DC Urges Residents to Stay Home, Says Groups Will Be Dispersed

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What to Know

  • All residents and visitors to D.C. should stay indoors except for essential trips and practice social distancing, the mayor said Monday morning.
  • Officials will "move along" anyone who is seen in public in a group, the mayor said.
  • Seventeen people with coronavirus in D.C. have recovered, the health director said.

Washington, D.C., officials urged residents to stay home except for essential trips and said officials will “move along” anyone who is not practicing social distancing. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser asked residents to steer clear of anyone who is not a member of “your family unit.” She stopped short of issuing a shelter-in-place order, as mayors and governors across the country have done. 

“My message to residents of Washington, D.C., and visitors is to stay at home,” Bowser said.  

Any groups of people in D.C. will be asked to disperse, the mayor said, including people playing sports on the National Mall. 

“We are gonna ask our teams to move along people who are not practicing social distancing,” she said. 

Despite the pandemic, people stood shoulder-to-shoulder to see D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms in peak bloom on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday night, Bowser ordered additional street closures near the Tidal Basin and said police and the D.C. National Guard would “enforce a restricted access zone around the Tidal Basin until further notice to ensure social distancing."

D.C. is closing off a large part of the National Mall and the Tidal Basin to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers in an effort to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. News4's Darcy Spencer reports.

The District hired a distillery and a coffee roaster to make 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for D.C. first responders, health care workers and critical government personnel. 

Republic Restoratives Distillery and Compass Coffee will each make 1,000 gallons, the mayor’s office said. 

Bowser thanked the businesses. 

“These local small businesses will repurpose their operations to assist DC workers. This supports our local economy, and we are grateful to Republic Restoratives, Compass Coffee, and other businesses for stepping up to help during this public health emergency,” she said in a statement.

D.C. extended the deadline for filing and paying your taxes to July 15. 

As of Monday morning, D.C. had 116 confirmed cases of the virus. Two people with the virus died. Seven members of the fire and EMS department and one police officer tested positive, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue said. One officer and 118 members of the fire department were self-quarantined.

Later Monday, the Metropolitan Police Department said a second officer had tested positive. The officer was quarantined and is recovering at home, the department said in a release. Health officials and DC Fire and EMS were working to determine the potential spread to other personnel or the community.

The number of people with the virus in the District is expected to grow, said D.C. health department director LaQuandra Nesbitt. 

“We know we will experience more cases. We want everyone to stay home so that more of our cases will recover and the number of individuals who will be impacted will be blunted,” she said. 

Seventeen people diagnosed with coronavirus in D.C. have recovered, Nesbitt said. Those who are considered to have recovered had seven days without symptoms. 

The District has not seen any geographic clusters in cases, Nesbitt said. 

In a tweet Monday, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine called on the mayor to issue a shelter-in-place order. 

When asked about Racine, Bowser said, “The attorney general has not been involved in the response [to coronavirus] and I don’t think now is the appropriate time for politics.” 

On Friday, D.C. extended school closures through April 27 and said restaurants and bars must continue to offer only takeout, delivery or drive-thru service. The ban on any mass gatherings was extended until April 25.

Three more D.C. firefighters tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday. News4's Aimee Cho reports.

Bowser said Friday the sweeping measures were necessary.

“We virtually shut down our thriving economy in Washington, D.C., so that we can blunt the curve and get back to regular business just as soon as possible," she said.

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