantine if symptoms begin, limiting activity for 14 days.

July 27, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced a new requirement to self-quarantine after nonessential travel during a situational update report on Friday, July 24, 2020. The new order goes into effect beginning Monday, July 27th and applies to anyone coming into DC from a "high-risk area" who was not traveling for essential activities. DC Health published a list of high-risk areas and will update the list every two weeks. The Mayor classified a "high-risk area" as a location with a seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases of 10 or more per 100,000 people.

The new order excludes Maryland and Virginia.

The Mayor specifically addressed essential workers traveling from a high-risk area to DC, whether after performing an essential duty, or in order to perform an essential duty in DC. Essential workers should stay in their home after entering DC except when necessary to leave to perform an essential duty.

July 22, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced a new mask order as part of a situational update report on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. The update was in response to a significant increase in hospitalizations of individuals under the age of 40 since July 1.

The new mask order will require individuals to wear a mask when they leave the home except for the following:

  • Children under the age of three
  • While actively eating or drinking
  • While vigorously exercising outdoors and not close to anyone else
  • While alone in an enclosed office

During the press release, the Mayor also announced there would be enforcement information in the official order when it is issued.

July 13, 2020:

As COVID-19 numbers get worse in other parts of the country, Sunday, 7/12/2020, marked Washington, DC’s fourth consecutive day with no deaths as a result of COVID-19.

July 8, 2020:

The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) reminded taxpayers that the deadline to file and pay their 2019 District of Columbia individual and fiduciary income tax returns, partnership tax return, and franchise tax returns was postponed from April 15 to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 6, 2020:

DC Health has confirmed that a new peak was detected in the data documenting COVID-19’s increase within the city. This peak has changed the District’s count in community spread to five days of sustained decrease. A sustained decrease is important because it demonstrates that the epidemic is under control and no longer in a period of rapid growth.

June 29, 2020:

Due to decline coronavirus cases and deaths, DC’s metro station reopened some of its metro locations. The rail stations that reopened Sunday, June 28 include: Federal Center Southwest; Federal Triangle; Mount Vernon Square; Judiciary Square; Archives Smithsonian; Greensboro; Eisenhower Avenue; Virginia Square; East Falls Church; McLean; Van Dorn Street; Clarendon; Cleveland Park; Grosvenor-Strathmore; Cheverly; College Park; Morgan Boulevard.

June 17, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced that the District of Columbia could enter Phase Two of reopening on Monday, June 22. While the announcement is not yet official and is contingent upon the District’s continuance of meeting various metrics, it remains instructive that a target date has been announced. Phase 2 will include the reopening of indoor dining and gyms, spas, and fitness centers, all with varying degrees of restrictions. Under Phase 2, the cap on gatherings would increase from 10 to 50 people. 

May 27, 2020:

On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that DC could begin its phased reopening, ReOpen DC, on Friday May 29, 2020. The Mayor noted that Phase 1 is only possible if a spike in cases does not take place before Friday. The other metrics required for opening have been met: low transmission rate, testing capacity, health care system capacity, and public health system capacity.

Under Phase 1, hotels and construction sites may open with safeguards. Office spaces are still strongly recommended to work from home. Restaurants may open outdoor seating with physical distancing and safeguards. Personal services, such as barbershops and hair salons, may reopen by appointment with strong safeguards and physical distancing of 5 people per 1,000 sq. ft. Non-essential retailers can open for curbside and delivery. Bars and nightclubs, outdoor large gatherings, indoor venues, gyms, and pools will remain closed. Parks and recreation will reopen with safeguards, but playgrounds will remain closed.

May 26, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced on May 26 that the District remains on track to enter Phase One of reopening on Friday, but plans to make a formal decision and announcement on Wednesday. At that time, she would also detail what Phase One will look like in terms of which businesses may reopen, and what restrictions will remain in place. While an advisory group previously gave its recommendations on what Phase One should look like, Mayor Bowser will ultimately choose which recommendations are adopted, and which are not.

May 21, 2020:

City officials stated that the District could begin its phased reopening on Friday, May 29. However, Mayor Bowser has stated that she plans to make a final decision next Tuesday to account for any potential spike in infections. Currently, the District’s stay-at-home and non-essential business closure order remains in place through June 8. While not conclusive, the Mayor’s reopening task force gave recommendations for the first phase. These recommendations do not include gyms, indoor entertainment venues, or pools in the first phase, but do include barbershops and hair salons, parks, golf courses, outdoor dining, tennis courts, and curbside service for nonessential retail stores.

May 18, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced today that the District is six days away from meeting the metrics for its first stage of reopening in terms of COVID-19 community spread declining. She said she may announce as soon as Thursday when the District will begin to reopen. Additionally, an advisory group helping make recommendations for the District on reopening is slated to release its recommendations later this week.

May 14, 2020:

Beginning Monday, May 18, the Washington’s Metro will require face masks or coverings for all riders. Previously, this had only been a recommendation.

May 13, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced today that the District of Columbia is extending its stay-at-home order, ban on mass gatherings, and closure of non-essential businesses through June 8th in light of not seeing enough of a decline in infections. The order had previously been set to expire on Friday.

April 26, 2020:

During a press briefing, Mayor Bowser discussed the preliminary criteria for lifting the District’s stay-at-home order, which remains in effect through at least May 15th. Before considering reopening, the city needs to see two weeks of a downward trend in cases, as well as a demonstrated capacity that the city’s healthcare systems can handle cases without resorting to crisis standards. Mayor Bowser stated that the reopening will likely be tiered, and she’s created a Reopen DC Advisory Group to help with the process. She also stated that the District will act consistently with the President’s three-phase reopening guidelines. The most recent estimates have some businesses reopening in summer, with “recovery” in fall, and a “new normal” in spring or summer of 2021.

April 15, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced an order extending the state of emergency/public health emergency declaration for the District until May 15, 2020. The order also extends already enacted restrictions on residents staying at home, gatherings limited to 10 people, and non-essential business closure until the same date. These restrictions had been previously set to expire after April 24th. The order added a requirement that people wear masks or face coverings at hotels and during taxi and ride-share trips. While grocery store customers were already required to wear face coverings, the order added the requirement for employees and other food sellers as well. This order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 17.

April 9, 2020:

Mayor Bowser issued an Order relating to social distancing requirements at retail food sellers. Establishments must limit the number of customers who may enter, provide hand sanitizer, require customers to maintain six feet distance, and post signage instructing customers to wear a mask, among other things. The order also places limitations on employees. The order builds on the previous orders closing non-essential businesses and ordering residents to stay at home. This order applies to restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other facilities that provide food to the public.

Additionally, the order removes fish and farmer’s markets from the list of essential businesses, saying they cannot operate without a waiver.

April 1, 2020:

The stay-at-home order issued on March 30 for the District went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 1. This order builds on the District’s closure of non-essential businesses last week and confirms it remains in effect. The new order adds that essential businesses may be asked to show their plans for compliance with social distancing requirements, and that essential businesses with an expected occupancy above 10 persons must conspicuously post the social distancing requirements.

The Order also states that residents may only leave their residences to: engage in essential activities, with examples such as obtaining medical care and obtaining food and essential household goods; performing or accessing essential governmental functions; working at essential businesses; engaging in essential travel; or engaging in certain allowable recreational activities. Individuals who do leave for essential activities are required to practice social distancing. The order remains in effect until April 24.

March 31, 2020:

Mayor Bowser issued a stay-at-home order for the District, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 1st, the text of which has not yet been made public as of this writing. This order builds on the District’s closure of non-essential businesses last week. At minimum, the Mayor’s website indicates that residents may only leave their residences to: engage in essential activities, such as obtaining medical care and obtaining food and essential household goods; perform or access essential governmental functions; work at essential businesses; engage in essential travel; or engage in certain allowable recreational activities.

In addition, Mayor Bowser announced that the District of Columbia has received a Major Disaster Declaration from the federal government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Declaration will provide assistance to the District’s Emergency Response Services and to residents and businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19.

March 26, 2020: 

Mayor Bowser said the city is considering whether DC will follow Virginia’s lead and close schools for the remainder of the academic year. Additionally, the Metro is closing 19 stations to limit potential employee exposure to COVID-19, and to conserve cleaning and sanitation supplies.

The District of Columbia has also extended the deadline to file individual tax returns to July 15, in line with the federal tax extension. DC officials are also allowing businesses to wait until July 20 to pay sales and use taxes due in February and March. However, the March 31 deadline to pay property taxes has not changed.

Finally, The DC government has started accepting applications for grants from a new $25 million relief fund designed to help local businesses impacted by coronavirus restrictions. Eligible businesses can receive up to $25,000 from the fund.

March 25, 2020: 

Mayor Bowser issued an order closing all non-essential businesses, which must shut down by 10:00 p.m. on March 25th. The order also reduced the amount of people permitted at gatherings to 10. The following types of businesses are explicitly listed as non-exempt: tour guides and touring services; gyms, health clubs, spas, and massage establishments; theaters, auditoriums, and other places of large gatherings; nightclubs; hair, nail, and tanning salons and barbershops; tattoo parlors; sales not involved in essential services; retail clothing stores; and professional services not devoted to assisting essential business operations.

The order is not a shelter-in-place order, and it appears to have a number of broad exemptions. However, essential businesses that remain open must implement a number of social distancing policies “to the greatest extent feasible.” The businesses in the following sectors are explicitly exempted from the order:

  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations (also includes dentists, pharmaceutical companies, medical marijuana dispensaries, assisted living services, and veterinary care)
  • Essential Infrastructure (includes utilities)
  • Food and Household Products and Services (includes alcohol, as well as laundromats, dry cleaners, marijuana cultivation centers, convenience stores, and cleaning and personal care products)
  • Social Services Providing the Necessities of Life
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Energy and Automotive
  • Financial Services
  • Educational Institutions (for facilitating distance learning)
  • Transportation and Logistics (includes shippers and deliverers, as well as taxi and ride-shares)
  • Construction and Building Trades
  • Housing and Living Facilities (includes hotels with limitations)
  • Professional Services (includes law firms, tax preparation and accounting, but “only when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities, Essential Businesses or Essential Governmental Functions”)
  • Childcare Facilities

March 24, 2020: 

In-person customer service centers at several DC agencies will be closed effective Wednesday, March 25. Mayor Bowser also extended deadlines for government documents, inspections, and other requirements. Most notably, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is closed in-person but remains operational online. Several deadlines have been extended for businesses. Customers filing 2020 biennial reports between April 2 and June 1 will not incur the late filing fee. The same is true for trade name renewals. Additionally, any business licenses, professional/occupational licenses, vending licenses, etc. that expire during the declared emergency will be considered valid, and people will have until 45 days after the declared emergency is over to renew their licenses. Finally, the DCRA noted that consumer protection complaints will continue to be investigated during this time.

March 20, 2020:

The District extended the modified operating system for government and schools through April 17th. All DC Department of Parks and Recreation facilities, including playgrounds, parks, and athletic fields, were closed to the public. The Mayor also extended the Public Health Emergency declaration through April 24th. In addition, the Mayor amended the prohibition on mass gatherings to clarify that grocery stores, malls, and other retail establishments where it is unusual for people to be within arms’ length of one another for an extended period are exempt from the order. Those businesses whose operations were previously suspended remain suspended.

March 17, 2020:

Mayor Bowser announced that the SBA accepted the District’s declaration for assistance in the form of economic injury disaster loans following the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and DC businesses can start applying now. The District Council also unanimously passed an emergency COVID-19 response bill, which: extends unemployment compensation to those unemployed due to COVID; prohibits evictions of residential and commercial tenants as well as late fees; prohibits utility shut-offs for non-payment; extends public benefit programs such as the Healthcare Alliance, TANF, and SNAP; creates a small business grant program to assist nonprofit organizations and small contractors who do not qualify for unemployment insurance; places limits on price gouging and stockpiling; allows for delivery and carry-out sales by restaurants of beer/wine, if sold along with prepared food; delays retail sales tax payments to the government by stores, restaurants, and other businesses; and extends deadlines/expirations of corporate tax filings, drivers licenses, and professional licenses.

March 16, 2020:

The Mayor issued an emergency order prohibiting private and public gatherings of more than 50 people. The order exempted office spaces, hotels, and residential buildings. The order also suspended restaurant and tavern seating, but allowed for delivery and grab-and-go operations to continue. In addition, the following were closed by the order: health clubs, health spas, massage establishments, and theaters.

March 15, 2020:

The District issued guidance on what government functions and entities will remain operational. The guidance indicated that schools and government would reopen on April 27th, with the public health emergency declaration extended until April 24th. Guidance was also issued for compliance with the 250-person mass gathering restriction, which included the closure of nightclubs and multi-purpose facilities, the suspension of bar seating and service to standing patrons, and limiting table seating to 6 people or less, with at least 6 feet of distance between tables.

March 13, 2020:

The District banned “mass gatherings” of 250 or more persons at the same time in a single room through emergency rulemaking. In addition, the District closed schools effective March 16th and extending through March 31st, with the plan to implement distance learning. The announcement also indicated that DC government will operate under an agency-specific telework schedule, with the intent to continue to deliver essential services and to keep critical systems and services operating.

March 11, 2020:

Mayor Bowser issued an order declaring a state of emergency. The declaration allows DC to request federal disaster funds and stop price gouging. It also gives the authority to order quarantines without court approval for someone who has made contact with positive cases, is confirmed positive, or is deemed “high risk.” Just prior to releasing this order, DC recommended that all non-essential gatherings of more than 1,000 people, such as sporting events and concerts, be cancelled.

March 9, 2020:

Mayor Bowser, in a letter to the District’s Chief Financial Officer, directed an additional $1,000,000 of the District’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund to be used for personal protective equipment and other necessary supplies and resources for first responders and front-line staff.