Mayor Extends COVID Emergency to May 15

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At her April 15th COVID-19 briefing, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) extended the closure of non-essential businesses, the stay-at-home order, ban under public gatherings and schools closures to May 15, 2020.

The District was unlikely to reopen on May 16, the mayor cautioned. Rather, the date will function as a checkpoint to re-evaluate restrictions. Further information on school closures will be released on April 17, she stated. The full text of the mayoral order is available at coronavirus.dc.gov

The new Mayoral order updates requirements for face coverings. They are now required by passengers and drivers in taxis and ride-shares as well as for hotel employees and guests. The order recommends also them for use on public transit.

In response to questions from the media about grocers refusing entry to customers deemed to have ‘unacceptable’ face coverings, Bowser said that the District would clarify the legalities of requirements.

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) speaks at her April 15 situational update. Screenshot: DC Granicus

Bowser warned residents to comply with requirements for face covering if they want stores to continue to operate. Masks also protect neighbors, she said. “Listen, people get what the stakes are,” Bowser said. “If you want stores to continue to be able to serve you food, everybody needs to do their part. That’s the people going shopping, and that’s also the vendors.”

African-Americans are suffering disproportionate casualities in the District and are also providing many of the front-line services, the mayor pointed out. “If we’re concerned about black people dying of COVID-19 in Washington, DC, everybody needs to do their part,” Bowser said.

The mayor charged the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) with identifying those residents who have underlying health conditions that might make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. DHCF is to determine if the individual has symptoms, and conduct outreach to advise these resident on steps they can take to lesson the risk or impact of the virus. This outreach is part of efforts to address disparities in the effect of the outbreak on the African American population, Bowser said.

Find the April 15 status update online at coronavirus.dc.gov