These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety

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<br /> These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist





























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Some have criticized the commonwealth for not fully shutting establishments down. u201cShame on Gov. Northam! Bars and restaurants open on St. Patrick’s day in #Virginia to take advantage of closed DC and MD spots. It’s not worth the $$$. SHUT DOWN,u201d wrote one Twitter user. A server wrote that she is u201cconcerned for the health of my guests and coworkers,u201d

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Northamu2019s office did not respond to questions about why he did not order restaurants closed.

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Local governments cannot step in to mandate closures.u00a0Dillon Rule jurisdictions, like Virginia, give state lawmakers the ultimate authority over local law, often tying county leadersu2019 hands.

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Thatu2019s why Arlington County resorted to begging businesses on Monday to close their dining rooms. u201cWe thank all those that have already done so, but we plead with all our bars and restaurants that have not yet closed their dining rooms to [do so] u2026 and not reopen until we can all work out safe ways for patrons to be served in person,u201d the statement said. u201cOtherwise, we will likely be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and the health of everyone in Arlington will be in jeopardy.u201d

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The county had 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, which is the most of any jurisdiction in the state, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Local authorities are dealing with an avalanche of issues related to the outbreak and appear to be unaware of the lease problem.

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Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol wrote in a Twitter message that u201cUsually commercial leases are multiyear, so Iu2019d be surprised to hear of a threatened eviction.u201d

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Stephanie Landrum, CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, wrote that her office u201cis in touch with a number of commercial property owners to understand the pressures this pandemic has created for their financials and cash flows.u201d She added that many landlords understand the cost of ending leases and finding new tenants, and so they are motivated to work with businesses to find a solution.

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Economist Jeannette Chapman at George Mason University speculated that Virginia has not issued a blanket order because its cases have not been as widely and evenly distributed as those in D.C. and Maryland.

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u201cThe difference in Virginia is that the virus spread thus far has been a little bit more clustered geographically, and so itu2019s understandable that it is harder for the Commonwealth Government to make a broad based call that affects everyone equally,u201d Chapman said.

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It is possible no business would be able to enforce an eviction because Virginiau2019s courts are frozen in the current crisis as well. But for now, business owners are worried.

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Piotrowska said she drastically reduced hours for her employees, instead of laying them off. Her meals tax and sales tax are due to Arlington on March 20. Her rent is due April 1. She opened her restaurant in 2012 but fears the lockdown could force her out of business.

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u201cWe need some kind of help,u201d she said.

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Without an order from the commonwealth to close, restaurants and bars are left to decide for themselves whether to shut their doors.

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While D.C. and Maryland mandated that all restaurants and bars close, Virginia has not done so.

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Turner","producer":"WAMU","source_url":false},"postMeta":{"inCollectionId":"4834160","showDCistStoryAppeal":true,"person":"4813324,4814052","secondaryImage":{"type":"","data":""},"titleOverride":false,"urlOrigin":false},"audio":{"postPermalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/17/why-not-all-northern-virginia-restaurants-and-bars-are-closed-right-now/"},"beat":"Food","beatSlug":"food","slug":{"name":"","permalink":"#","categoryName":"","providerClass":"provider-wamu","flagSlug":"","flagText":""},"promoted":"","headMeta":{"title":"These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"Without an order from the commonwealth to close, restaurants and bars are left to decide for themselves whether to shut their 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Updated 3/18/2020 5:11 p.m.

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Sweeping rounds of layoffs have started to hit D.C.-area businesses in a wide range of sectors. The economic plunge has been widely felt, hitting the wedding industry,u00a0food and hospitality services, arts organizations, wellness companies, and many others.

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Nationally, the Dow Jones had plummeted 13 percent as of Monday due to the global coronavirus pandemic, marking its worst fall ever (and Wall Streetu2019s worst standing since Black Monday in 1987). In the D.C. region, mass layoffs began to pick up as restaurants, bars, and other establishments reacted to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowseru2019s mandate to suspend all business to stop the virusu2019 spread.

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[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in our region here]

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The restaurant industry has been hit particularly hard in the wake of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowseru2019s restrictions on restaurants and bars.

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EatWell DC, the restaurant group that runs Commissary, Grillfish, the Pig, Logan Tavern, and The Charles, laid off approximately 160 employees on Sunday and Monday. “I laid myself off too,” said EatWell principal David Winer. “I don’t expect any income for the rest of the year at this point.”

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Responding to a claim from a D.C. employment lawyer that the layoffs were made to avoid providing employees with paid leave, Winer called the last two days “the hardest 48 hours of my adult life” and said he fired the employees so they could start collecting unemployment benefits immediately. “Anything else is an unabashed lie,” he said. “I care deeply about my employees and break my back for them.”

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At the Busboys and Poets chain of restaurants and bookstores, hundreds of waiters, event staff, management team members, and bookstore employees were laid off in the past 24 hours.

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u201cThis is dramatic. This is not a joke,u201d said owner Andy Shallal by phone. He said heu2019s talked to a half dozen other restaurant owners over the past few days, and every one of them has had to lay off most of their employees too.

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Shallal has been trying to nail down government funds to help both his former employees and his remaining business. Heu2019s been in conversation with members of the D.C. Council about unemployment benefit options for his laid off workers, and heu2019s reached out to the D.C. Department of Small And Local Business Development to inquire about a grant. u201cHowu2019s that going to play out?u201d he wondered. u201cItu2019s going to break the bank, but someone needs to come through.u201d

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In the meantime, heu2019s providing what little help he can: For the foreseeable future, any current or recently laid off Busboys employee can stop by one of his restaurants for a free lunch.

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Hometown roaster Compass Coffee laid off 150 of its 189 employees, 80 percent of its staff, according to an email from co-founders Harrison Suarez and Michael Haft. They say they “chose the least damaging” of their bad options, opting to lay workers off so they can apply for unemployment benefits.

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u201cAs a leadership team, weu2019ve attempted to adjust schedules, and to find projects that would keep people productive, but unfortunately even those measures wonu2019t be enough,u201d anu00a0email reads, in part, before explaining that laid-off staff will receive pay this Friday from the last pay period.

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“To be clear, each person was contacted individually first,” the co-owners tell DCist. “We did this one-by-one. Each manager called their direct reports and spoke with them on the phone. Each of these conversations was extremely personal and painful. There were many tears and goodbyes … We have a small team still at Compass. We are calling ourselves Project Phoenix. Like we said on Instagram: we will emerge from the ashes of this catastrophe.”

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Arts organizations are also laying off employees in the wake of cancelled performances and fundraising events.

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u201cToday I had to lay off almost my entire staff (50 people),u201d wrote DC Improv Comedy Club owner Allyson Jaffe on Facebook Monday night. u201cTheir worlds have been rocked and lives are forever changed. The DC Improv is closed for who knows how long. I have no idea if my business will be able to weather this storm and reopen.u201d

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DC Brau has seen a significant dip in their revenue stream due to restaurant and bar closures, but co-owner Brandon Skall says they have not had to lay off any workers yet. u201cWeu2019re taking this a day at a time,u201d he said. u201cRight now our focus is on producing package beer.u201d Future decisions about layoffs will depend on whether federal and state officials allow production facilities to remain in operation.

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On Monday Saya Barkdoll shut the doors of Ohana, her wellness center and spa in Bethesda thatu2019s typically open seven days a week. Sheu2019s laid off two of her five employees so far, and has ceased working with the 14 independent contractors with whom she normally does business. Sheu2019s cut the salaries of her remaining three employees but is trying to keep them on for online-based work.

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ARTECHOUSE, the creative digital space near Lu2019Enfant Plaza, put more than 90 people across all of its locations (Miami and New York included) on furlough. That accounts for about 90 percent of the entire team, according tou00a0Tati Pastukhova, the managing director.

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The staff was told the night before Wednesday’s announcement.u00a0The furloughed staff will be paid for their worked time and will have extended benefits coverage through the month of April, Pastukhova writes in an email to DCist.u00a0The owners made the decision to close the organization so it can fully reopen “when the time comes,” she says. The art space, fully funded by visitors, has created a newu00a0support page.

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“Just a week ago, we were focusing on getting a new show up, and as soon as it opened we had to focus on getting it closed,” Pastukhova says. “It certainly was the most difficult decision we had to make over the past five years weu2019ve been building ARTECHOUSE.”

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Nate Reynolds, owner of two D.C. nightclubs—Harlot DC and Living Room—says heu2019s prepared to close both clubs as the economy tanks. Heu2019s had to temporarily lay off his entire club staff, giving them their last checks Tuesday, and is working with lawyers to ensure his establishments wonu2019t be evicted. While other industries can stay afloat at a time of social distancing, the hospitality industry suffers because itu2019s based on social interaction, he says.

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u201cThe ripple effect is crazy,u201d Reynolds says. u201cYouu2019ve got to think, all these restaurants are closing, suppliers are out of work, and that affects the entire region—all the way to fishers on the Eastern Shore.u201d

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That ripple effect is going to continue for the foreseeable future, even after the virus has been contained, says Jeannette Chapman, director of theu00a0Stephen S. Fuller Institute at George Mason University. Grocery stores won’t see the negative effects just yet, as consumers are frontloading (though, in six months, that spending will taper off when customers will have no need to go shopping, Chapman points out.)

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However, the restaurant and events industries will see the impact immediately, and the D.C. area will essentially go without its typical spring tourism boom, she says.

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“In the long term, some of the consumer pullback in spending will be lost for for the entirety of this period,” Chapman says. “Some of it’s going to get caught up because people will eventually start going back out to restaurants … but it’s looking like this is going to last for more than just a month. And it will be harder to recoup those losses—especially foru00a0restaurants and small businesses that typically have small margins to begin with. They may not be able to wait it out. What we’re going to see is an increase in the jobless claims, as you’ve seen.”

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Before the virus hit, the U.S. had been in the longest period of business expansion on record, Chapman says, which was already making consumers nervous. “The key the key recession scenario would have been a broadbased pullback in consumer spending that would result in a small U.S. recession, and it looks very much like that’s how this is going to play out.”

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Chapman says that some businesses will reopen after this wave of closures, while others simply won’t be able to weather the storm.

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Reynolds, the club owner who also runs two software businesses, says heu2019s paying his salaried employees out of pocket—for now.

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In response to the industry-wide layoffs, someone started a D.C. virtual tip jar for service industry workers who might need additional support. As Jessica Sidman points out on Twitter, nearly 1,000 local employees are seeking help through the document, and the list is being updated on a daily basis at noon.

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This story has been updated with new information about EatWell DC, Compass Coffee, and ARTECHOUSE.

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“Youu2019ve got to think, all these restaurants are closing, suppliers are out of work, and that affects the entire region.”

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Anxiety | DCist","description":""Youu2019ve got to think, all these restaurants are closing, suppliers are out of work, and that affects the entire region."","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/17/coronavirus-is-causing-industry-wide-layoffs-in-d-c-hitting-service-workers-particularly-hard/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/03162020-RESTAURANTSCLOSED1-FENSTON-1024x768.jpg","width":1024,"height":768},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834690,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/17/6-ways-you-can-help-fight-coronavirus-in-the-d-c-area-besides-washing-your-hands/","title":"6 Ways You Can Help Fight Coronavirus Impacts In The D.C. Area (Besides Washing Your Hands)","content":"

By now, itu2019s pretty clear the coronavirus will disrupt many aspects of our livesu2014from work to leisureu2014for the foreseeable future. And as headlines grow more ominous, itu2019s easy to feel powerless about changing the course of the pandemic while diligently washing your hands for the umpteenth time on a given day. (To be clear, experts urge washing your hands regularly and practicing social distancing to help stop the virus from spreading.)

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Although no one can single-handedly obliterate the virus or halt its wide-ranging impacts, there are still plenty of ways to help. Charities, nonprofits, and community aid networks across the D.C. region are mobilizing to help the most vulnerable people among us.

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With that in mind, DCist has rounded up a few ways you can combat the effects of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, even from the comfort of your home. And donu2019t forget: Maintain social distance!

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Help Low-Income Kids Get Meals During School Closures

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D.C. Public Schools closed its campuses Monday, through the end of March, due to coronavirus concerns. For many of the Districtu2019s low-income students, the closures could mean missing the meals theyu2019re typically provided at school: Thousands of DCPS students get free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch through a city program, with more than three-quarters of these students considered economically disadvantaged, according to official data.

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While DCPS will continue providing meals for all minors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at nearly 20u00a0campuses across the city, this may not be enough to keep their hunger at bay, as many families will likely face increased food uncertainty during the COVID-19 outbreak as a result of business closures, layoffs, and lost wages. (D.C. charter schools are on their own individual closure schedules, with about 25 schools currently offering meals.) Luckily, private organizations are stepping in to help them out.

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Nonprofit Marthau2019s Table has pledged more than $300,000 to assist local families and is distributing $15-per-day grocery-store gift cards. In addition, the organization is delivering online educational material so kids can keep learning from home. u201cIt is exactly in times like these that our city needs leaders like Marthau2019s Table to stand up and do what is right to support our neighbors, and we are proud to stand alongside our community in this effort,u201d said Kim Ford, the nonprofitu2019s president, in a statement.

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Other well-established charities like Miriamu2019s Kitchen and The Capital Area Food Bank are also raising money to support families during the crisis. And those arenu2019t the only ways of contributing to local charitable efforts tied to the coronavirus:

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  • A group of teachers started a GoFundMe campaign to buy $100 grocery gift cards for every Arlington student who qualifies for free or reduced lunch (an $830,000 tab).
  • n
  • The parent-teacher organization at Shawu2019s Seaton Elementary is raising money for students during the pandemic.
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  • Nonprofit FirstBook is collecting donations for low-income students who need books and hygienic supplies.
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  • An ad hoc group called DC Solidarity Housing has a sign-up sheet for residents willing to put up students who may be displaced during the outbreak.
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Donate to or Buy A Gift Card from Local Businesses

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D.C.u2019s restaurant industry is already bearing much of the brunt of the crisis. After an initial announcement imposing capacity limits for city establishments, and separate federal guidance recommending against gatherings of 50 people or more, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that restaurants and bars needed to shut down beginning that night to help contain the virus. (Deliveries and takeout are still allowed.)

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If youu2019re thinking about the Districtu2019s many chefs, waiters, and bartenders, consider a donation to the Coronavirus Worker Relief Fund, a partnership between Park View tavern and event venue Hook Hall and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Hook Hall is also offering free meals, professional development, and other services for workers affected by the crisis.

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As an alternative, you could buy a gift card to your favorite local spot using this super handy, crowdsourced list of places that allow people to buy gift cards online. Or you could treat your friends in the restaurant industry to a $60 u201cCorona Care Kitu201d from local shop Made In DC. Even simpler: You could make a Venmo donation to your local waiter or bartender via this u201cvirtual tip jaru201d list.

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Run Errands For Someone Who Needs To Stay Indoors

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The elderly and those with preexisting conditions such as heart disease or diabetes are at much greater risk of getting sick from coronavirus. If youu2019re able, you could volunteer to run errandsu2014shop for groceries, pick up prescriptions, go on toilet-paper runsu2014for people who experts are strongly encouraging to stay at home.

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You could also join The Table DCu2019s growing network of local helpers by filling out this Google form, or add your name to this list of volunteers started by local resident Matt Schaar.

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Support Your Local Mutual Aid Network Or Start Your Own

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Coronavirusu2019 negative impact on the D.C. economy is already being felt, and many community members are banding together in grassroots support groups to mitigate it. u201cMutual aid networksu201d are popping up in every ward of the city, with volunteers setting up fundraising efforts, childcare services, food drives, and even mental health hotlines.

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In Ward 1, local activists Natacia Knapper and Aliza Wasserman are collecting money for vulnerable Northwest residents. In historically underserved areas like Wards 7 and 8, several local entities have set up a hotline (202-630-0336) for people to report their daily food and supply needs.

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To get involved with a mutual aid network, you can start by finding your local group using this spreadsheet. And if youu2019re unable to find a group nearby, thereu2019s always the option to launch one yourself.

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Give Blood To Your Local Red Cross

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Health officials say the coronavirus epidemic could lead to a serious shortage of blood supply. Across the U.S., around 1,500 Red Cross blood drives had already been cancelled as of a few days ago, representing a loss of 46,000 donations, the humanitarian organization said.

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u201cIf we continue to see blood drives cancel, we are going to reach a level of inventory of which we havenu2019t seen in the past,u201d explained Chris Hrouda, the president of biomedical services at the American Red Cross, in a statement last week.

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The silver lining is that the virus doesnu2019t pose any known risks for blood donors, according to the Red Cross. The organization is taking extra precautions for blood drives, including checking temperatures and ramping up disinfections at donation centers.

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For District residents, the simplest way to donate is to schedule an appointment at the Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, located at 1730 E St. NW in Foggy Bottom. The Red Cross also has donation centers outside the city in Rockville, Maryland, and Fairfax, Virginia.

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Offer Free Services Online

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Some people and businesses are providing free therapy, meditation, yoga, and tutoring online during the pandemic. Core Power Yoga, for one, is currently offering free digital access to hour-long instructional yoga videos.

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This post has been updated with new information about DCPS meal service during the outbreak.

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Donate to nonprofit food providers and buy gift cards from local restaurants, among other actions.

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D.C. public schools are closed for the next two weeks, meaning some students may not be getting their normal school-provided meals.

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actions.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/17/6-ways-you-can-help-fight-coronavirus-in-the-d-c-area-besides-washing-your-hands/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/9609426836_ef10c65053_o-1024x678.jpg","width":1024,"height":678},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834758,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/17/d-c-council-unanimously-passes-emergency-relief-bill-ahead-of-expected-coronavirus-related-slump/","title":"D.C. Council Unanimously Passes Emergency Relief Bill Ahead Of Expected Coronavirus-Related Slump","content":"

The D.C. Council unanimously passed an emergency bill Tuesday to amplify the cityu2019s response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, largely by expanding eligibility for unemployment insurance and providing financial assistance for businesses likely to be hammered during the ongoing public health crisis.

n

But lawmakers and city officials conceded that itu2019s only a small step in addressing what could be a significant downturn in the cityu2019s economy, especially if the shutdown of bars, restaurants and other parts of the critical hospitality industry continues into the summer.

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u201cThereu2019s no way weu2019re going to be able to meet the vast needs of every worker and business,u201d said Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. u201cOur goal here is not to pick winners or losers, simply to help as many people as possible with the limited resources that exist.u201d

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[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in our region here]

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The heart of the bill focuses on protecting workers and businesses. It does that by expanding eligibility to unemployment insurance to workers who have been laid off or lost hours because of the coronavirus, and extending protections under the Family Leave and Medical Act to people who have to stop working because of the crisis.

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It lets hotels to defer payment of property taxes and other businesses delay payment of sales taxesu2014worth roughly $266 millionu2014and creates a grant program Mayor Muriel Bowser can use to help both small businesses and independent contractors and self-employed residents who otherwise wouldnu2019t be eligible for unemployment insurance.

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The bill also prohibits price-gouging and stockpiling during the state of emergency, stops evictions and utility cut-offs, forbids landlords from charging late fees on rent payments, extends public benefits programs, allows the Council to meet and vote virtually, and extends the deadline for Bowser to submit the 2021 budget from mid-March to early May.

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Lawmakers said the bill would be the first of multiple measures to support businesses and workers impacted by the coronavirus crisis, but also said they would have to balance how much help they can offer against whatu2019s expected to be a dive in revenues in the coming months.

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u201cWhen our revenues are expected to plummet, we have our own limitations,u201d said Council Chair Phil Mendelson.

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And it was left to D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt to explain to the Council how the cityu2019s economy has already been hit—and what that could mean moving forward. Just from the hospitality industryu2014bars, restaurants, and hotelsu2014D.C. takes in almost $800 million a year, roughly half of all sales tax revenue. But DeWitt said he was expecting a significant decline there, and a large uptick in job losses that could push unemployment from the current level of 4.9 percent to close to 20 percent.

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u201cLetu2019s assume [the crisis] goes through Juneu2026 if that were to occur, we would need to cut $500 million out of our 2020 spending. We have reserves. Those reserves last 18 months in a moderate recession of long duration. This is a sharp drop that burns through cash quickly,u201d he said.

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DeWitt said the city remained in strong financial shape, with a rainy day fund totaling $1.43 billion and a well-funded unemployment insurance trust fund. But he added that the city will have to wisely spend its reserves to avoid having to borrow from banks to cover short-term expenses, and that current conditions could put particular strain on unemployment insurance funds.

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u201cWhatever we choose to do, and certainly the community needs assistance and needs help to get through and recover, but we also have to make sure we get through this,u201d he said.

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DeWitt said his office would be redoing a revenue estimate issued in February to better account for the changing economic conditions, and to more accurately inform Bowser as she puts together her budget for 2021.

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u201cGive us time to re-look at where we are before you go any further than what youu2019ve proposed,u201d he urged.

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Most Council members were resigned to the unexpected turn in the cityu2019s economic fortunes and how regular workers and businesses would be impacted, but pledged to continue working to help them.

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u201cWe are facing hard days. But these arenu2019t the first hard day for this city,u201d said At-Large Councilmember Robert White. u201cWe have prepared ourselves for a rainy day, and we find ourselves in a rainy day.u201d

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Officials concede it’s a modest step to address what could be a significant economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The John Wilson building near Federal Triangle in D.C.

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As the Washington region reacts to the spread of the coronavirus, businesses including health clubs and spas are being ordered to close, the public is being urged to practice social distancing, and residents are left searching for new ways to exercise that donu2019t rely on gathering in large groups.u00a0

n

Dr. Kate Ayoub, a health and endurance coach based in the District, says residents arenu2019t looking for ways to exercise just for the sake of being in shapeu2014for many people, exercise is a source of stress relief and mental health that they canu2019t access elsewhere.u00a0u00a0

n

u201cWe know exercise is good for your mental and physical health, and finding ways to still exercise is still really important,” she says.

n

[For more updates on coronavirus in the region, click here.]

n

In response, trainers are offering advice on how to stay active on your own. Below is a round-up of recommendations from coaches and trainers across the District on how residents can stay healthy while practicing social distancing.u00a0

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1. The Weights Are Over

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Even if you canu2019t go to the gym, there is still a menu of exercises that you can do from the comfort of your apartment. Many District residents do not have their own set of fitness equipment at home (like a weight set or boxing bag), so trainers are assigning their athletes routines that they can do on their ownu2014and routines that engage the whole body at once were stand-out favorites.u00a0

n

u201cIf Iu2019m at home and I donu2019t have a lot of equipment to work with, Iu2019d do a full-body [exercise],u201d said Stephen Carter, a local personal trainer. A favorite is the plank, where the athlete holds their body above the ground using their forearms and feet.u00a0u00a0

n

Local running coach Emily Richards favors the burpee, a move that combines the push-up, the squat, and a jump into one motion.u00a0

n

u201cItu2019s an all-in-one exercise,u201d explains Richards. u201cItu2019s strength and itu2019s cardio.u201du00a0

n

Victor Williams, coach and Director of Operations at NUBOXX, also recommends continuing any weight-based exercise you usually do at the gym, but substituting the weighted equipment with more repetitions. For example, if you do arm curls with 10 lbs, do that same motion for longeru2014and eventually, youu2019ll start to feel the burn.u00a0

n

2. Social, At A Distance

n

Another common recommendation from trainers is to plan your u201cisolatedu201d workouts with your friends. When youu2019re staying at home, itu2019s easy to be u201cdeprived of social contact,u201d says Dr. Ayoub. u201cSo you can video chat with one of your friends while exercising.u201d Some athletes are using FaceTime or Google Hangouts to chat with each other while they work through their circuits.u00a0

n

Mike Schipp, a coach and Program Director with DC Triathalon Club, noted that coordinating your workouts with your friends also helps with accountability. Some of his athletes train at home using a stationary bicycle, so they can set up u201cvirtualu201d rides where they all do the same workout at the same time.u00a0

n

3. Letu2019s Talk About Tech

n

If you donu2019t like setting your own workout, the internet is here to help. Richards recommends the Ironstrength Workout, a series of exercises users can complete at home with minimal equipment. Dr. Ayoub prefers the app Skimble, where athletes can search by what type of equipment they have available to them. Other favorites include Aaptiv,u00a0which mimic in-person boutique studios, and the Nike Training Club app, where users can sign for programs that include workout- and nutrition-based plans. Many of these apps are subscriptions-based, but offer free versions.

n

Many local trainers and fitness studios are also adjusting their own coaching to make sure that they can continue to offer fitness sessions: Yoga District and Bluebird Sky Yoga areu00a0live-streaming their classes. Shipp plans to build out a video series on his social media, and Williams and his fellow coaches at Nuboxx are planning remote video series too.u00a0

n

4. Getting Outsideu00a0

n

Although local races and events are being called off or postponed, residents can still get fresh air and sunshine without meeting breaking social distancing. u201cIn general itu2019s safe to go outside, just not in large groups,u201d Dr. Ayoub says. u201cGoing for a walk, a run, or a hike is absolutely fine, but try to avoid touching your face.u201du00a0

n

u201cYou can be a runner and still practice social distancing,u201d notes Richards. It might mean running on your own instead of your regular groups or shifting your routes to low-trafficked areas in the city.u00a0

n

Most of the coaches and trainers we talked to emphasize that itu2019s important that residents still find a way to move their body and exercise, even if they canu2019t go to the gym or their favorite exercise class. There are ways to move our bodies and connect with each other even when weu2019re in physical isolation.u00a0

n

u201cAll of this is so mentally and physically related,u201d said Dr. Ayoub. u201cItu2019s not just washing our hands.u201du00a0

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

These are the apps and workout moves that local experts are relying on.

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The plank is one of the moves local trainers recommend for an at-home workout.

n","description":{"rendered":"

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Macdonald","source_url":false},"postMeta":{"inCollectionId":"4834160","showDCistStoryAppeal":true,"person":"4785114","secondaryImage":{"type":"","data":""},"titleOverride":false,"urlOrigin":false},"audio":{"postPermalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/with-gyms-closed-heres-how-local-trainers-recommend-exercising/"},"beat":"Arts & Entertainment","beatSlug":"arts-entertainment","slug":{"name":"","permalink":"#","categoryName":"","providerClass":"provider-wamu","flagSlug":"","flagText":""},"promoted":"","headMeta":{"title":"These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"These are the apps and workout moves that local experts are relying 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While many small business owners across the D.C. region are seeing their profits flatline, the owners of small food markets and grocery store chains are experiencing a boom in business.

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u201cWeu2019re trying to feed the world, and everyone else is trying to figure out how to survive,u201d says Scott Nash, the owner of the Momu2019s Organic Market grocery stores that dot the Washington region.

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[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in our region here]

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Business has doubled at all Momu2019s locations over the past five days. Nash says the increase is due to restaurants in D.C., Maryland, and other states shutting downu00a0to slow the spread of coronavirus, and chain grocery storesu2019 struggles withu00a0empty shelves and massive lines.

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Keeping Shelves Stocked

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Smaller chains like Momu2019s can be more nimble, Nash believes. As customer demand increases, he has been able to call up hisu00a0suppliers u2014 u201cmy meat guys, my chicken guys, my produce guysu201d u2014 to arrange extra deliveries and keep his shelves relatively full. Heu2019s also started texting his larger suppliers, urging them to put ads on Craigslist for temporary truck drivers and pallet stackers, so they can deliver more products.

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Best World Supermarket in Mt. Pleasant is experiencing a similar boom. Owner In Suk Pak says his largely Latino clientele has been stocking up on Maseca (a brand of corn flour) water, rice, and sanitary products. And a few blocks down, staff at Each Peach Market say theyu2019ve been selling staples (milk, eggs and bread) and pre-made foods (soups and dips) as soon as they shelve them.

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But because Each Peach partners with individual farmers rather than larger suppliers, it canu2019t order more product at the drop of a hat. u201cWeu2019re calling up, like, Tim, the guy who brings us our eggs and saying to him, u2018can you bring us twice as many eggs as you normally do?’u201d says Eleanor Gease, the storeu2019s general manager.

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Tim, a farmer in central Pennsylvania, canu2019t ramp up his delivery schedule even if he has the eggs supply available.

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Staples like milk have been hard to come by at Each Peach Market in Mt. Pleasant.

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Finding Staff

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For many local grocers, the biggest shortage is labor, not product.

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u201cStaff are exhibiting signs of stress,u201d says Eleanor Gease, Each Peachu2019s general manager. u201cTheyu2019re interacting with hundreds of people a day.u201d

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At Momu2019s, Nash has increased overtime pay to incentivize employees to work more hours. Heu2019s also been trying to hire temporary workers. u201cEvery store could use 15 more employees today,u201d he says. Heu2019s hoping to be able to hire restaurant workers who donu2019t have shifts to take now that restaurants and bars have been shut down.

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A few blocks away from Each Peach, employees at El Progreso Market were too busy to find the manager for an interview. Lines to check out stretched down the already-tight aisles to the deli section in the back, where a butcher was hurriedly wrapping meat for customers.

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Customers fill the aisles at El Progreso Market in Mt. Pleasant.

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u201cManager? I donu2019t know, Iu2019m just trying to deliver bread,u201d one frazzled man said as he stacked loaves of white bread onto a shelf.

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At Best World, Pak has had to turn away from his managerial duties in order to help stock shelves. Heu2019s also become the storeu2019s tech guy, figuring out how to fix glitches in the checkout machine software because he doesnu2019t have time to call for support. Meanwhile, his wife is jumping on a cash register to help with the growing lines between a failed bank run (the bank was closed) and a product delivery.

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Pak isnu2019t too worried about running out of steam. He sees this as a short-term situation rather than a boom that will change his small business forever.

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u201cItu2019s busy,u201d he says, u201cbut someday itu2019s going to slow down. Busy means nothing to us.u201d

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Does Smaller Feel Safer?

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Leaders of the nationu2019s large grocery store chains say they are stocking upu00a0to meet demandu00a0and are increasing their sanitization practices to keep people safe. Still, worries over being in the vicinity of hundreds of other shoppers had led some customers to return to their community stores where the crowds are smaller.

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u201cI heard from a customer, u2018I donu2019t want to go to Safeway,’u201d said Jeanlouise Conaway, the owner of Each Peach. She says their loyal local customers trust her staff to prioritize health and safety over profits.

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Due to the small size of her business, Conaway has been able to institute new practices like curbside grocery pickup and limiting the number of shoppers inside to eight at a time.

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Nash says heu2019s doing his best to keep his Momu2019s stores clean, but acknowledges that thereu2019s a limit to how much he can control. u201cAll you can do is, donu2019t touch your face and wash your hands and stay a few feet from everybody. You can sanitize all you wantu2026u201d He trails off.

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u201cWe really ought to be grateful as hell that weu2019re in this industryu201d he picks back up after a beat. u201cOur problems are good problems. Our jobs arenu2019t threatened, at least not yet.u201d

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This story originally appeared on WAMU.

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“We’re trying to feed the world, and everyone else is trying to figure out how to survive,” one local grocer said.

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In Suk Pak, left, the manager of BestWorld Supermarket in Mt. Pleasant, helps a shopper check out.

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Restaurants, Bars, Other Businesses To Shut Down","content":"

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered restaurants, bars, movie theaters, health clubs, spas, and massage parlors in the District to close to patrons to help contain the coronavirus pandemic.

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The order goes into effect at 10 p.m. on Monday, Bowser said during a press conference. Restaurants will be allowed to implement “grab-and-go” service during their shutdown.

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The news comes just hours after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered all restaurants, bars, gyms, and movie theaters in the state to close by 5 p.m. today.u00a0A handful of other jurisdictions have also shut down bars and restaurants, including California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

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According to Bowser, the D.C. Council will take up a bill on Tuesday that will include, “a number of pieces of relief that will help in these difficult economic times. Weu2019re concerned about an industry that helps drive our economy.”

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Bowser also says the bill would also allow bars and restaurants to deliver closed containers of alcohol.

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The mayor’s order follows a series of escalating measures from D.C. government. Last week Bowser declared a state of emergency in the District, granting herself a broad range of powers to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. On Sunday, sheu00a0ordered nightclubs closed, and for bars and restaurants to take measures to keep patrons six feet apart, including suspending bar service, limiting capacity, and moving tables farther apart.

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According to LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of DC Health, the decision to close these businesses came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines on preventing coronavirus on Sunday, including suspending gatherings of 50 or more people.

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u201cWe want to be as responsive a community as we can… to flatten the curve and end this pandemic,u201d Nesbitt said at Monday’s press conference.

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[For the latest on coronavirus in our region, click here.]

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These measures followed a weekend that saw bars and restaurants in D.C. packed with patrons, despite warnings from health officials to practice “social distancing.”

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“They were having a great time, it looked like a regular summer evening, not where weu2019ve all been told that the plague is coming and we have to socially distance ourselves,” Columbia Heights resident Claudine Hellmuth told DCist of the scene in her neighborhood on Saturday. “It was really weird, and I found it really upsetting.u201d

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In the days that followed, restaurants, bars, and other businesses flooded social media to say that they were closing entirely, or switching to a delivery- or takeout-only model. Some have demanded action from local government. Tail Up Goat in Adams Morgan took to Instagram to “[urge] the mayor to #shutusdown,” a message that a handful of other restaurants also shared.

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“Doing so properly acknowledges the scale of the current crisis and begins to make available the kind of resources our employees and businesses will require to endure this financial storm,” the restaurant wrote.

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Some restaurants promised to compensate staff—at least partially—during their closures. Andrew Dana, owner of Timber Pizza Company, Call Your Mother, and other restaurants, said employees would receive wages and health insurance for the next two weeks; Little Sesame says it will provide pay and meals for employees’ families during that time.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

All restaurants, bars, movie theaters, health clubs, spas, and massage parlors will close for patrons at 10 p.m. tonight.

n","permalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/mayor-bowser-to-order-d-c-restaurants-and-bars-to-shut-down/","currentSlug":"mayor-bowser-to-order-d-c-restaurants-and-bars-to-shut-down","created":"2020-03-16T15:22:05","modified":"2020-03-16T16:41:39","time":"Mar 16","timestamp":1584372125,"timestampGMT":1584386525,"imageData":{"caption":"

Plenty of restaurants and bars already announced they would be shutting down.

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tonight.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/mayor-bowser-to-order-d-c-restaurants-and-bars-to-shut-down/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/tim-mossholder-r8iEhi86gkA-unsplash-1024x683.jpg","width":1024,"height":683},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834532,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/closely-packed-crowds-at-dulles-had-poorly-handled-written-all-over-it/","title":"Closely Packed Crowds At Dulles Had u2018u201dPoorly Handledu201d Written All Over Itu2019","content":"

Dulles International Airport was flooded over the weekend with American travelers trying to get back into the country after President Trumpu2019s ban on travel from certain countries in Europe went into effect.

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The ban does not block U.S. citizens or permanent residents from entering the country, but it does require Americans coming from Europe to land at Dulles or one of a dozen other airports to be screened for coronavirus.

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[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in our region here]

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As a result, about 40,000 people arrived from Europeu00a0on Saturday, the first day the new policy took effect. The additional screenings, plus confusion and crowds, led to a tense, hours-long, close-quarters re-entry process for thousands of Americans, some of whom now worry whether they may have been exposed to the virus while navigating a system designed to prevent its spread.

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u201cIu2019m not sure what the solution is, but this was not it,u201d said Sara, who declined to give her last name because of her work with the government.

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Sara, who works in public health, had been in Nice, France, to attend a class. She hesitated over whether to return to the U.S., concerned about being part of what she called the u201cfirst waveu201d of Americans racing home and worried that authorities would be ill-prepared for the crush of arrivals.u00a0But, given the quickly changing situation and the advice of family and colleagues, she decided to come home early.

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u201cThis has u2018poorly handledu2019 written all over it,u201d she recalls thinking at the time.

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Confusion And Crowding Upon Arrival

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Sara returned Saturday and said the disorganization started before she got off the plane. When the flight arrived, they were met by an official who said passengers would be allowed off the flight in groups of 80. As passengers began to move, they were asked to sit back down and fill out a form with basic medical information. Many took the form and deplaned anyway. Finally, hearing no further instructions from officials, Sara deplaned as well.

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u201cI was like, u2018I feel like Iu2019d better get off. If I donu2019t get off, will I ever get off?’u201d she said. u201cNo one stopped me.u201d

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After leaving her plane, Sara got on one of Dullesu2019 people-mover vehicles, which was as packed as they often are. Employees from United and the airport helped people board the vehicle and handed out customs forms, but were not wearing masks or gloves, Sara noticed.

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Jennifer Kotting flew back into Dulles from Seville, Spain, via Heathrow Airport in London on Sunday and faced a similar experience on a people-mover. She told WAMU that she was in u201creally close quartersu201d on one transport for 40 minutes. She also said passengers were asked to divide themselves into arrivals who had traveled in Schengen countries versus the United Kingdom or Ireland u2014 entirely based on the honor system.

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u201cThere was one woman trying to direct people, somewhat inefficiently,u201d Kotting said.

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From the people mover, passengers say they were taken to a large room where medical staff was screening new arrivals.

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u201cWeu2019re all bunched in, thereu2019s no hand sanitizer, thereu2019s a couple people with masks and gloves on, but itu2019s chaos. People are pushing forward, theyu2019re asking who has connections, who doesnu2019t,u201d Sara said.

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Acting Director of Homeland Security Chad Wolf acknowledged the long lines and crowding at airports across the country on Sunday morning in a tweet.

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u201cIt currently takes ~60 seconds for medical professionals to screen each passenger. We will be increasing capacity but the health and safety of the American public is first & foremost,u201d Wolf wrote.

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u201cCBP has increased staffing at all locations to process travelers impacted by the proclamation as well as refined the screening process logistics to ease impacts caused by the large volume of travelers requiring enhanced health screening. Implementing these measures helped reduce the wait times,u201d Acting Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Mark Morgan told WAMU in a statement.

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Kellie Schachle, who was traveling home from a family vacation in Barcelona via London Heathrow Airport on Saturday, said she and her family spent more than three hours in line for the medical screening, and they were concerned about how close they were to other travelers.

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u201cSocial distancing was a ridiculous concept in this situation,u201d she told WAMU. She said passengers waiting together in line developed u201cgallows humoru201d about the situation, joking about exposure to the virus.

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Entering A Medical Screening

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Schachle said passengers were asked to fill out another form before the medical screening, with their name, email address, phone number, the flight theyu2019d taken, and their seat number. She said the staff overseeing the form process were offering pens for passengers to share if they didnu2019t have a writing implement, which worried her. She was grateful that her family had brought their own.

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That wasnu2019t quite Sarau2019s experience: she was asked to fill out a form with medical information after sheu2019d arrived at Dulles, but before she got off her flight. When she got to the head of the medical screening line, she handed the form to medical staff in scrubs, masks and gloves, who looked at the information and asked her some basic questions about her health. Her temperature was not checked, and medical staff didnu2019t talk to her directly about self-quarantining or monitoring her health, though there were paper hand-outs on the table with public health information, which she took.

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u201cIt sort of refers to Wuhan, itu2019s like u2018what to do if you come back from China,’u201d she said. The information sheet was dated from late February.

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One of the handouts Sara received at her medical screening at Dulles Airport on Saturday.

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u201cNo one ever told me I had to stay home for 14 days, anything like that,u201d she said. No one asked her if she had questions about the self-quarantining process, and sheu2019s not sure if itu2019s safe for her to go out for a walk.

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u201cI think the people in scrubs were just looking for the people who looked obviously sick,u201d she said.

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Another handout available to passengers going through medical screening at Dulles Airport on Saturday.

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Kotting said she was given a medical information form to fill out before she left the U.K. But when she presented it at the medical screening, the medical staff looking it over hadnu2019t seen that version of the form before and had to write in details by hand.

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Schachle said her family did have their temperatures checked in the medical screening, and then recorded on the forms they handed to the medical personnel. Kotting said the medical staff who evaluated her talked with her about self-quarantine. But both passengers agreed that the screening was cursory at best.

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u201cIf weu2019re going on this screening system that seems to be honors-system-based, and weu2019re just passing along some ineffective form and someoneu2019s looking at us to see if weu2019ve coughed in the last minute or not, that is not a good reason to be funneling people into these really crowded areas at 13 specific airports,u201d Kotting said.

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More Lines At Customs

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Sara had to take another packed people-mover to get to customs.

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u201cThis one guy definitely looked sick. He was coughing, rubbing his nose, his eyes didnu2019t look good,u201d she said.

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She described u201ca huge lineu201d to get through customs, and no Customs and Border Patrol agents wearing gloves or masks. The line, Kotting said, was better on Sunday, though she didnu2019t see agents or airport staff wearing gloves.

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A spokesman for CBP told WAMU that the agency u201chas issued guidance to all employees that outlines the current, comprehensive, risk-based use of Personal Protective Equipment including guidance regarding wearing masks in the appropriate circumstances. CBP has also issued comprehensive sanitary guidance to its facilities specifically to prevent the spread of COVID-19.u201d

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Schachle and Kotting felt one bright spot in the experience was the professionalism of the staff shepherding a large volume of anxious passengers through the screening process.

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u201cAll of the personnel, the TSA, the passport guys, the spattering of medical personnel we came into contact with could not have been more professional, helpful u2014 lots of apologies, u2018weu2019re sorry, this is our first day with this new policy,’u201d Schachle said. u201cI have zero complaints with the people who were trying to do their jobs.u201d

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Self-Quarantining After A Flight

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All three passengers plan to self-quarantine to the best of their ability for the next 14 days. None of them are showing symptoms of the coronavirus. But they worry that their experience at Dulles over the weekend exposed them to it u2014 more than their actual travels themselves.

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u201cWe were extremely careful. Our hands are raw from washing,u201d said Schachle.

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u201cI hate to be crass, but it was an all-out shit show,u201d Sara said, noting that the part of France where she had been didnu2019t have confirmed cases. u201cIf I didnu2019t have corona beforehand, I feel like I have it now.u201d

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She compared her experience at Dulles on Saturday to the screening process u2014 also at Dulles u2014 when she flew home from working to end the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. She recalled officials at airports in Africa and in Brussels requiring aid workers to have their temperatures checked before they came into the airport building, and they had to wash their hands and wash the bottoms of their shoes. And she was given a thermometer to take her temperature regularly as she settled back into home life in D.C.

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Sara acknowledges that the volume of travelers to be screened and the scale of the outbreaks of the two diseases arenu2019t at all comparable. But she still thinks the process could have been handled far better.

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u201cWhen you land in Dulles, there was nothing. No one was handing out hand sanitizer, no one was telling to not cough on people, or saying, u2018if you feel sick, come over here,’u201d she said. u201cThere was nothing like that. We all were just in this hall herding towards these checkpoints.u201d

n

u201cI thought, hereu2019s 10,000 cases right here,u201d she said. u201cI really just thought, u2018America needs to wake up.’u201d

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

“If I didn’t have corona beforehand, I feel like I have it now,” one passenger said.

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Passengers arriving from Europe stood in long lines in close quarters at Dulles Airport on Saturday, waiting for medical screenings with CDC staff.

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","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/closely-packed-crowds-at-dulles-had-poorly-handled-written-all-over-it/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/A9490022-80D6-4E07-98FB-13732F3A45B1-1024x576.jpeg","width":1024,"height":576},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"},"provider":{"term_id":41688,"name":"WAMU","slug":"wamu","term_group":0,"term_taxonomy_id":41688,"taxonomy":"wamu_provider","description":"","parent":0,"count":644,"filter":"raw","permalink":"https://dcist.com/provider/wamu/"}},{"ID":4834662,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/17/heres-the-status-of-local-and-regional-public-transit-agencies-during-coronavirus-outbreak/","title":"Hereu2019s The Status Of Local Public Transit Agencies During Coronavirus Outbreak","content":"

As cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in the Washington region, transit agencies are adapting their schedules in an attempt to balance the virusu2019 impact on ridership and public health.

n

[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in our region here]

n

Hereu2019s the latest:

n

Metro

n
    n
  • Beginning Wednesday, March 18, Metro isu00a0further reducing bus and rail serviceu00a0in response to the coronavirus and rapidly declining ridership. Weekday trains will run every 15 minutes. Buses are running on a Sunday schedule, with some additional service.
  • n
  • The Metro systemu2019s hours will also decrease. It will open on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • n
  • All trains will operate with the maximum eight rail cars to allow for social distancing.
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  • Metrobus drivers will be allowed to bypass bus stops to maintain social distancing on buses.
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  • Subscription MetroAccess trips are canceled. For those with critical needs, Metro asks that they make a new reservation.
  • n
  • Metro says it may continue to cut service as the situation unfolds, but General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says the agency remains committed to providing service for frontline workers and government officials. u201cMetro intends to be there to provide service for essential trips in our community u2013 as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so. If everyone does their part and stays home whenever possible, Metro will be there for hospital staff and other heroes who need us at this unprecedented moment in our lives,u201d Wiedefeld said in a statement.
  • n
  • Metro especially called on riders to not use the system to view the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin.
  • n
  • The agency has entered into Phase 3 of its pandemic response plan u2014 the most extreme stage. u201cPhase 3 is the highest level of response and will include all subsequent mitigation steps required during the public health emergency. Metro expects to be at Phase 3 until further notice,u201d the agency said inu00a0a statement.
  • n
n

MARC

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    n
  • u201cDue to sharply reduced ridership as a result of increased teleworking, MARC Train will begin operating on a u2018Ru2019 schedule effective Tuesday, March 17. Only train(s) with an u2018Ru2019 under the train number will operate,u201d reads an update on the Maryland Transit Administrationu2019s website.
  • n
  • MTA will supplement the R schedule by running additional trains on the Penn and Brunswick lines. More information here.
  • n
  • Stay tuned for more possible changes to service as the situation evolves, too. u201cMTA management is meeting regularly to review plans to ensure continuity of operations and will adjust service based on guidance and recommendations issued by the State, Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),u201d a notice on the MTA website reads.
  • n
n

VRE

n
    n
  • VRE will cut back train service starting Tuesday, March 17, due to falling ridership.
  • n
  • u201cVRE will run a u201cSu201d schedule onu00a0each of its two lines, Fredericksburg and Manassas, beginning Tuesday, March 17. The number of trains in service will go from 16 to eight u2013 four inbound each morning and four outbound each afternoon,u201d the agency said in a statement.
  • n
  • The service change will be in effect u201cindefinitely,u201d and VRE will continue to adjust service as the outbreak develops.
  • n
n

Amtrak

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    n
  • Amtrak cut back service starting on Monday, March 16. u201cWe will be operating approximately 40% of our typical weekday Northeast Corridor schedules,u201d Amtraku2019s website reads.
  • n
  • Last week, Amtrak suspended three Acela trains that make nonstop trips between Washington and New Yorku00a0because of reduced demand.
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  • The cafe car will be closed on some trains between New York City and Washington.
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  • Amtrak is waiving change fees on existing and new reservations made before April 30, 2020.
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n

D.C. Circulator & Streetcar

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ART Bus

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n
    n
  • ART 42 & 87 will terminate at the Pentagon instead of Pentagon City
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  • ART 45 will start 1 hour early at 6:30 am
  • n
  • ARTu00a043u00a0will operate every 20 minutesu00a0from 6 am to 11 pm following its weekday route
  • n
  • All other ART routes will not operate.
  • n
n
n
    n
  • The countyu2019s STAR paratransit service will operate normal hours. ART requests that passengers not take rides if they are feeling sick.
  • n
  • u201cART and STAR services will be monitored daily and may be subject to change in response to the latestu00a0conditions,u201d the announcement of service change reads.
  • n
n

DASH Bus

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    n
  • DASH will implement service changes later this week as part of the Alexandria communityu2019s effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  • n
  • Starting on Thursday, March 19, all regular DASH routes will run on a Saturday schedule, with some supplements on busy routes during weekday peak periods. Full details on those additions to the regular Saturday schedule will be forthcoming on Tuesday, March 17.
  • n
  • DASH is not changing its weekend service plans at this time.
  • n
n

Fairfax Connector Bus

n n

Ride On Bus

n
    n
  • Montgomery Countyu2019s Ride On buses will continue operating on normal schedules, but passengers can expect to see some changes in their riding experience.
  • n
  • Starting on March 16, Ride On fares will be waived, according to an update on the countyu2019s website.
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  • n
    Ride On is asking passengers to board through the back doors of the bus, in an attempt to u201climit close contact between passengers and drivers.u201d Others who require assistance can still board through the front of the bus.
    n
  • n
  • The Flex Bus pilot service in Rockville and the Wheaton-Glenmont zone is temporarily suspended.
  • n
n

TheBus

n
    n
  • TheBus in Prince Georgeu2019s County is operating regularly.
  • n
  • But in information about coronavirus-related closures posed online, the county indicates that might change. u201cIn the event government operations are modified, the Department of Public Works and Transportation will move from full service to modified transportation services, coordinating with compact partners in providing a fixed route bus transportation,u201d the site says.
  • n
n

Baltimore-Washington International Airport

n
    n
  • Last week, a spokesman said in an email that BWI Marshall Airport is working alongside the Maryland Department of Health and federal health authorities on the response to the coronavirus. u201cWe have been in close communication with these authorities since the onset of the outbreak. And we continue to work with our airline partners and other airport tenants on these issues,u201d he said.
  • n
  • The spokesman referred questions about whether known COVID-19 cases had traveled through the airport to the Maryland Department of Health, but noted that u201cthere is not any airline service from countries that have experienced major outbreaks of COVID-19u201d at BWI.
  • n
n

Dulles International & Reagan National Airports

n
    n
  • Dulles International is one of 13 airports across the country now conducting additional medical screening for flights arriving from Europe, China and Iran. That caused long lines and crowds over the weekend, as Americans scrambled to get home.
  • n
  • u201cWe are following all CDC-recommended protocols for cleaning at our airports and sharing with our employees important information provided by the CDC about the virus and following the CDCu2019s recommendations on healthy habits, such as hand-washing and covering your cough,u201d a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees Dulles and Reagan airports, told WAMU in an email last week.
  • n
n

This story originally appeared on WAMU. It has been updated with additional cuts to WMATA.

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A few transit agencies are still operating their regular schedules.

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Metro reduced train and bus service on Monday, March 16, on the advice of its pandemic response task force. Ridership has plummeted in the past week.

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","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/17/heres-the-status-of-local-and-regional-public-transit-agencies-during-coronavirus-outbreak/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/190307_Metro_Stock_Turner02-1024x683.jpg","width":1024,"height":683},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"},"provider":{"term_id":41688,"name":"WAMU","slug":"wamu","term_group":0,"term_taxonomy_id":41688,"taxonomy":"wamu_provider","description":"","parent":0,"count":644,"filter":"raw","permalink":"https://dcist.com/provider/wamu/"}},{"ID":4834466,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/at-d-c-s-liquor-stores-sales-have-doubled-and-a-whole-lot-of-everclear-is-flying-off-the-shelves/","title":"At D.C.u2019s Liquor Stores, Sales Have Doubled And A Whole Lot Of Everclear Is Flying Off The Shelves","content":"

More than 500 customers walked through the door of Schneideru2019s of Capitol Hill on Friday.

n

Thatu2019s around twice the average business for the 71-year-old liquor store at the start of the weekend, but not an increase that can be attributed to St. Patricku2019s Day, according to Schneideru2019s owner Rick Genderson.

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u201cWe probably get a little bit of a bump, but not like this,u201d says Genderson, who has worked at his grandfatheru2019s store since 1980. u201cThis is not from St. Patricku2019s Day, this is from corona.u201d

n

As bars and restaurants around the District began closing their doors, bottles have flown off the shelves at many wine, beer, and liquor stores. Several shops reported an uptick by Thursday, as domestic cases of coronavirus climbed and more D.C. residents began stockpiling their favorite libations in anticipation of a long work-from-home period (at Cork, a specialty wine shop on 14th Street, customers also walked out with a free roll of toilet paper with their wine purchase.)

n

[For the latest on coronavirus in the D.C. region, click here]

n

Sales doubled at Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits in Van Ness from the previous Friday, according to owner Michael Sands. He attributes the boost to a heightened sense of urgency following President Trumpu2019s speech and a slew of school closings on Wednesday.

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u201cWednesday night seems to be to me the clear dividing line,u201d Sands says. u201cThe presidentu2019s speech and the sports leagues canceling their games, I donu2019t know if it seemed to be more real. I personally donu2019t think itu2019s a coincidence.u201d

n

Like other liquor stores that DCist spoke to across the city, Calvert Woodley sold the same ratio of beer, wine, and liquor but at a higher volume. At Du2019Vines, an upscale liquor store in Columbia Heights specializing in craft beers and fine wines, customers who would normally purchase two to three bottles of wine took home twice that amount, according to Du2019Vines general manager Adam Johnson. He also noticed customers picking up more handles of spirits.

n

On Sunday afternoon, a steady stream of customers grabbed six packs and perused Du2019Vinesu2019 liquor shelves. Its neighborhood regulars didnu2019t seize the small shop with quite the same frenzy that captured the Giant up the block, where shoppers raided the aisles for toilet paper, pasta, and cleaning supplies.

n

u201cWeu2019re not yet seeing a run on the bank scenario,u201d says Johnson. u201cWeu2019re not experiencing what the grocery stores and convenience stores are experiencing which is pandemonium.u201d

n

Across the street from yet another Giant, on H Street, Craft Beer Cellar DC owner Erika Goedrich says business is up but not totally gangbusters. She has noticed that while the store offers mix-and-match options for their six packs, more customers are passing on experimental choices and opting for their reliable u201ccomfort beeru201d like Bell’s Two Hearted, Port City Optimal Wit, and Right Proper Raised By Wolves.

n

u201cFor the most part, nobody’s walking out with cases and cases,u201d she says. u201cPeople are buying six packs of the tried-and-true.u201d

n

Consumer behavior has shifted in other ways. At Sherryu2019s Wine and Spirits in Woodley Park, customers who would normally buy pricier items are buying cheaper ones, while those who usually purchase mid-level spirits are opting for rail liquors, according to Sherryu2019s general manager Ben Koizim.

n

u201cIt is somewhat mirroring what happened during the [government] shutdown in terms of buying pattern,u201d he says. u201cEverybody is saving their money. The market is losing money and that’s bad for business.u201d

n

Although liquor stores may be experiencing a boost this week, thereu2019s a sense that theyu2019ll make hay now and then experience a downturn later. The walk-in rush has also been tempered as other sales have dried up in the wake of the virus. Sherryu2019s delivery business has gone up, but those gains level out after the store pays drivers and the app service.

n

u201cThe pandemic is certainly not a net gain,u201d Koizim says. u201cThis is a net loss for any small business. Youu2019re not getting the out-of-towners, weu2019ve lost the World Bank convention, thatu2019s a tremendous amount of benefit for the store.u201d

n

And while sales have been brisk at Schneiders, Genderson has seen other revenue sources disappear.

n

u201cWeu2019ve had a lot of large parties and weddings, bar mitzvahs canceling,u201d he says. u201cWe do a lot of business with caterers and a lot of that is going by the wayside.u201d

n

There might be plenty of Manischewitz left over, but both Genderson and Koizim reported a run on grain alcohol. Several customers have told Koizim that they plan on making their own hand sanitizer with high-proof liquor like Everclear.

n

Koizim predicted Everclear sales would go up and purchased 200 bottles in the first week of March. He was right. Even with increased supply, the store ran out within a week.

n

u201cYouu2019re getting people who are usually high-end wine clients that are buying Everclear,u201d Kozim says. u201cUnless theyu2019re hazing a bunch of freshmen, thatu2019s probably what theyu2019re using it for.u201d

n

In order to be effective, hand sanitizer must contain at least 60 percent alcohol, which most liquor intended for consumption does not meet, according to Julie E. Fischer, an associate research professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and acting director of the Elizabeth R. Griffin Program at Georgetown University. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum concentration of 96 percent ethanol in a homemade hand sanitizer if a commercially-made version is not available.

n

Grain alcohol is sold at concentrations ranging between 120 proof, or 60 percent, to 190 proof, or 95 percent, alcohol by volume. But many of the homemade formulas posted online are not correct and if the mixture doesnu2019t contain a final concentration of at least 60 percent alcohol, then it wonu2019t be effective, according to Fischer.

n

u201cA formula that is too weak wouldn’t be effective against SARS-CoV2 [coronavirus], and using alcohol directly on the skin can be damaging,u201d she says, adding that as long as you have access to soap and water, washing your hands vigorously for more than 20 seconds is more effective than hand sanitizer at eliminating not only coronavirus but other microorganisms that can cause diseases.

n

As Genderson restocks his shelves with grain alcohol, thereu2019s still some products that just wonu2019t budge.

n

u201cWeu2019re not selling much Corona,u201d he says.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

One owner says the same thing happened during the government shutdown.

n","permalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/at-d-c-s-liquor-stores-sales-have-doubled-and-a-whole-lot-of-everclear-is-flying-off-the-shelves/","currentSlug":"at-d-c-s-liquor-stores-sales-have-doubled-and-a-whole-lot-of-everclear-is-flying-off-the-shelves","created":"2020-03-16T16:07:32","modified":"2020-03-16T16:07:32","time":"Mar 16","timestamp":1584374852,"timestampGMT":1584389252,"imageData":{"caption":"

D’Vines on Sunday afternoon

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Giangreco","source_url":false},"postMeta":{"inCollectionId":"4834160","showDCistStoryAppeal":true,"person":"4783087","secondaryImage":{"type":"","data":""},"titleOverride":false,"urlOrigin":false},"audio":{"postPermalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/at-d-c-s-liquor-stores-sales-have-doubled-and-a-whole-lot-of-everclear-is-flying-off-the-shelves/"},"beat":"Food","beatSlug":"food","slug":{"name":"","permalink":"#","categoryName":"","providerClass":"provider-wamu","flagSlug":"","flagText":""},"promoted":"","headMeta":{"title":"These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"One owner says the same thing happened during the government shutdown.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/at-d-c-s-liquor-stores-sales-have-doubled-and-a-whole-lot-of-everclear-is-flying-off-the-shelves/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/liquorstores-1024x768.jpg","width":1024,"height":768},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834379,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/wards-7-and-8-have-been-pooling-resources-to-get-through-the-coronavirus-outbreak/","title":"Wards 7 And 8 Have Been Pooling Resources To Get Through The Coronavirus Outbreak","content":"

Amid the local coronavirus pandemic, food and resources have been scarce at many D.C.-area grocery stores. Lines snake around corners of Trader Joe’s locations and shoppers crowd aisles to grab toilet paper the moment store attendants drop it on the shelves.

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But for the city’s historically underserved communities, the coronavirus emergency echoes longstanding issues of food access. This is especially true east of the Anacostia River, where there are only three major grocery stores to cover all of wards 7 and 8 (a total of 149,750 people).u00a0A Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, VJ Johnson, spoke with DCist last week after visiting theu00a0Southeast Safeway in Good Hope Marketplace. What he saw wasn’t much different from store crowds during previous emergencies.

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“I donu2019t know if it impacted [that Safeway] any different than Iu2019ve experienced any other time,u201d Johnson said. u201cLong lines are always there, so I canu2019t say that the corona scare has negatively impacted that Safeway. It was business as usual to me.u201d

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[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in the region]

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Some advocates have pointed out that the demand will only increase, placing greater pressure on grocery stores already serving more than their fair share of residents. Groups of neighbors haveu00a0stepped up to fill in the gaps,u00a0sharing resources and information as anxiety over the coronavirus outbreak mounts. By Thursday and Friday of last week, organizers had started mutual aid programs and shared forms for people to sign up to share food and toiletries.

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A collective of entities citywide—among them, Black Lives Matter, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, Bread for the City, Black Youth Project 100, the Peace House, and a number of public and charter schools—have joined forces to create the D.C. Mutual Aid Network for Ward 7 and 8. For those who are homebound, a hotline was set up on Monday for volunteers to deliver food and supplies to residents’ doorsteps. (More info on that and other resources below).

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“There’s nothing I can call on to compare this [pandemic] to,” says Samantha Davis, executive director of Black Swan Academy, which has helped lead the mutual aid program. “However, these are extremely interesting times for us all. What we’ve been trying to get across to folks from wards 7 and 8, and citywide, is that we want everyone to be safe. We want everyone to protect themselves, their families, and others.”

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Davis says organizers have taken three main approaches for mutual aid: launching in-person stations to provide extra food and supplies at public school sites where student can get free meals; meeting people where they are, especially seniors who can’t travel to supply sites; and providing childcare for those who can’t work remotely (which Davis says is the “one thing we are still grappling with and haven’t quite figured out an answer to yet.”)

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While several businessesu00a0are offering free meals to kids, many of those are unreachable for residents east of the Anacostia River, says Nikki Peele, a marketing consultant who runs the blog Congress Heights on the Rise. She’s been collecting job listings, information about which schools are collecting food for families in wards 7 and 8, and distributing information about which businesses east of the river remain open.

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“We are only as strong as a city as our weakest ward,” Peele says. “The most under-resourced communities always have to be the most resourceful, and now they’re going to have to be even more resourceful.”

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Peele notes that there’s a lot of misinformation spreading online about the virus—some are taking it seriously, while others continue to treat it largely like a joke. A healthy amount of fear is necessary, she says, to ensure that the community can survive: “I obviously have a lot of faith in the community’s strength and ability to come together, but I also have a lot of concerns because their challenges are three and four-fold.”

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Navigating all of the separate GoFundMe’s and social media posts can be overwhelming, so for anyone who doesn’t know where to start, there are a few helpful spreadsheets and comprehensive Google Docs going around. Here are a few resources to get your started:

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“The most under-resourced communities always have to be the most resourceful, and now they’re going to have to be even more resourceful.”

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“The most under-resourced communities always have to be the most resourceful, and now they’re going to have to be even more resourceful.”

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After D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser responded forcefully on Monday morning to the owner of seven D.C. restaurants who claimed they would defy the city’s new restrictions on bars and restaurants, the group now says it will comply.

n

The new guidelines issued Sunday night closed nightclubs and ordered that bars and restaurants take additional steps to prevent crowding, from eliminating bar-seating to keeping tables at least six feet apart. They followed a weekend where many D.C. residents flocked to bars and restaurants, even as city officials have called for social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

n

But in a post in a private restaurant industry Facebook group on Sunday, Hill Restaurant Groupu2014which owns Hawk u2018nu2019 Dove, Finnu2019s, Tortuga, Lolau2019s, Willieu2019s, Opheliau2019s Fish House, and Orchidu2014said it would u201ccontinue to operate as normal and encourage our fellow industry folks to do the same.u201d It added, u201cWe understand the gravity of the effects that the [coronavirus] has or will have on our community. However, we will not bow down to pressure from the Mayoru2019s office or any group for that matter who is covertly attempting to shut us down.u201d

n

The post was later shared on Twitter by Washingtonian food editor Jessica Sidman.

n n

n

Managing partner Tom Johnson later told NBC4 the restrictions were too much. u201cYou can’t put the burden on small businesses. Thatu2019s ridiculous,” Johnson said. u201cWe wonu2019t comply. Let her shut us down. You might as well shut us down. Itu2019s absolutely ridiculous. People are going to do what people do,u201d he said.

n

That prompted a direct response from Bowser on Twitter on Monday morning, in which she threatened to use police and other city agencies to close down bars or restaurants not complying with the new restrictions.

n

u201cWhile I recognize that all of us have been stressed beyond our immediate understanding of how coronavirus has so quickly upended our daily lives and personal and business existenceu2014you must comply with the DC Health notice,u201d she wrote.

n

u201cWe all have an obligation to do our part to contain the spread of this global pandemic and get to the business of recovery as soon as possible. Until then, your compliance is required, and we will exercise the full force of our MPD, FEMS, DC Health and ABRA and the emergency authority to achieve it,u201d she added.

n

u201cMeanwhile, I hope your patrons will encourage you to modify your operations at the soonest, to consider grab & go and delivery options in your food serving establishments and to stick with you until our city comes out on the other side of this pandemic. Weu2019ll all get through this together,u201d she ended.

n

Johnson told the Washington Post on Monday that he would comply with the Mayoru2019s orders, closing all but three of his restaurants that are either bar-only or are too small to keep patrons six feet apart. It was not immediately clear which restaurants would remain open.

n

u201cI have to start letting people go. I donu2019t have the wherewithal to pay them,u201d Johnson told the Post, when he was made aware of the Mayoru2019s tweets by a reporter. u201cItu2019s literally going to put me out of business. Iu2019m going to go bankrupt.u201d

n

Many bars and restaurants in D.C. have voluntarily closed, even before Bowseru2019s edict. Others have shifted to delivery or takeout-only models, and others still have implemented new measures to keep patrons further away from each other. Virtually all arts and entertainment institutions have already closed and cancelled their events.

n

Other jurisdictions, though, have already moved to fully close bars, restaurants and clubs as a means to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus.

n

Related:

n

Hereu2019s The Status Of D.C.-Area Restaurants And Bars During The Coronavirus Pandemic

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u201cItu2019s literally going to put me out of business,” said the managing partner of Hill Restaurant Group. “Iu2019m going to go bankrupt.u201d

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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser during a 2017 news conference.

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Capitol Hill Books, a popular and much-loved used neighborhood used bookstore, is altering its operations in response to the local outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

n

“Ever dream of having Capitol Hill Books all to yourself? Now you can,” the store tweeted on Monday morning.

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Staff will be accepting one-hour bookings via email for no more than four customers at a time, allowing them to browse the shelves for an hour in an uncrowded store, free of cost, and “hopefully buy a lot of books,” says Kyle Burk, one of the owners of Capitol Hill Books.

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“Yesterday we were going over all of our options and deciding whether we should shut down, and we were looking for ways to keep our employees with a paycheck and health insurance while this is happening,” Burk says. “It’s a perfect balance to strike, trying to come up with ideas that could still generate a little revenue but still keep everybody safe at the same time.”

n

As of the last official count on Monday, there were 17 total cases of COVID-19 in the District, and dozens more in Virginia and Maryland. In an effort to limit community spread, officials have been clamping down ever-tighter on events and businesses where infected people are likely to pass the virus on to others. Office workers across the region are working from home, Metro has altered its operating schedule, and Mayor Muriel Bowser has implemented stricter operating guidelines for bars and restaurants.

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Burk says that business on Saturday was only slightly down from the usual, but by Sunday it had been cut in half. Still, they decided it wasn’t safe for customers or for their staff to be in a regularly-operating bookstore. Capitol Hill Books is known for its narrow passageways and its large stacks of paperbacks, sometimes necessitating that customers brush closely by one another to pass from one part of the store to another.

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The store still has two employees working on site during operating hours, Burk says, and they will meet customers at the door with hand sanitizer and gloves before allowing them into the store, he says.

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Since the store sent out its tweet about the new reservation policy, it’s already received several inquiries, per Burk. In addition to reservations, the store is selling rare books on its websiteu00a0and offering free shipping to anywhere in the U.S.

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While the owners know it’s possible they’ll eventually have to close down completely as the city continues dealing with the outbreak, they’re doing everything possible now to ensure they’ll be able to keep themselves in business long term.

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“I mean, look. It’s going to be rough,” Burk says. “You can imaging that your average used bookstore doesn’t have a huge stockpile of cash to continue operations without any revenue coming in for months on end.”

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So far, he says, they haven’t had to cut employee hours (the store has five full time employees, including at its rare book warehouse in Hyattesville).

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Burk bought the store from its old owner in 2018 with three of his best friends, Aaron Beckwith, Shantanu Malkar, and Matt Wixon. They all worked at the store on and off at various times, and it formed a core part of their social lives for more than 15 years. The four friends began planning to buy the store from owner Jim Toole, and managed to save up money with the help of money from Wixon’s moving company, Bookstore Movers. Wixon passed away from colon cancer in 2019, leaving behind a community of people at the bookstore that he’d loved.

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“To say we’re dedicated to keeping this place open is a huge understatement. This is something we’ve been committed to. All the owners have been involved in this place for 15 years, even before we owned the store. We purchased the store particularly because we wanted to keep it aliveu2014we think it’s an important part of the neighborhood and the community and it needs to be around as long as possible,” Burk says. “It’s a huge reason why we wake up in the morning. It’s a home for us and we’ll do our best to keep it here.”

n

This story has been updated to reflect that Capitol Hill Books has five full time employees, not six.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

“To say we’re dedicated to keeping this place open is a huge understatement.”

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Upstairs at Capitol Hill Books.

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Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":""To say we're dedicated to keeping this place open is a huge understatement."","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/capitol-hill-books-shifts-to-private-appointments-as-coronavirus-spreads/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/04/Capitol-Hill-Books-1024x683.jpg","width":1024,"height":683},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834453,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/restaurant-reservations-dropped-55-percent-by-sunday-open-table-data-shows/","title":"Restaurant Reservations Dropped 55 Percent By Sunday, Open Table Data Shows","content":"

The number of local restaurant reservations was down 55 percent year-over-year on Sunday amid D.C.’s COVID-19 outbreak, according to data from OpenTable, the online platform that a number of D.C. restaurants use to manage bookings.

n

The total number of digital and phone reservations and walk-ins in the District was up for much of February, before it began dipping slightly in early March, the company reported (the data only reflects restaurants that use OpenTable.)

n

But as coronavirus cases appeared in the city, restaurants started seeing steep declines.u00a0On March 9, D.C. restaurants saw a 10 percent drop from the same day a year prior.u00a0By Thursday and Friday, as an increasing number of events were being canceled and the mayor was announcing new measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus,u00a0 the decline had grown to 38 percent and 44 percent, respectively.

n

On Saturday, the numbers held steady at a 44 percent decline year-over-year. And on Sunday the city saw its steepest drop yet: at 55 percent.

n

[For the latest updates on coronavirus in the D.C. area, see here.]

n

Despite those declines, patrons did continue to eat out and go to bars over the weekend in large numbers, even after Mayor Muriel Bowser put a ban on gatherings over 250 people and encouraged residents to practice social distancing and stay away from one another to contain the virus’s spread.

n

On Sunday, the mayor closed nightclubs and instituted stricter rules for bars and restaurants, including eliminating bar seating and mandating that all tables be six feet away from one another. Some restaurants have already started shuttering of their own accord, or moving to delivery-only

n

[For au00a0comprehensive list of what’s open, what’s closed, and what places are offering modified service, see here.]

n

There are now 17 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District, with dozens more in Maryland and Virginia.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Despite the decline, patrons did continue to eat out and go to bars over the weekend in large numbers.

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A sign posted on the door of Wonderland Ballroom.

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Fenston","source_url":false},"postMeta":{"inCollectionId":"4834160","showDCistStoryAppeal":true,"person":"2008035","secondaryImage":{"type":"","data":""},"titleOverride":false,"urlOrigin":false},"audio":{"postPermalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/16/restaurant-reservations-dropped-55-percent-by-sunday-open-table-data-shows/"},"beat":"News","beatSlug":"news","slug":{"name":"","permalink":"#","categoryName":"","providerClass":"provider-wamu","flagSlug":"","flagText":""},"promoted":"","headMeta":{"title":"These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"Despite the decline, patrons did continue to eat out and go to bars over the weekend in large 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nMarch 18, 6:26 p.m.: Citing a loss of 85% of its ridership — adding up to more than $50 million in lost revenue this month — Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld made a request for emergency funding from the federal government, according to a tweet from Washington Post reporter Justin George.

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u201cToday, we began a much reduced, lifeline service to ensure we can protect our frontline employees, while retaining regional mobility for essential trips taken by hospital staff, local and United States government officials, and emergency responders,u201d Wiedefeld wrote.

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The plea for federal assistance comes in the midst of government actions to reduce the spread of coronavirus, including canceling events, closing schools and offices and limiting social gatherings. u201cWhile all of these steps are critical, they come with high costs,u201d Wiedefeld wrote.

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Metro had already reduced service on two occasions (and hinted a third reduction may be coming soon). —Julie Depenbrock

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More Stories Below

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Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is one of several local malls that will close its doors effective 7 p.m. Wednesday.Paul Sullivan / Flickr

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Pentagon City, Potomac Mills, Other Local Malls Shuttered

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March 18, 5:38 p.m.: The largest owner of U.S. shopping malls is closing its malls and retail properties to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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Simon Property Group, which manages many malls in the Washington region, said shoppers can expect the closures to begin at 7 p.m. local time Wednesday. The properties will remain shuttered until March 29, the company said in a news release.

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The companyu2019s local outfits include Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Potomac Mills in Woodbridge and Leesburg Premium Outlets. It also owns the premium outlets in Hagerstown, Clarksburg, and Queenstown.

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The company said the decision came after “extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19.u201d —Victoria Chamberlin

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Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore will be constructing new acute care beds to meet what is expected to be growing demand.Mercy Medical Center

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Maryland Hospital to Construct New Floor, Add Beds For Patients

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March 18, 5:00 p.m.: A $12.5 million project to expand Baltimoreu2019s Mercy Medical Center has received state approval. The expansion follows a promise from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to add up to 6,000 hospital beds statewide, in preparation for a likely surge in coronavirus cases.

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The project would add a 32-bed unit specializing in u201cacute care patient treatment.u201d Other hospitals in the Washington region have announced plans to pitch temperature controlled tents and treat patients as they emerge.

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Construction on the Mercy Medical Center floor will begin immediately and should take just over two months. — Julie Depenbrock
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The report also expects tourism to be reduced by u201cunprecedented levels,u201d even if the coronavirus pandemic didnu2019t reach the U.S.Tyrone Turner / WAMU

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Coronavirus Will Wallop D.C. Region’s Economy, Report Says

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March 18, 3:30 p.m.: The coronavirus pandemic u201chas ended the longest business expansion on record,u201d says a new report from The Stephen S. Fuller Institute. And unlike the 2007-2008 financial crisis u2014 which Washington didnu2019t feel as much other parts of the country u2014 the D.C. area is fully exposed to the fallout this time.

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If the coronavirus disrupts normal operations through May, the report says, we can expect the regionu2019s economy to stall over the whole year, rising just 0.1%. Service industries u2014 think hospitality, dining and entertainment u2014 will bear the brunt of the damage because they rely on discretionary spending thatu2019s drying up. Industries that depend on international manufacturing will also take a hit, the report says.

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Usually, Washington is insulated from recessions because our economy is closely tied to the federal government. But according to Fuller Institute Director Jeannette Chapman, circumstances are different with the coronavirus.

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u201cIn this downturn, households and business will reduce expenditures at local businesses even if their incomes are unchanged as households, business, and governments implement strategies to flatten the curve of the pandemic,u201d Chapman writes. u201cSimilarly, the loss of productivity in the region will be because of workers that stay home, including losses from those that have shifted to working remotely.u201d

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The worst damage will come in the second quarter of 2020, the report projects, with a slight bump around the election. Consumer spending is expected to uptick in the third quarter as pent-up demand for services gets cash flowing, but u201cit will not fully compensate for the lost revenue,u201d the report says, because u201cconsumers cannot double up on some activities in a given period. Residents will not get two haircuts in the fall even if they did not get their regular haircut in the spring.u201d

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Losses will be even deeper if social distancing remains the norm after June, Chapman writes.

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The report also expects tourism to be reduced by u201cunprecedented levels,u201d even if the coronavirus pandemic didnu2019t reach the U.S. The report says the most comparable event is the 9/11 terror attacks, u201calthough the total magnitude of the decrease resulting from the pandemic will likely be larger.u201d

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But, there is a silver lining. The D.C. areau2019s status as a federal hub will help it recover from the crisis faster than other parts of the country, the report notes.

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u201cThe source of funding and the workforce of the federal government and federal contractors will be less affected by the disruption, making it easier for both the businesses and the associated households to resume normal operations,u201d Chapman writes. — Ally Schweitzer
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This year, George Washington University will not be holding its commencement ceremony on the National Mall.Victoria Pickering / Flickr

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Local Universities Cancel, Postpone Their Commencement Ceremonies

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March 18, 3:00 p.m.: More local universities have made the decision to reschedule their graduation ceremonies or cancel the in-person celebrations altogether, amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

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Howard announced on Monday that it would cancel its commencement.

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Now, Georgetown University announced it will postpone its graduation to an unknown later date, after students pressured the administration not to cancel the ceremony outright.

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u201cAfter careful consideration, we have made the determination that it will be necessary to postpone Commencement activities to a time in which we can safely convene as a community,u201d Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said in a statement this morning.

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George Washington University announced that it will not hold commencement in person and will look for a digital alternative. We are working diligently to determine how we can, appropriately and safely, celebrate our graduates within the constraints of the current circumstances,u201d the university said.

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GW also announced today that a student living off-campus has tested positive for COVID-19. Officials say the student is doing well and currently in self-isolation. —u00a0Victoria Chamberlin

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Circulator bus fares have been waived temporarily.Elvert Barnes / Flickr

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DC Circulator Fares Suspended

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March 18, 1:50 p.m.: Fares for the DC Circulator have been suspended, according to the District Department of Transportation. Riders can now board the bus from all doors, allowing for social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The DC Circulator National Mall route has also been suspended. As of March 18, all other Circulator routes are operating under their regular schedules.

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Metrobus service is running on a Sunday schedule, while trains are running every 15 minutes. Metro says these reductions are meant to limit public transit to essential trips only. —u00a0Carmel Delshad

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Maryland lawmakers have passed emergency legislation addressing medical supplies, retailers, and other areas affected by coronavirus.Tyrone Turner / WAMU

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Maryland Lawmakers Pass Emergency COVID-19 Legislation

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March 18, 1:44 p.m.:u00a0Marylandu2019s General Assembly passed emergency legislation Wednesday to address the coronavirus pandemic.

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The bill allows Governor Larry Hogan to take up to $100 million from the rainy day fund to use toward medical supplies and other resources. Thelegislation also limits retailersu2019 price increases to prevent gouging. Employers are also not allowed to lay workers who are required to quarantine. It also provides workers who do get laid off with increased access to unemployment benefits.

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StateComptroller Peter Franchot said Tuesday that not enough was being done at the state and federal level to make sure that small businesses could remain afloat amid the spread of the virus.

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u201cThey need cash in their pockets from the government,u201d Franchot said. u201cBut it takes all sorts of time and red tape to get it into the pockets of small businesses.u201du2014u00a0Dominique Maria Bonessi

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A deputy marshal who worked in the cell block and in the adult and juvenile arraignment court is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.Martin Austermuhle / WAMU

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D.C. Superior Court Closes Marriage Bureau

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March 18, 1:33 p.m.: The D.C. Superior Court announced Wednesday morning that it would close the marriage bureau, effective immediately. The closure comes after a U.S. Marshal working at the court tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

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In addition to closing the marriage bureau, the court has notified staff who may have been in contact with the marshal, and cleaned and disinfected the courtrooms and holding cells. Itu2019s not clear how many members of the public the marshal came into contact with at the court.

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The court is still operating its adult arraignment courtroom and its juvenile new intake courtroom, per a statement from spokesperson Leah Gurowitz. u201cAdditionally, the DC Superior Court has just a few other courtrooms operations, handling emergency matters and processing persons who have been arrested,u201d the statement says.

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You can see a full timeline of court closures and operational changes due to the coronavirus here.

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The last time the marriage bureau closed for an extended period in D.C. was during last yearu2019s federal government shutdown, prompting an outcry from local couples trying to tie the knot. u2014u00a0Natalie Delgadillo

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced further restrictions Tuesday to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the commonwealth.Steve Helber / AP Photo

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March 18 12:17, p.m.: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam urged people with nonessential jobs to keep their children at home to ensure child care is available for medical and other front-line workers.

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During a press conference today, he announced that the Commonwealth will be issuing guidance for child care providers to help them comply with his directive to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people.

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Duke Storen, commissioner of the state’s Department of Social Services, said that the guidelines would also call on providers to feed the children in their care, stagger recesses, and include activities that would allow children to stay six-feet apart.

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He acknowledged that it would be a hardship, but “they were up to the task,” Storen said.

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The governor also announced 10 new cases of COVID-19, bringing Virginia’s total to 77 cases. There are three “outbreaks” — defined as two or more cases that can be traced to a common exposure. Two are in Richmond and the other, larger outbreak is in James City County.

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Northam also encouraged Virginians to donate blood, which he said he plans to do this afternoon. James Hatcher of the American Red Cross estimated that the organization collected 100,000 fewer units of blood than usual in the preceding two to three weeks.

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He also said that the roughly 2,000 ICU beds across Virginia have enough ventilators and respiratory support equipment, with access to an additional 400 ventilator units that could be deployed to specific hospitals if needed.

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Regarding upcoming elections, Northam said that all Virginians could vote by absentee ballot in May contests. The deadline for applying is April 28. He said that voters would still be required to give a reason for requesting an absentee ballot.

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The governor also said he’s requesting financial assistance from the federal Small Business Administration, in the form of low-interest loans to affected businesses. u2014u00a0Maureen Pao

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A deputy marshal who worked in the cell block and in the adult and juvenile arraignment court is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.Martin Austermuhle / WAMU

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March 18 11:00 a.m. A deputy U.S. marshal working in the D.C. Superior Court has tested positive for COVID-19. The news was confirmed by Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Brandt on Wednesday.

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The deputy marshal worked in the cell block and in the adult and juvenile arraignment court, Brandt says.

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u201cMany steps being taken to notify members of the public and the courts who were in contact with [the deputy marshal],u201d Brandt says. u201cWeu2019re taking what precautions we can.u201d

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The deputy has been self-isolating since falling ill on Friday and reports that heu2019s successfully recovering, Brandt says.

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u201cHe worked in the lockup behind courtroom C-10, where a large number of defendants are arraigned every day,u201d Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern notes on Twitter. u201cMany are then released back into their communities.u201d

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The reported details of the deputyu2019s work and interactions with other staffers could have serious implications for court employees. And, as James Zeigler, director of the D.C. legal advocacy group Second Look Project writes, u201cThis makes it nearly certain that there are active cases inside the D.C. Jail now.u201d

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Leah Gurowitz, spokesperson for the D.C. Superior Court, tells DCist that the court received the news late Tuesday evening. She says the court will have a statement soon with more details on who the marshal was in contact with over the past week. u2014 Elliot Williams

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Grocery stores in the region have made numerous adjustments as concerns grow over the spread of coronavirus.Mikaela Lefrak / WAMU

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Grocery Stores Create Special Shopping Times For Older Adults

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This story was updated at 4:00 p.m.

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March 18, 10:00 a.m. Grocery stores around the D.C. region and the country have begun adjusting their hours to allow time for elderly adults to shop alone and avoid the spread of coronavirus.

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Employees at the entrance to the H Street Whole Foods in D.C. were carding shoppers to check their ages on Wednesday morning, according to Popville. All Whole Foods stores in the U.S. will serve only customers who are 60 and older for an hour before opening to the general public. For D.C.-area locations, that has meant reserved shopping for older adults 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

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u201cWe are setting aside this time to help these customers, who national health authorities have identified as among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, feel more comfortable shopping our stores and helping to ensure they are able to get the items they need in a less crowded environment,u201d Whole Foods wrote in a statement.

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Similarly, starting on Thursday the Giant Foods on Westbard Ave. in Bethesda will open from 6 a.m.-7:30 a.m. for shoppers 60 years and up.

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Many stores have shortened their operating hours and are trying to hire more employees to relieve overburdened staff. Most Trader Joeu2019s locations in the Washington region have curtailed their operating hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Safeways in the area remain open regular hours.

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Other grocery stores and markets have launched curbside pickup programs for shoppers wary of crowded spaces. At Each Peach Market in Mt. Pleasant, for example, customers can email in a grocery list and employees will pack up a box for pickup. u2014 Mikaela Lefrak

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March 17

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Drive-through coronavirus testing will take place in Arlington, starting 9 a.m. on Wednesday.Courtesy of Virginia Hospital Center

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Arlingtonu2019s Virginia Hospital Center Opens Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing

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March 17, 9:15 p.m.:u00a0The Virginia Hospital Center says it will open a temporary site for limited drive-through coronavirus testing on Wednesday. All patients will need to have a referral from a doctor and an appointment, and they will need to be residents of Arlington County, employees of the county government or public schools, or patients of hospital staff.

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u201cThis is an important collaborative effort at a critical time,u201d County Board Chair Libbey Garvey said in a statement.

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Only people exhibiting symptoms including fevers, chills, coughing or shortness of breath will be eligible for testing, the hospital says. Patients will also need to have written orders for COVID-19 testing from a licensed medical provider. Patients who arenu2019t showing any symptoms will not be tested, even if they were in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. The hospital says patients will need to remain in their cars through testing.

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The center, located at 1429 N. Quincy Street, will be open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Virginia Hospital Center says test results will be available within five to seven business days. To schedule an appointment, patients should call 703-558-5766 between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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Virginia currently has 67 confirmed cases of coronavirus. —Carmel Delshad and Daniella Cheslow
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More stories from Tuesday

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The nine new cases are all men.Tyrone Turner / WAMU

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D.C. Announces Nine More Positive Cases

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March 17, 8:29 p.m.: An additional nine people in the District have tested positive for the coronavirus, D.C. officials announced Tuesday, bringing the total to 31 cases.

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The new positive cases include three men in their 20s, one of whom attended the Conservative Political Action Conference. All nine cases were men. Contact tracing for the other eight people are currently underway.

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As of Tuesday, Virginia reported 67 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and Maryland reported 57. —Carmel Delshad

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Small businesses and nonprofits in the District can now apply for low-interest loans.Elvert Barnes / Flickr

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Businesses Can Apply For Federal Disaster Aid, D.C. Mayor Bowser Says

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March 17, 7:10 p.m.: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says businesses in the District can apply for federal help from the Small Business Administration to soften the impact of the coronavirus. The SBA will provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and private nonprofit organizations that have lost revenue. The funds can be used to cover fixed debts, payroll, accounts and other bills.

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u201cWhile we continue our response to COVID-19, my Administration is launching our recovery effort, and one such step is relief options for small businesses,u201d Mayor Bowser said in a statement.

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Small businesses can begin applying for loans on the SBA website.

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The District will have its own local program for businesses, contractors and the self-employed, as part of an emergency relief bill passed in the D.C. Council on Tuesday.

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Businesses in the D.C. region are groaning under sharp restrictions imposed in the last week to contain the spread of coronavirus; thousands of people were laid off in restaurants, the arts, wellness and entertainment. More job losses are inevitable as the CDC has advised against gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. –Daniella Cheslow

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A D.C. firefighter who tested positive for coronavirus worked at two different firehouses in the city.Heather Paul / Flickr

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D.C. Firefighter Tests Positive For COVID-19

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March 17, 7:54 p.m.: A D.C. firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, D.C. Fire and EMS confirmed to DCist on Tuesday.

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The city was first notified of the positive test result on Monday. The firefighter worked at two different firehouses in the city: Station 19 on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, and Station 32 on Irving Street SE, according to Dabney Hudson, the president of the Local 36 firefighteru2019s union.

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Members attached to both firehouses have been contacted by the city, says D.C. Fire spokesperson Doug Buchanan. Anyone that had direct contact with the firefighter who tested positive will be in self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of last contact, per Buchanan. They will be tested for the virus if DC Health or a doctor advises it. DC Health is also conducting contact tracing for the firefighter.

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The city declined to say how many firefighters have been advised to self-quarantine. The firefighter worked last week, but itu2019s not clear how many shifts or how many calls they responded to. Itu2019s unclear how much contact the firefighter had with the public, when the firefighter started feeling symptoms, or how they may have been exposed to the virus. —Natalie Delgadillo

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A number of NPS visitorsu2019 centers, nature centers and restrooms are closed, but visitors may still be able to access park lands.Tyrone Turner / WAMU

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National Park Service Gives Sites Authority To Close

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March 17, 5:00 p.m.: The National Park Service says programs and operations that donu2019t meet the latest coronavirus guidance may be canceled or closed.

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Park superintendents u201care empowered to modify their operations, including closing facilities and cancelling programs, to address the spread of the coronavirus,u201d Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a Tuesday afternoonu00a0press release. Outdoor spaces may remain open if it is possible to adhere to recommendations to address the spread of COVID 19.

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Several D.C.-area NPS sites had already made the decision to close in the past week, including the Washington Monument, the Old Post Office Tower and Fordu2019s Theater National Historic Site.

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A number of NPS visitorsu2019 centers, nature centers and restrooms are closed, but visitors may still be able to access park lands.

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Other local sites run by NPS include Rock Creek Park, the Tidal Basin, Pierce Mill, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Meridian Hill Park, the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Fort Dupont Park, Theodore Roosevelt Island.

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None of those NPS sites have announced closures yet, but they may do so in light of the latest NPS guidance. —u00a0Ingalisa Schrobsdorff

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Metro Trains To Run Every 15 Minutes For Essential Trips Only

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Metro reduced train and bus service on Monday, March 16, on the advice of its pandemic response task force. Ridership has plummeted in the past week.Tyrone Turner / WAMU

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March 17, 3:55 p.m.: Metro has announced further cutbacks in service, in an attempt to limit trips to essential travel only.

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As of Wednesday, March 18, the Metro system will be open 5 am – 11 pm on weekdays, and 8 am to 11 pm on weekends. Trains will run every 15 minutes on all lines, and all of them will be 8-cars in length, to enable passengers to distance themselves from each other.

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Track work beyond emergency maintenance and inspections will be canceled so that the system can keep to 15-minute headways.

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Buses will run on a Sunday schedule, with some lines supplemented to ensure passengers are not crowded. Bus drivers will be allowed to pass stops if they are concerned about social distancing between riders.

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MetroAccess subscription trips are canceled, but the service will still be open for reservations.

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Ridership on rail and bus was down 70% on Monday. That was also the first day the system scaled back service to Saturday levels.

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Fares will not decrease, despite the cuts in service.

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u201cOur region is speaking with one voice: Stay home. Essential travel only,u201d Metro said in a statement.

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The restrictions include travel related to the Cherry Blossom Festival, the announcement points out. Metrou2019s pandemic task force u201cis urging the public to NOT travel to the Cherry Blossom Festival to keep Metrou2019s limited capacity available for essential travel (e.g. doctors, nurses, essential governmental functions, etc.). Metro reserves the right to close stations near the Tidal Basin at any time to reduce the use of Metro for tourist trips,u201d it says.

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The announcement has far-reaching consequences for Metro employees. On Metrobus alone, it represents a 60% reduction in the number of employees normally needed to operate the system. u2014 Margaret Barthel

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan discusses the state’s response to coronavirus at a news conference Friday, March 6, in Annapolis, Md.Bryan Witte / AP Photo

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Marylandu2019s Governor Postpones Stateu2019s April Primary

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Tuesday, 12: 45 p.m.:u00a0Maryland Governor Larry Hogan postponed the stateu2019s April 28 primary election until June 2 to give the state Board of Elections time to figure out how to keep polling judges and staff safe during the election. This comes amid a 54 percent increase overnight in confirmed coronavirus cases in the state.

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u201cFree and fair elections are the very foundation of American democracy,u201d Hogan told reporters Tuesday. u201cAnd while there are many valid reasons for unease and uncertainty right now, ensuring that the voices of Maryland citizens are heard, shouldnu2019t be one of them.u201d

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Marylandu2019s 7th Congressional District General Election for the late Rep. Elijah Cummingsu2019 seat will still take place on April 28, but will be by mail-in only ballot.

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State Board of Elections officials say they expect to have precautionary measures set up for the June 2 primary in a few weeks.

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Hogan also postponed the May 16 Preakness Stakes Horse Race to September. That came after the Kentucky Derby, which was supposed to happen on May 2, was postponed till Labor Day Weekend for the first time in 75 years. A spokesperson for The Maryland Jockey Club, owner of the Preakness Race, wrote in a statement that their first priority is the health and safety of the jockeys and the public at large.

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u201cWhile we are mindful of the challenges these times present, we also know that events like the Preakness Stakes can help restore our sense of place and economic well-being to our communities and state. As soon as we have further clarity on these matters we will inform all,u201d said the statement.

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Additionally, the governor is closing all Motor Vehicle Administration officers throughout the state and cancelling non-commercial driveru2019s license tests. As head of the National Association of Governors, Hogan is also asking the federal government to postpone the deadline for states to become compliant with the Real ID licenses.

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The Maryland Health Department is also looking at additional ways to test for COVID-19. The departmentu2019s Deputy Director Fran Phillips says they want to open up motor vehicle emission inspection sites to allow for drive-thru testing.

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u201cItu2019s a social distancing maneuver so that it doesnu2019t put the individual at risk or the healthcare worker who can effectively collect that specimen,u201d Phillips told reporters. u201cThe problem is with the test equipment themselves.u201d

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Phillips and Hogan emphasized that there arenu2019t enough tests to distribute.

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u201cRamping up the drive-thrus is a relatively easy part,u201d Hogan said. u201cItu2019s the back end of the house that needs to get up to speed with testing availability and labs being up to speed. A number of other states have tried and failed miserably and shut them down after a number of people crammed in there and couldnu2019t get the tests done.u201d–Dominique Maria Bonessi

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced further restrictions Tuesday to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the commonwealth.Steve Helber / AP Photo

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Virginia Gov. Mandates Businesses Limit Gatherings To 10 People

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This story was updated at 7:13 p.m.

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March 17, 11:42 a.m.: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed an order mandating the state’s restaurants, movie theaters and fitness centers to allow no more than 10 people to gather in their spaces at once.

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u201cIu2019m much more about carrots than I am sticks,u201d Northam said. u201cHopefully we wonu2019t get to the point where we have to do a lot of enforcement.u201d

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Businesses that violate the order may have their permit to operate suspended and face misdemeanor charges.

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Northam acknowledged that these changes will affect the lives of workers across the state. He said the Virginia Employment Commission would be waiving the one-week waiting period so that people who file for unemployment can start receiving benefits right away.

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Health officials in Virginia said as of Tuesday there are 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, but they acknowledge that testing for the disease has been limited. One of the new cases, confirmed Monday, is a patient in a long-term care facility.

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Officials also said there is now evidence of whatu2019s called u201ccommunity transmissionu201d: people who have the virus, but who have no known exposure to a confirmed case of the virus.

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Northam also strongly urged residents aged 65 and older to quarantine themselves. And he urged Virginians not to attend St. Patricku2019s Day celebrations on Tuesday night.

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u201cPublic health relies upon every individual making responsible decisions,u201d Northam said. —Jenny Gathright

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Tyrone Turner

D.C.’s Department of Corrections is expected to gain power to release more people from jail early in an attempt to curtail the spread of coronavirus.Tyrone Turner / WAMU

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To Prevent Spread Of Coronavirus, D.C. Moves To Keep Fewer People Locked Up For Minor Crimes

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March 17, 9 a.m.: Police and prosecutors in D.C. have been given more flexibility in deciding whether to issue a citation to someone accused of a minor crime instead of detaining them, and the cityu2019s Department of Corrections is expected to gain power to release more people from jail early.

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The two steps are part of an evolving response to how the coronavirus is impacting the criminal justice system. While most local court systems have postponed trials and jails and prisons have suspended in-person visits as a means to prevent the spread of the virus, defense attorneys and civil rights groups say more needs to be done to keep people charged with minor offenses out of court and jails to begin with.

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In a letter sent to D.C. officials last week, the Washington Lawyersu2019 Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs said the cityu2019s jail u2014 which holds roughly 1,800 inmates u2014 could be the center of a coronavirus outbreak u201cbecause of the close confinement of a large number of people, the high volume of intakes and discharges, and the large number of high-risk individuals.u201d

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u201cFor the safety of the prisoners, the staff and for the good of public safety, we urge the city to work urgently with court and federal partners to dramatically reduce the population in custody,u201d said the group.

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That could start happening soon. In an emergency order issued on Monday, D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin said that police and prosecutors will be able to decide whether to issue a citation to someone charged with a minor crime instead of detaining them pending their first court appearance.

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And as part of a broader emergency bill the D.C. Council is expected to pass on Tuesday, the Department of Corrections would be given additional discretion to give good-time credits to certain inmates serving sentences for certain offenses, allowing them to be released early.

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Some elected prosecutors across the country have gone further, though, saying that the elderly and infirm and anyone within six months of completing their sentence should be released from custody immediately. And in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, judges have already started releasing inmates as a means to address concerns that the coronavirus could spread quickly behind bars. u2014Martin Austermuhle

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March 16

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More updates from Monday

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Officials are asking bars and restaurants in Arlington to voluntarily close by 10 p.m. on Monday.Linh Nguyen / Flickr

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Arlington Officials Beg Bars And Restaurants To Close Dining Rooms

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March 16, 9:06 p.m.: Arlington County officials are imploring bar and restaurant owners to end dine-in service after leaders in Maryland and D.C. took similar steps.

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In a joint statement, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and County Manager Mark Schwartz called on Arlingtonu2019s food and drink establishments to voluntarily close their dining rooms for the time being by 10 p.m. Monday night.

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u201cWe thank all those that have already done so, but we plead with all our bars and restaurants that have not yet closed their dining rooms to [do so] u2026 and not reopen until we can all work out safe ways for patrons to be served in person,u201d the statement said. u201cOtherwise, we will likely be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and the health of everyone in Arlington will be in jeopardy.u201d

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Bars and restaurants are welcome to continue delivery and takeout services, officials said.

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Arlington County does not have the legal authority to force businesses to close. The county would need to win permission from the state to do so. —Ally Schweitzer

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Loudoun County Public Schools will remain closed until at least April 10.Dominique Maria Bonessi / WAMU

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Loudoun County Public Schools Close An Additional Three Weeks

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March 16, 8:27 p.m.:u00a0The superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools said the Northern Virginia school system will remain closed until at least April 10 — three weeks longer than officials initially planned.

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Superintendent Eric Williams said in a letter to families that itu2019s likely schools will remain shuttered u201cfor an additional six to twelve weeks from now or longer.u201d

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u201cWe appreciate that this possibility will have significant additional impacts on the students, staff and families who are part of our community, and we are working diligently to address those issues,u201d Williams said.

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The system also plans on purchasing 15,000 Chromebooks for students in third grade and beyond who do not already have a laptop issued by the district, Williams said. Families may be able to pick up the devices from campuses as early as next week.

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The Loudoun school district educates nearly 85,000 students in one of the wealthiest counties in the country. u2014Debbie Truong

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Electric, gas and water companies in Virginia will be prohibited from discontinuing services for nonpayment for 60 days starting March 16.Christopher Irwin / Flickr

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Virginia Power And Water Companies Blocked From Suspending Service During State of Emergency

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March 16, 7:26 p.m.:u00a0The State Corporation Commission of Virginia has blocked electric, gas and water companies from disconnecting their services for nonpayments over the next two months, following a plea for temporary clemency by state Attorney General Mark Herring.

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The move, which will last for 60 days beginning March 16, comes as companies and federal guidance are urging people to stay home as much as possible and practice good hygiene amid the coronavirus outbreak. Late fees will also be halted as long as Virginia is in a state of emergency.

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u201cVirginians should not have to worry about their utilities being disconnected while we are in the middle of a public health crisis, especially low-income Virginians or hourly wage earners whose income is most likely to be impacted by business closures and social distancing,u201d Herring said in a statement. Herring filed an emergency petition on Friday to freeze possible disconnections. Dominion Energy also said it would not cut offu00a0on services due to nonpayments during this time.

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Workers and experts alike had begun to express concerns over the financial well-being of people who may not be able to telework, like waiters and bartenders.

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The decision comes on the heels of mandatory closures of Maryland and D.C. gathering spots like gyms, spas and restaurants. —Alana Wise

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The exterior of United Medical Center in Ward 8.Pamela Seaton / Flickr

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Doctor At D.C.u2019s Public Hospital Tests Positive For The Coronavirus

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March 16, 6:54 p.m.:u00a0An emergency room doctor at United Medical Center in Ward 8 has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Washington Post reports. UMC is the cityu2019s only public hospital, and it serves D.C.u2019s lowest-income communities east of the Anacostia River. There is no other full-service hospital in this part of the city.

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Another doctor at the facility has been in self-quarantine since last week, when he began feeling ill and his wife tested positive for the virus after traveling abroad, the Post reports. That doctor is a gastroenterologist.

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UMC has faced a number of medical and management scandals in the past. The hospital also had to close its obstetrics unit, leaving many expectant mothers east of the river with few options for a closer hospital.

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There is a nursing home facility on one floor of UMC, which officials closed to outside visitation on Friday, per the Post. –Natalie Delgadillo

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President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the 141st White House Easter Egg Roll in 2019.Andrea Hanks / White House

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White House Cancels Annual Easter Egg Roll

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March 16, 5:00 p.m.:u00a0The White House has canceled its annual easter egg roll u201cout of an abundance of cautionu201d amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. The annual tradition dates back to 1878.

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u201cThe health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,u201d First Lady Melania Trump said in a statement. u201cI deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short-term to ensure a healthy country for the long-term.u201d

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The First Family was scheduled to host the event on Apr. 13 on the South Lawn. The White House Historical Society issued a message today alerting people that the commemorative wooden easter eggs typically given to children who attend the event will still be available online.

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This isnu2019t the first time the easter egg roll has been canceled, though it does appear to be the first time itu2019s been called off due to a health emergency. Years in which the tradition did not take place include 1918, 1943-1945, and 1946-1952. —Mikaela Lefrak

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The student is self-quarantining after their diagnosis.American University / Facebook

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American University Student Tests Positive For COVID-19

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March 16, 4:05 p.m.: An American University student is in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

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Dr. David Reitman, the medical director of the universityu2019s student health center, said Monday the student was isolated in a room on campus with a private bathroom after showing symptoms of the respiratory illness. Food and personal items are being delivered to the student.

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u201cWe know this is concerning news, but we extensively planned for this situation,u201d Reitman said in a university-wide email. u201cThe measures being implemented are supporting the health and safety of the student and our community.u201d

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The student traveled within the United States and returned to campus before the end of spring break, which ended Sunday. The studentu2019s previous room and nearby public areas were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, according to the university.

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Reitman said the D.C. health department completed an investigation and found the student did not have close contact with other people on campus.

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American University decided last week to end all in-person spring semester classes. All colleges and universities in the District have moved classes online to combat the spread of coronavirus.u00a0American University holds the license to WAMU. –Debbie Truong

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The transit agency has ordered extra cleaning and disinfecting of the building where the officer who has tested positive for COVID-19 worked.Mr.TinDC / Flickr

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A Metro Transit Police Officer Has Tested Positive For COVID-19

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Monday, 3:40 p.m.: A Metro Transit Police officer has tested positive for COVID-19. Metro is closing the police facility he worked at near the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and the officer is at home in Prince George’s County isolating himself, a spokesperson for the agency confirms.

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WTOP was the first to report the news.

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The officeru2019s last patrol occurred on Tuesday last week. By Saturday, he was exhibiting symptoms, says Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel. The officer took the test some time over the weekend, and on Monday, Metro received notification of the positive result.

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In addition to his patrol on Tuesday, the officer attended a union meeting on Wednesday where seven other members of the police union were present in the closed room for two hours, Stessel says. Those seven people have been told to self-quarantine.

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On his last day of patrols, the officer did not make any arrests, Stessel says. In the days preceding, he handled three calls for service, including a medical call at Metro Center responding to a sick passenger, per Stessel. Itu2019s still unclear how close the officer got to the passenger, or what the passengeru2019s symptoms were.

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The police station near Franconia-Springfield is a freestanding facilitiy, and is not physically connected to the Metro station, Stessel says.u00a0The transit agency has ordered extra cleaning and disinfecting of the building where the officer worked.

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Stessel says that Metro is currently considering options to further reduce service in order to reduce the number of employees that have to travel out to the city to run the buses and trains and work in stations. –Natalie Delgadillo

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These planes were part of an air show at Joint Andrews Base, where a public health emergency was issued on Monday.Elvert Barnes / Flickr

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Joint Base Andrews Issues Public Health Emergency

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March 16, 3:10 p.m.:u00a0Joint Base Andrews in Prince Georgeu2019s County Maryland issued a public health emergency for the base on Monday afternoon, effective immediately, due to the evolving threat of COVID-19.

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u201cDeclaring a public health emergency on Joint Base Andrews allows us a proactive approach to protect the safety and health of our Airmen and the surrounding community,u201d said Col. Andrew Purath, the commander of the 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews. u201cOur top priority remains mitigating the effects and potential spread of this coronavirus.u201d

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A declaration of a public health emergency on a military installation gives the base commander broad authority to take protective measures like limiting or restricting base access and movement, and limiting services. Joint Base Andrews is widely known for serving as the home base of Air Force One aircraft.

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The order will remain in place for 30 days but can be terminated or extended at any time.

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On March 17 at 11 a.m., Purath and his command chief will hold a Facebook Live question-and-answer session to address concerns around COVID-19. The live stream can be accessed on the Joint Base Andrews Facebook page.

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A presumptive COVID-19 case of a military retiree dependent in the Joint Base Andrews community was reported last week. The patient in question is in self-quarantine at their home in Charles County, Md. u2014Victoria Chamberlin

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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, seen here speaking on March 7, has joined Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in asking the president to make the capital region a priority testing area for coronavirus cases.Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

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D.C., Maryland, And Virginia Leaders Ask For Federal Testing Support

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March 16, 1:35 p.m: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan are asking President Donald Trump to add the National Capital Region to the list of priority locations for COVID-19 testing.

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The three signed a letter noting that federally-supported sites will be established in Boston, New York City, Seattle and other cities u2014 but not the D.C. region, which is home to more than 6 million residents and the seat of the federal government.

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u201cThe health of the National Capital Region is a top priority for the continuity of our democratic government,u201d the three leaders write. They say their state health departments are working across borders to find sites for drive-through testing sites they could launch with federal support.

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Some in the region are not waiting to set up drive-through testing; NPRu2019s Sarah McCammon reported, the health care non-profit Sentara set up three sites in southern Virginia after the number of COVID-19 cases there quickly rose.u00a0–Daniella Cheslow

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A woman places her purse at her feet as she prepares to vote at a polling place, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Silver Spring, Md.Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

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Montgomery County Voters Asked To Request Absentee Ballots

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March 16, 11:30 a.m.: Voters in Montgomery County are being urged to request an absentee ballot for the stateu2019s April 28 primary, a step the Board of Elections says will u201cpromote social distancing.u201d

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The push comes as a number of states with upcoming primaries are struggling with how to allow voters to cast ballots while not crowding them into polling places all at once, especially given new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that events with more than 50 people be canceled for the next eight weeks.

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Late last week, Louisiana announced it was postponing its presidential primary, which was originally scheduled for April 4. It will now happen on June 20. Georgia will also delay its March 24 primary. Arizona, Illinois, Florida, and Ohio all have their primaries on March 17, and all have said they will happen according to schedule.

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Election officials regularly prepare for natural disasters and other incidents that could disrupt voting, but there is little in recent history to compare to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, election experts say states that have no-excuse absentee voting u2014 like D.C. and Maryland u2014 will be better suited to adapt by allowing voters to request and mail in their ballots.

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In a statement earlier this month, the Maryland State Board of Elections said it will continue to discuss with federal officials and u201cwill institute any appropriate safeguards to minimize the risk for voters and election workers.u201d It also encouraged voters to request absentee ballots. The deadline to get an absentee ballot is April 5. u2014Martin Austermuhle

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The university also will shutter its residence halls and move class completely online for the remainder of the semester.Tyrone Turner / WAMU

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Howard University Cancels Commencement

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March 16, 11:25 a.m.: Howard University is cancelling its commencement ceremony, the university said Monday morning as part of a series of updates about the impacts of coronavirus on the school.

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Howard officials said they based their decision on new Centers for Disease Control recommendations barring gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. u201cGiven that Howardu2019s Commencement activities garner crowds of thousands, and the numerous elders and children regularly in attendance, we will cancel the event to avoid the potential for additional virus spread which would be problematic,u201d the university said. The commencement was scheduled for May 9.

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The historically black university announced that an attendee at the Howard University Charter Day Dinner on March 7 has since tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and encouraged anyone who attended the event to call a doctor if they begin experiencing flu-like symptoms. u201cWe are working closely with the [D.C. Health Department] and have been advised that the chances of contracting the virus are low,u201d Howard said in a statement.

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Additionally, the university is moving officially to online-only courses for the duration of the spring semester. While Howard, like all D.C. universities, was already holding its classes online, the administration previously characterized the move to remote instruction as temporary. Now, students have been told that face-to-face instruction will not return for the rest of the semester.

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Howard is closing its residence halls on Sunday, March 22. In its statement, the university says it will consider pro-rated refunds of room and board charges based on a variety of factors, including federal aid guidelines, unpaid balances, and more. Students who left their belongings in residence halls during spring break are encouraged to schedule a time to move out later rather than return to campus.u00a0u2014Rachel Kurzius
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Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will remain open.IntangibleArts / Flickr

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Businesses In Maryland Ordered To Close

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March 16, 11:20 a.m.: All restaurants, bars, gyms and movie theaters across Maryland have been ordered to close Monday at 5 p.m. The directive came down from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) during a news conference Monday morning.

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Itu2019s unclear how long the order will remain in effect, but the move is another in a string of actions by officials attempting to stem the rise of coronavirus cases in the state. u201cItu2019s impossible to know how long this threat will continue,u201d Hogan said.

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Drive-through restaurants, carryout and food delivery are exempt from the executive order, as are essential services including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks.

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The governor also announced protections for tenants who may be facing cost burdens during the pandemic.

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Evictions will be banned temporarily during Maryland’s state of emergency. Enforcement of utility shutoffs due to nonpayment will also be put on hold. u2014Ally Schweitzer
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A physician and a patient at Children’s National have tested positive for the coronavirus.Daniel Lobo / Flickr

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Physician At Childrenu2019s National Hospital Tests Positive For COVID-19

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March 16, 10:55 a.m.: A physician at Childrenu2019s National Hospital has tested positive for COVID-19, the medical facility announced on Monday.

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The hospital on Michigan Ave. NW declined to identify the physician, citing privacy laws, but pledged to communicate with staff and patients who might have had direct contact with the person in question.

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Additionally, Childrenu2019s National Hospital announced that one of its patients tested positive for COVID-19, noting that it was able to test the patient thanks to its additional testing capabilities.

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u201cThe [Emergency Department] followed all infection control protocols to protect other patients, families, and staff, and the child did not need to be admitted,u201d the hospital said in a statement. u201cToday we remain ready to serve the families who rely on us.u201d

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As of Sunday night, D.C. had 17 positive cases of COVID-19, per data released by the city. It is unclear if the hospitalu2019s announced positive tests are already reflected in the data or represent new cases.u00a0u2014Rachel Kurzius

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This story has been updated to include more information on Dominion Energy’s coronavirus response, and to update Safeway’s hours of operation.

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For more on how coronavirus has impacted the D.C. region, see these updates from the week of March 10-15.

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With coronavirus cases rising in the D.C. region, here are the latest stories.

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A third reduction in service may be on the way.

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Nightclubs will have to close and bars and restaurants in D.C. will face new restrictions on how they serve their customers as part of an effort by Mayor Muriel Bowser to curtail opportunities for groups of people to congregate during the spreading coronavirus pandemic.

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Under the new guidelines, bars and restaurants will have to comply with the existing ban on gatherings of 250 or more people, which was imposed on Friday. But they will have to go further: they will have to suspend the use of bar seating, will not be allowed to serve drinks to anyone who is standing, limit table seating to six people or less, and ensure that tables and booths are at least six feet away from each other.

n

Nightclubs and multi-purpose facilities, on the other hand, will have to close during the ongoing state of emergency. That definition of u201cnightclubu201d is broad enough u2014u00a0 a place that serves alcohol, allows musical performances and dancing u2014 to include everything from sizable music venues like the 9:30 Club (which has already suspended performances) to neighborhood mainstays like Columbia Heightsu2019 Wonderland Ballroom.

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[For the latest coronavirus updates, see here.]

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The new restrictions u2014 which were announced on Sunday afternoon u2014 fall short of across-the-board closures or limits on operating hours, showing the delicate balance that D.C. officials are trying to maintain in encouraging people to keep their distance from each other while not fully shutting down an industry that provides revenue to the city and jobs to many residents.

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And the new restrictions come after a weekend where many D.C. residents took advantage of the warm weather and flocked to bars and restaurants, largely ignoring guidance from city officials that they practice social distancing, or staying away from other people. Health experts say that distancing is needed to u201cflatten the curve,u201d limiting the possibility of exponential growth of new coronavirus cases.

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u201cI was walking home and I have to pass by the Wonderland [Ballroom] and it was packed, completely packed,u201d said Claudine Hellmuth, a Columbia Heights resident about what she witnessed Friday evening. u201cAnd the Metro was even quiet. It seemed so much in contrast to what I was just experiencing on my trip home to pass by this place where it was standing room only. They were having a great time, it looked like a regular summer evening, not where weu2019ve all been told that the plague is coming and we have to socially distance ourselves. It was really weird, and I found it really upsetting.u201d

n

u2018You Can Drink At Homeu2019

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Bars and restaurants along the popular 14th Street strip were similarly busy on Friday and Saturday, as were other hot spots across the city. A long line snaked around the Sauf Haus Bier Hall in Dupont Circle on Saturday afternoon, and a user of the popular Instagram account We The People posted a picture of their brunch at Commissary in Logan Circle u2014 including a joke that they were practicing social distancing by not clinking their glasses. That prompted a barrage of angry comments.

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u201cPlease stay home so that more people survive this. You can drink at home,u201d said one commenter. u201cThis is also the opposite of social distancing. What part of u2018distancingu2019 is difficult to grasp?u201d came another.

n

But some bars and restaurants have taken steps to address concerns over social distancing. Local chain Busboys & Poets said it was increasing cleaning of its restaurants, offering paperless menus and moving tables away from each other. Some have opted to go all-delivery.u00a0Dacha, a large and popular beer garden in Shaw and Navy Yard, said it remained open u2014 but was limiting entry on Saturday night to remain in compliance with the cityu2019s 250-person ban.

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[For more on how bars and restaurants are changing operations, see here.]

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All Souls, a bar in Shaw, posted a sign saying that it was u201cclosed for social distancing,u201d as did Bloomingdaleu2019s Showtime and The Pug on H Street NE said it would also close.u00a0(Little Miss Whiskeyu2019s on H Street went in the opposite direction, posting on Instagram that it was u201cpredicated on freedom of choiceu201d and would remain open.) And Tail Up Goat in Adams Morgan urged Bowser to close all bars and restaurants, saying on Instagramu00a0that u201cto stay open any longer would further jeopardize the health of our staff and our guests.”

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At U Streetu2019s The Brixton, patrons waiting in line had the chance to either wash their hands in a small sink at the door or have them sprayed with sanitizer. The bar said it was also wiping down surfaces every 30 minutes and asking people to wash their hands often. Carissa Gambo, the assistant general manager, said the effort was a means to balance keeping people safe while also letting the baru2019s staff make a living.

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u201cWe have a lot of staff here that their livelihood depends on making money, so itu2019s from that standpoint we want to make sure our staff gets the money that they need, and from a community standpoint we want to be open for the community because, you know, people still want to go get drunk,u201d she said.

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A Hit To The Industry u2014 And City

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Bar and restaurants already operate on thin profit margins, and many workers have said they are concerned about what will happen with a downturn in business because of the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, many of the workers are tipped employees with limited access to paid time off, meaning that for every hour they canu2019t work, itu2019s an hour of pay they wonu2019t get.

n

More broadly, D.C.u2019s reliance on sales tax revenue also means that as businesses are hit, so too are city coffers. Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs in D.C. sustain some 65,000 jobs and bring in more than $7 billion in annual revenue, according to a recent report from the Mayoru2019s Office of Nightlife and Culture.

n

Still, the messaging on social distancing has been vague and inconsistent. Though D.C. imposed the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people on Friday and city officials urged residents to stay home, they waffled on what bars and restaurants should do to comply. And Gambo says younger residents are still convinced the coronavirus and COVID-19, the illness it causes, wonu2019t impact them.

n

u201c[On Friday night] we were way, way less busy than we normally are, which is understandable. But I also was noticing people were just like, u2018Oh, itu2019s fine.u2019 The 25-to-35 age group, theyu2019re like, u2018Oh, itu2019s good. Itu2019s not gonna get us, not going to worry about it. Weu2019re still gonna go out and have fun.u2019 And we got a couple posts on our Facebook saying, u2018Please stay open, weu2019re gonna come out.’u201d

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Growing Calls For Further Restrictions

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But local and national officials seem to be growing more and more concerned that Americans are not taking the threat of the coronavirus seriously enough, and that many are carrying on with their normal lives. Speaking on CNN on Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said he would u201clike to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we seeu201d at places like bars and restaurants.

n

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who on Sunday closed the stateu2019s race tracks and casinos, was critical of bars and restaurants that were operating the way they would on any normal weekend u2014 and the patrons going there. u201cAnyone who hosts or is part of the crowds in bars this weekend is jeopardizing the health of others and must avoid any contact with family members or friends over the age of 60 or those with underlying health conditions,u201d he tweeted.

n

France, which is facing a widespread coronavirus pandemic, took the step this week of fully shuttering bars, cafes and restaurants, after initially not doing so. And in states likeu00a0Illinois, officials are considering temporary closures to stem the spread of the virus. And on Sunday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh imposed his own restrictions, requiring all bars and restaurant to close by 11 p.m., cutting their occupancy by 50% and prohibiting lines outside the door. In Ohio, bars and restaurants are being ordered closed.

n

Additional reporting was provided by Jenny Gathright and Carmel Delshad. This story was updated to clarify that a line was for the Sauf Haus Bier Hall, not Shake Shack.u00a0

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The decision comes after a weekend when many bars and restaurants were crowded with patrons, despite calls from D.C. officials for social distancing to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

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Bouncer Courtney Reed sprays hand sanitizer or offers a sink to patrons entering the Brixton on St. Patrick’s Day.

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coronavirus.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/15/d-c-closes-clubs-puts-restrictions-on-bars-and-restaurants-to-prevent-spread-of-coronavirus/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200314170419999_COVER-1024x768.jpg","width":1024,"height":768},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834267,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/15/d-c-area-churches-take-a-wide-variety-of-approaches-to-social-distancing/","title":"D.C.-Area Churches Take A Wide Variety Of Approaches To Social Distancing","content":"

Reverend Dr. James E. Victor gazed Sunday at sparsely filled pews at the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, where ushers wore blue protective gloves. Two hand sanitizer stations stood in the lobby. The reverend urged those in attendance not to be afraid.

n

u201cWe ought not be so intimidated by a little virus with a crown, when weu2019ve got a God who has many crowns,u201d Victor said. u201cWho will help us? The Lord who made heaven and earth.u201d

n

Victor called the worshipers to the altar, saying u201cTo those of you who are not comfortable being that close to other individuals, we invite you to stay in your pews. For those who come we ask you to lock arms rather than touch hands, and sanitize your hands when weu2019re finished.u201d

n

Dozens of people, many of them older congregants, heeded his call and stood with their arms intertwined to hear the prayer.

n

u201cBecause people of faith often need to gather in times of crisis and to convene in community, the decision not to have church was never really on the forefront of my decision making,u201d Victor said.

n

Houses of worship across the country and in the D.C. area sought to strike a balance between fostering community while avoiding the spread of a deadly disease. Local Episcopal and Catholic churches scrapped their usual Sunday morning services, events and activities for at least two weeks. Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Fairfax County suspended Friday prayers for the first time that anyone can remember.

n

Other religious services did continue, albeit with special provisions. A bar mitzvah took place Saturday at Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Maryland, but attendance was limited to 30 people.

n

Elsewhere, the Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church said it canceled school, but the priest still planned to use one spoon to distribute wine from a common chalice.

n

A Unitarian church in Arlington was among those cancelling but services for the public but live-streaming them instead.

n

These decisions about how to worship as a community come as churches have proven to be a particular risk for spreading disease. The first known case of coronavirus in Washington, D.C. was the rector of Christ Church Georgetown; later, a Loudoun County resident tested positive after attending that church. The city of Alexandria warned that a D.C. resident confirmed to have COVID-19 spent time at the Immanuel Chapel at the Virginia Theological Seminary.

n

Maryland and D.C. have already banned meetings of 250 or more people, and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland announced it would close its churches, according to the Baltimore Sun. The Archdiocese of Washington D.C. canceled schools and Mass beginning March 14.

n

Midday on Sunday, Virginia Gov. Northam announced a ban on public gatherings of 100 or more people.

n

u201cThis is a very fluid and dynamic situation. We have not mandated a quarantine, but we are strongly encouraging and urging people to avoid public gatherings of any kind,u201d Northam said.

n

Some religious leaders have said they are frustrated by a lack of clear guidance. u201cFrom an Islamic perspective, Friday prayers canu2019t happen digitally,u201d Saif Rahman, the director of public and government affairs, told DCist on Friday. u201cIn order to suspend a command of God to perform a specific prayer, you need an imminent risk or a directive from an official.u201d

n

Arlington County declared a state of emergency Saturday, and Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey sent religious leaders a note advising each community to decide for itself whether to continue meeting. She urged leaders to take steps to reduce contagion u201cby increasing the physical distance between attendees, identify sick attendees, provide soap, hand sanitizer, tissues and trash baskets to throw them in, increase ventilation and clean frequently touched services.u201d

n

Blanche Watson was one of the worshippers Sunday at Mount Olive Baptist Church. Watson, 70, is an administrator at Fairfax County Public Schools, which has closed its doors in light of the public health crisis. Watson said she, too, has changed her behavior by stocking up on food and keeping mostly at home.

n

u201cI only go out now when itu2019s absolutely necessary,u201d she said. Asked whether church was absolutely necessary, Watson said, u201cI donu2019t think itu2019s a necessity because I can praise God at any place but I enjoy coming to the church. I enjoy my pastor Reverend Victoru2019s sermons, the warmth and love in the church.u201d

n

In the Saint Katherineu2019s Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church, Father Konstantinos Pavlakos said he was following every precaution from the civil authorities, including telling his community to wash their hands, avoid greeting each other with a kiss, and refrain from kissing icons. Still, Pavlakos said the church would continue to share a spoon for distributing Eucharistic wine.

n

u201cItu2019s one chalice, thereu2019s a spoon u2026 and people receive from the spoon,u201d he said. u201cAnd at the end of the services, whatever is left, the clergy consumes.u201d

n

Asked if that was best practice during the current outbreak, Pavlakos replied that his church has kept the same ritual for its entire history.

n

u201cWe had SARS, swine flu, weu2019ve gone through the plagues,u201d Pavlakos said. u201cWeu2019ve never lost a priest or a parishioner. I donu2019t see why this would be any different for 2,000 years of history, why it would change today.u201d

n

Rev. Terasa Cooley, the interim senior minister at Arlingtonu2019s Unitarian Universalist Church, took a different approach. She said she decided Thursday to cancel in-person services and move them online.

n

u201cWe have quite a number of elderly people,u201d she said. u201cBut also, we feel we have an obligation to our wider culture, to our communities not to create circumstances where people might be exposed. Even if they recover u2026there is a possibility of them taking it with them and infecting other people.u201d

n

For Sundayu2019s service, Cooley said she recorded ahead of time to incorporate videos from guests who were supposed to speak. She stood in her church and delivered the service to a video camera and rows of empty pews.

n

u201cIt was lonely,u201d she said. u201cOne of the ways in which you really get your energy as a minister is to see the people you care about and feed off her energy.u201d

n

To counter the feeling, Cooley said she envisioned the people who needed the connection. She is looking for ways to knit her community together remotely, including with daily meditation videos and small groups that can meet together via videoconferencing.

n

Arlington lawyer Amy Shepherd, 48, tuned in. u201cWe saw our ministerial assistant in his house doing the story for the kids of all ages, which the kids loved, because there was a cat on the table,u201d she said.

n

Shepherd was surprised at how much she liked it, too.

n

u201cIt wonu2019t ever fully replace in-person meetings, but I think in this time, as one of the speakers said, donu2019t think of it as social distancing,u201d she said. u201cThink about it as community care.u201d

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Many religious services across the region were canceled this weekend, and some relied on reaching congregants through a live video stream instead. But others chose to forge ahead.

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Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington held services on Sunday, March 15.

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But others chose to forge ahead. rn","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/15/d-c-area-churches-take-a-wide-variety-of-approaches-to-social-distancing/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/P1400388-1024x769.jpg","width":1024,"height":769},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834238,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/15/jose-andres-is-turning-his-restaurants-into-community-kitchens-during-coronavirus-pandemic/","title":"Josu00e9 Andru00e9s Is Turning His Restaurants Into Community Kitchens During Coronavirus Pandemic","content":"

ThinkFoodGroup, the restaurant group founded by Josu00e9 Andru00e9s, announced Sunday that it is closing all of its D.C.-area restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the restaurants will be converted into community kitchens, according to a release from the company, that will offer u201caffordable plates of the dayu201d for takeout.

n

[For the latest updates on coronavirus in the D.C. area, see here.]

n

Participating restaurants include Oyamel, Zaytinya, and three D.C.-area Jaleo locations. Andru00e9su2019 New York market Mercado Little Spain will also operate a community kitchen. Restaurant employees will receive paid leave and health benefits u201cfor at least the first two weeks,u201d according to a release.

n

The chef and humanitarianu2019s fast-casual chain Beefsteak, meanwhile, remains in operation but withu00a0delivery only. The D.C. food truck Pepe will remain in operation as usual.

n

u201cWe are in a serious global emergency and people need to take every precaution, including staying home as much as possible,u201d Andru00e9s said in the release. u201cHowever, we also want to help provide food for those who want it in a safe manner, so we feel these community kitchens can help during this challenging time. And those who cannot afford to pay we will welcome as well.”

n

The announcement came shortly before Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a notice to D.C. bars ordering them to suspend service at the bar and to standing patrons, and to arrange seating to keep patrons six feet apart, per the guidance of the D.C. Health department. Restaurants and bars are among the local businesses scrambling to abide by local regulations while staying afloat financially. Some have introduced delivery options and upped their cleaning efforts. ThinkFoodGroup spots are far from the only local businesses responding to the pandemic. Others, includingu00a0Momofuku, Fiola, and others have announced they’re closing temporarily.

n

[For a full list of restaurants that are changing the way they operate, see here.]

n

The ThinkFoodGroup community kitchens will open on Tuesday. Here’s the status of the restaurants:

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  • America Eats Tavern, Georgetown: A community kitchen will operate from the back upstairs patio.
  • n
  • China Chilcano, Penn Quarter: Due to the lack of outdoor space at the restaurant, a community kitchen will not be available.
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  • Jaleo, Bethesda: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • n
  • Jaleo, Crystal City: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • n
  • Jaleo, Penn Quarter: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • n
  • minibar and barmini, Penn Quarter: The restaurant and bar both closed following the end of service on March 14. A community kitchen will not be available. Guests with existing reservations will be contacted to rebook, and deposits will be refunded.
  • n
  • Oyamel, Penn Quarter: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • n
  • Zaytinya, Penn Quarter: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • n
n
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Andru00e9s and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen have servedu00a0hundreds of thousandsu00a0of meals to communities affected by natural disasters, including in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and in California during the Camp Fire. Most recently, the group was feeding passengers and crewu00a0aboard a Japanese cruise shipu00a0quarantined amid a coronavirus outbreak. World Central Kitchen last conducted a community feeding in D.C. during the partial federal government shutdown in 2019,u00a0offering free mealsu00a0to furloughed workers.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

They will offer “affordable plates of the day” for takeout.

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Chef and restaurant owner Josu00e9 Andru00e9s announced Sunday he will turn some of his area restaurants into community kitchens.

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Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"They will offer "affordable plates of the day" for takeout.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/15/jose-andres-is-turning-his-restaurants-into-community-kitchens-during-coronavirus-pandemic/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/ap-jose-andres-1024x683.jpg","width":1024,"height":683},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4834143,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/14/blood-donation-is-safe-hospitals-make-plea-for-donations-during-coronavirus-outbreak/","title":"u2018Blood Donation Is Safeu2019: Hospitals Make Plea For Donations During Coronavirus Outbreak","content":"

All the waiting room seats at Childrenu2019s National Hospitalu2019s blood donation center were open on Friday morning. Other than a hospital staffer donating during a lull in his shift, I was the only person there.

n

u201cAre you feeling healthy and well today?u201d a nurse asked me. Yes, I was. She took my temperature u2014 normal.

n

She also asked me to look over an information sheet about coronavirus. Since I havenu2019t been diagnosed with a coronavirus infection, donu2019t live with someone diagnosed or suspected of having an infection and havenu2019t traveled to an area with an outbreak, I was good to go.

n

Well, almost. Turns out I couldnu2019t donate blood because Iu2019ve gotten au00a0tattoo in the past year.

n

The nurse and I were visibly disappointed. Blood donations have plummeted across the country over the past week, as schools, offices and other sites that typically host blood drives shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. People practicing u201csocial distancingu201d are cancelling appointments at hospitals and blood donation centers.

n

Donations are down by 18,000 units over the past four days at American Red Cross donation centers nationwide.u00a0On March 16, the Red Cross announced that it would give blood donors $10 gift certificates for donating before the end of the month.

n

While there is often a drop in blood donations around the holidays and during cold and flu season, u201cthis is beyond that,u201d says Regina Boothe Bratton with the American Red Cross. She says several hundred blood drives have been cancelled across the country during the past week.

n

[For the latest coronavirus coverage, get live updates here.]

n

The situation is similar at INOVA Blood Donor Services, the organization that supplies blood to INOVA hospitals in the Washington region and Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

n

u201cOur inventory is currently at about 60% of where it should be,u201d says Terri Craddock, INOVAu2019s senior director of blood services. Many blood drives have been cancelled in the last 48 hours as school systems close and people turn to telework.

n

u201cItu2019s definitely scary, and we really need people to donate blood,u201d Craddock says.

n

Individuals are not at risk of contracting coronavirusu00a0through the blood donation process or through blood transfusion,u00a0according to AABB, a nonprofit that represents the blood transfusion field.

n

To ease the publicu2019s concerns, the Red Cross and other blood donation services take potential donorsu2019 temperature at the beginning of all appointments. They also disinfect hard surfaces and have hand sanitizer at the ready.

n

But as the blood supply continues to fall, some doctors and health practitioners have begun discussing mitigation plans, including postponing elective procedures or surgeries that typically require high amounts of blood transfusions.

n

u201cWeu2019re scrutinizing every blood transfusion that we do to ensure that those who are in greatest need get what they need,u201d Craddock says. INOVA has not formalized any mitigation plans yet, but she did confirm that conversations are taking place.

n

u201cEverything is being closely scrutinized,u201d echoes Dr. Meghan Delaney, the chief of pathology and lab medicine and the director of transfusion medicine at Childrenu2019s Hospital. However, the lower-than-normal blood supply isnu2019t the only reason that elective surgeries could start getting postponed: She says staffing concerns and patients not wanting a surgery at this time could also contribute.

n

For healthy people looking for a way to help out during the pandemic, donating blood at a hospital or donation center could be a quick and easy way to contribute. u201cWe need healthy individuals to donate,u201d Bratton with the Red Cross says. u201cAlthough systems shut down and schools shut down, patients do not get a break in this type of emergency. Health care does not stop.u201d

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Some efforts to increase donations appear to be working. Childrenu2019s Hospital recently put out a call to employees to donate blood, and enough people responded that one nurse at the blood donation center said theyu2019re doing u201cbooming business.u201d

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u201cI donu2019t want people to be alarmed or afraid,u201d Delaney says. u201cBlood donation is safe.u201d

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This story was updated to include information about the Red Crossu2019s new gift certificate offer. Itu00a0originally appeared on WAMU.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Blood donations have plummeted across the country over the past week, as schools, offices and other sites that typically host drives shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.

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The Red Cross reports that several hundred blood drives across the country have been cancelled in the past week due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

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past week, as schools, offices and other sites that typically host drives shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/14/blood-donation-is-safe-hospitals-make-plea-for-donations-during-coronavirus-outbreak/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/blooddonation-1024x683.jpeg","width":1024,"height":683},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"},"provider":{"term_id":41688,"name":"WAMU","slug":"wamu","term_group":0,"term_taxonomy_id":41688,"taxonomy":"wamu_provider","description":"","parent":0,"count":644,"filter":"raw","permalink":"https://dcist.com/provider/wamu/"}},{"ID":4834218,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/15/these-businesses-are-offering-free-meals-to-kids-and-seniors-during-coronavirus-shutdowns/","title":"These Businesses Are Offering Free Meals To Kids And Seniors During Coronavirus Shutdowns","content":"

For at least the next two weeks, many students in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia won’t be showing up to classes as usual. State and local officials announced last week that all public schools in the region will be closed to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

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Local governments are organizing places for students who depend on free lunches during the school day to get foodu2014D.C. has announced 16 locations (kids don’t have to be D.C. Public Schools students to eat), Fairfax County has publicized 18 locations for both breakfast and lunch,u00a0Prince Georgeu2019s County has nine locations for lunches, and other jurisdictions are working on finalizing their plans.

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[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in our regionu00a0here.]

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It’s not just students who will be impacted by widespread closures of government facilities. For elderly people who rely on the D.C. Department of Aging and Community Living’s community dining sites, those locations will shift to meal pick-up starting on March 16 through the end of the month.

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In addition to the work from the public sector, some restaurants are also stepping up to provide assistance to both students and the elderly population. Here’s the rundown:

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  • Good Company Doughnuts and Cafe:u00a0The Arlington cafe is offering a free meal off the kids menu (plus a doughnut!) to school-aged children from Monday through Friday, as long as Arlington schools are not open. Additionally, the cafe is offering free delivery to seniors who order purchases above $20.
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  • Bayou Bakery: Chef David Gaus is serving grab-and-gou00a0vegetarian lunches to Arlington County students and their families every weekday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. until schools reopen.
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  • Good Stuff Eatery / We, The Pizza / Santa Rosa Taqueria: The restaurants in Spike Mendelsohn’s food group, which have outposts in D.C. and Northern Virginia, are offering free food for kids while schools are closed, as long as they’re with an adult who buys a full meal. (There’s a two-kid limit for the offer.)
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  • Hook Hall:u00a0The giant space in Park Viewu00a0has launched a widespread program to offer assistance to hospitality workers impacted by the cascade of cancellations and closures,u00a0including professional development programming, employment services information, and free meals. Hook Hall is also partnering with Kellogg’s to provide 150 meals each day for breakfast (8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and dinner (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.) Monday through Sunday, starting on March 23. Other family-focused programming begins on March 16.
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  • Little Miner Taco:u00a0The Brentwood, Md. eatery is offering one meal off the kids menu daily for DCPS or Maryland students as long as their schools remain closed.
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  • Medium Rare:u00a0The steak restaurant is delivering dinner to any local person over 70 who is quarantined, whether it’s a self-quarantine or they were mandated by a health official, with the help of volunteer drivers. Medium Rare appears to have been somewhat flexible about the age cutoff, depending on need.
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  • Milk and Honey:u00a0Milked, LLC, owner of the popular cafe, is offering free breakfast to homebound students at its Bowie, College Park, and H Street NE locations. Meals includeu00a0cereal, waffles, pancakes, and fresh fruit, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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  • Po Boy Jim: Sou00a0long as D.C. schools are shuttered, this H Street NE Cajun restaurant is offering free meals off its kids menu.
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  • Rasa: The fast casual Indian restaurant in Navy Yard is offering free take-out meals for all school children under the age of 18, hospital workers who can provide a valid ID, and its own staffers and their families.
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  • Succotash: This southern cuisine restaurant in Penn Quarter is offering free dinner for those in the hospitality industry who have been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours or pay. It’s available between 5 and 8 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. Limit two meals per person.
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  • Think Food Group Restaurants:u00a0The Josu00e9 Andru00e9s-helmed business is closing all of its D.C.-area restaurants. Many of the locations are being converted into community kitchens providingu00a0u201caffordable plates of the dayu201d for takeoutu2014Andru00e9s said in a release that “those who cannot afford to pay we will welcome as well.” The forthcoming community kitchens open on March 17 at America Eats Tavern, Oyamel, Zaytinya, and the three local Jaleo outposts.
  • n
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Many restaurants have shifted to delivery-only business or opted to temporarily close their doors.

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This story has been updated with additional offers.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

In addition to the outposts local governments are organizing.

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The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

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Metro will reduce Metrorail and Metrobus services as the regionu2019s response to the coronavirus outbreak continues to ramp up.

n

Starting March 16, trains on all lines will operate every 12 minutes on weekdays. Thatu2019s comparable to train frequencies on Saturdays, which will stay at that frequency. Sunday schedules will also remain unchanged, with trains every 15 minutes.

n

The systemu2019s hours wonu2019t change. Metrorail will remain open on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

n

[For the latest coronavirus updates, seeu00a0here.]

n

Metrobuses will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule on weekdays. MetroAccess will continue to operate during the hours that the system remains open.

n

The service changes are part of Metrou2019s implementation of Phase 3 of its pandemic response plan.

n

u201cPhase 3 is the highest level of response and will include all subsequent mitigation steps required during the public health emergency. Metro expects to be at Phase 3 until further notice,u201d the agency said in a statement.

n

But that doesnu2019t mean that further changes wonu2019t occur as the pandemic develops.

n

u201cThat doesnu2019t mean that we wonu2019t take further mitigations. In fact, we likely will as we move along through this emergency together,u201d said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. u201cThat could mean a further reduction in service based on ridership, if thereu2019s no sense in putting employees out on the system needlessly, or it could be the result of a higher rate of employee absence, where we just donu2019t have enough to provide certain levels of service.u201d

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The agency says the move to Phase 3 will increase its ability to thoroughly clean buses, rail cars and facilities.

n

Metrou2019s Rush Hour Promise has been paused until normal service returns.

n

Metro is asking riders, especially those using the MetroAccess service, not to use the system if theyu2019re feeling sick.

n

u201cIF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL, DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Call your healthcare provider before you leave your home and follow their guidance,u201d Metrou2019s statement reads.

n

In addition to the reduction in service, Metro also announced that its administrative employees will be required to work from home. It also plans to put in place remote work assignments for employees whose job functions are not critical to bus or train operations.

n

As for essential employees in the Rail Operations Command Center (ROCC), who keep track of system-wide operations: theyu2019ll now run the system from two separate locations, to cut down on person-to-person contact.

n

u201cOperation of the rail system will alternate between two control centers, allowing downtime for disinfecting keyboards, headsets, microphones, screens and other critical equipment in the control center,u201d Metrou2019s statement says.

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Visitors are banned from ROCC, and from Metro headquarters at the Jackson Graham Building. Public meetings there are also canceled.

n

These changes come a day after Metro officials updated the agencyu2019s Executive Board on the steps the agency was taking to respond to the coronavirus presence in the region.

n

u201cWe want to provide the service. I think we need to provide the service for the region u2026 I donu2019t envision shutting down the system,u201d General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said at the time.

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Since the meeting, though, area school systems, cultural institutions and offices have closed. More workers in the region are being told to work from home for the next several weeks, as offices attempt to follow public health officialsu2019 calls for u201csocial distancing.u201d

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Wednesday was the first day where there was a noticeable drop-off in daily ridership, compared to a comparable day a week ago. Thereu2019s been about a 100,000 drop in ridership from last Wednesday to this Wednesday, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said on Thursday.

n

Metrou2019s pandemic task force has been meeting regularly for more than a month, and it has escalated the agencyu2019s level of alert quickly in the last week.u00a0Last Friday, after the regionu2019s first positive coronavirus cases were confirmed, Metro announced it would implement Phase 2 of the response plan, which included giving frontline bus operators hand sanitizer, suspending all non-essential employee travel, and increasing monitoring of the volume of employees calling in sick each day. The agency implemented Phase 1 at the end of last month.

n

This story originally appeared at WAMU.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

The system will still keep its same operating hours.

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Metro will cut back weekday rail service starting Monday, running trains every 12 minutes.

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Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"The system will still keep its same operating hours.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/metro-announces-service-cuts-as-transit-agency-amps-up-its-coronavirus-response-plan/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/8366432148_0dec9b44d5_k-1024x678.jpg","width":1024,"height":678},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"},"provider":{"term_id":41688,"name":"WAMU","slug":"wamu","term_group":0,"term_taxonomy_id":41688,"taxonomy":"wamu_provider","description":"","parent":0,"count":644,"filter":"raw","permalink":"https://dcist.com/provider/wamu/"}},{"ID":4834080,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/courts-postpone-trials-prisons-limit-visits-as-coronavirus-spreads/","title":"Update: Courts Postpone Trials, D.C. Jail Suspends In-Person Visits, Evictions On Hold As Coronavirus Spreads","content":"

Update, March 15, 4:45 p.m.:u00a0D.C. Superior Courtu00a0announced on Sunday that planned jury and non-jury trials would be postponed for the time being, while those in progress would continue. Additionally, any person summoned for jury duty between Mar. 16-27 should not go to the courthouse.

n

All eviction proceedings will also be put on hold, theu00a0D.C. Housing Authority announced.u00a0The agency serves as the landlord for all residents of public housing in the city and also administers federal and local housing voucher programs. The D.C. Councilu00a0is expected to vote Tuesdayu00a0on an emergency bill that would halt evictions and utility cutoffs for all renters in the city.

n

Update, March 14, 6:45 p.m.:u00a0The D.C. Department of Correctionsu00a0announced on Saturdayu00a0that it would be suspending all in-person visits, programming, and volunteer activities in the D.C. Jail.

n

u201cWhile we recognize the significant impact this will have on inmates, their families, and loved ones, we are guided by medical experts who recommend social distancing measures as a proven method for preventing the spread of COVID-19,u201d said the department in a statement. The department said friends and families would still be able to use existing video visitation to speak with inmates.

n

Original:

n

Concerns over the spread of the coronavirus have prompted officials in the Washington region to take a number of steps to prevent transmission in courthouses and jails, ranging from a temporary suspension of some trials in Virginia to a full ban on visits to state penitentiaries in Maryland.

n

The steps, most taken in recent days, reflect the reality that courts crowded with defendants, attorneys and jurors and jails full of inmates and staff could quickly become breeding grounds for the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

n

u201cAs this virus moves through and as we see this epidemic take hold, for the vulnerable populations, which would include people in the jail [or] older residents serving on juries or older defendants, we need to make sure weu2019re thinking through the protections in place,u201d says D.C. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, who chairs the Council committee on public safety and the judiciary.

n

But implementing those protections can pose a distinct challenge, in part, because courts are an essential part of the justice system that is difficult to simply close down. More still, illnesses and disease can quickly spread among the confined spaces found in jails and prisons. And some defense attorneys say some courts and prisons arenu2019t yet doing enough.

n

U.S. District Courts in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have instituted a range of new restrictions. In Maryland, all federal trials have been postponed until April 24, largely over concerns of selecting juries u2014 which could include people more susceptible to COVID-19 u2014 for trials that would involve attorneys, judges and other court staff. And in Maryland state courts, any jury trials scheduled to start before April 3 are also being delayed.

n

In Virginia, the U.S. District Court in Alexandria announced that u201call misdemeanor, traffic, and petty offense docketsu201d scheduled through April 30 are being postponed to later dates. D.C.u2019s District Court said it would remain in operation, though it would limit access to the courthouse to u201cjudges, court staff, members of the media, and visitors with official business with the courts.u201d

n

Officials at D.C. Superior Court u2014 which handles all of the cityu2019s criminal and civil matters, and sees a regular flow of thousands of people on a daily basis u2014 said they had finalized a u201cPandemic Contingency Plan,u201d increased the number of hand sanitizers placed around the building, expanded telework options for employees, increased cleaning in u201chigh contactu201d public areas more often, and are offering more flexibility to court-appointed guardians on when they have to make in-person visits.

n

But normal operations have so far continued, including trials and jury selection. (The court is federally funded, and not controlled by D.C.u2019s elected officials.) A court official tells WAMU that people more vulnerable to this new strain of coronavirus u2014 like seniors and people with health conditions u2014 will be able to ask to defer jury duty. Butu00a0some defense attorneys say court proceedings should be delayed altogether.

n

u201cThis morning D.C. Superior Court is running its criminal calendar like normal, meaning many courtrooms will be packed with misdemeanor defendants, all presumptively innocent and not detained. Many of these people will be those most vulnerable to COVID-19,u201d tweeted James Zeigler, a local defense attorney, on Friday. u201cWhy?u201d

n

Those changes look to be happening starting next week. On Friday afternoon, Superior Court posted an update on its website indicating it would be limiting its functions.

n

u201cThe Court is not closing, but will be changing its operations to postpone all non-urgent matters or to conduct them telephonically. The Court will keep the number of people, including jurors, who need to report to the courthouse to a minimum. Those with jury duty should call in the night before their service to to find out if they need to report,u201d says the court. u201cThe Court will suspend evictions and foreclosures for a period of time.u201d

n

Civil liberties advocates more broadly say that during the public health emergency, police and prosecutors should exercise more discretion in who gets arrested and who simply gets a citation to avoid putting people in central lockups and then requiring they attend court hearings. In San Francisco, the public defender and district attorney agreed this week that people should not be held in jail for minor offenses.

n

Premal Dharia, director of the Defender Impact Initiative and a former public defender in D.C., says officials throughout the cityu2019s criminal justice system have to act more quickly and aggressively to ensure everyone from inmates to court and prison staff are kept safe.

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u201cAll courts should be very quickly moving to release as many people as possible. I think that will create the safest environment for the most people,u201d she says. u201cThe courts can also start to do things like not requiring people to come in for misdemeanor and traffic violations. The court can also be involved in changing the requirement for people who are released on conditions, who have to check in or come in for drug tests.u201d

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Local officials have also started taking steps to prevent coronavirus outbreaks at jails and prisons, where the virus could spread easily u2014 just as the swine flu did during a national outbreak in 2009.

n

u201cCorrectional institutions pose special risks and considerations due to the nature of their unique environment. Inmates are in mandatory custody and options are limited for isolation and removal of ill persons from the environment,u201d wrote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the time of swine flu.

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On Thursday,u00a0Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan banned visits to state prisons as part of a broader set of policies meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus. He said the state would increase the use of video visitation in the meantime. The D.C. Department of Corrections, which runs the D.C. Jailu2019s two facilities u2014 the Correctional Detention Facility and the Correctional Treatment Facility u2014 says it has imposed a number of precautionary steps of its own this week.

n

u201cDOC has ordered additional cleaning and sanitation supplies, including protective gloves, masks, and clothing for staff. The department is also enhancing cleaning efforts especially in common areas,u201d the agency said in a statement.u00a0u201cWe are also providing inmates, staff, and visitors with information on how to reduce the risk of illness.u201d

n

During a visit on Wednesday, two WAMU reporters witnessed staff wearing gloves and face masks, and heard repeated announcements over the public announcement system and from correctional officers encouraging inmates to wash their hands often or use hand sanitizer dispensers located around the facility. Some inmates seemed to be taking the advice seriously, even opting for elbow bumps in lieu of handshakes.

n

The agency also says it is screening staff and visitors for any possible COVID-19 symptoms, and if they are showing any, they will be denied entry to the D.C. Jail.u00a0The Department of Corrections operates anu00a0extensive video visitation systemu00a0that could serve as an alternative to in-person visits.

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As for inmates, the department says it will enhance screening at the D.C. Jail, which currently houses roughly 1,800 inmates divided between the Correctional Detention Facility and the Correctional Treatment Facility.

n

u201cWhen inmates arrive at DOC, we use a health questionnaire designed to identify persons with flu-like symptoms or who have traveled in areas affected by COVID-19. If an inmate were to be confirmed to have COVID-19, we have identified areas of the D.C. Jail where they can be housed separately from the rest of the population inmates during their treatment and recovery,u201d says the agency in its statement.

n

But in a letter sent to D.C. Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue on Friday, the Washington Lawyersu2019 Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs said it worried that the Department of Correctionsu2019 coronavirus plans have been u201cvague and not transparent.u201d The organization is urging officials to assess all inmates and release those who are most vulnerable, allow community supervision for people awaiting hearings for parole violations, and increase capacity at the jail to handle sick inmates.

n

The larger concern is the thousands of D.C. residents sent to federal prisons across the countryu00a0since the city has no state prison system of its own. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons did not respond to a request for comment, but earlier this week ABC News reported that a document sent by the agency to federal facilities u201cdoesnu2019t provide adequate answers to combating the virus.u201d And on Friday, it announced a sweeping new measure: visits to inmates at 122 federal facilities would be halted for 30 days.

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The Prison Policy Initiative says that prison inmates show higher indicators for certain conditions that make them susceptible to the coronavirus and that local and state officials should consider releasing medically fragile and older adults, reduce unnecessary parole and probation meetings, and do away with parole violations for minor violations.

n

u201cA lot of focus appropriately right now is on what the impacts could be on our health care system,u201d says Allen. u201cBut we also need to be thinking about the impacts on our criminal justice system and making sure we donu2019t overwhelm that as well.u201d

n

This story first appeared on WAMUu00a0and has been updated to reflect that DOC has suspended in-person visits.

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A number of court systems in the Washington region have postponed jury trials, and, as of Saturday, in-person visits have been suspended at D.C. Jail.

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Officials at the D.C. Jail are encouraging inmates to more frequently wash their hands and have increased screening of visitors to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

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Jail.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/courts-postpone-trials-prisons-limit-visits-as-coronavirus-spreads/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/200311_DC_Jail-1024x576.jpg","width":1024,"height":576},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"},"provider":{"term_id":41688,"name":"WAMU","slug":"wamu","term_group":0,"term_taxonomy_id":41688,"taxonomy":"wamu_provider","description":"","parent":0,"count":644,"filter":"raw","permalink":"https://dcist.com/provider/wamu/"}},{"ID":4834041,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/restaurants-bars-closed-coronavirus/","title":"Hereu2019s Which D.C.-Area Restaurants Are Offering Takeout And Delivery During The Coronavirus Pandemic","content":"

This post is being regularly updated as businesses announce more changes. To jump to restaurants offering carryout/delivery, clicku00a0here.u00a0To see which restaurants are closed, clicku00a0here.

n

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser orderedu00a0restaurants and bars in the District to close to dine-in patrons by 10 p.m. on Monday night.

n

The announcementu00a0followed a weekend in which plenty of D.C. residents packed bars and restaurantsu00a0against the advice of health experts. A number of restaurants demandedu00a0stronger action, launchingu00a0theu00a0hashtag #shutusdownu00a0to urge Bowser to shut down all of the city’s establishments. Others, like the owners of the Hill Restaurant Group, refused to “bow down to pressure from the Mayor’s office.” Bowser responded on Monday morning byu00a0threatening to use police and other city agencies to close down bars or restaurants not complying with the new restrictions. Later in the day, the restaurant group announced they would complyu00a0with the Mayoru2019s office by closing all but three of their restaurants.

n

Now, restaurants are weighing whether to close entirely or to figure out how to provide delivery or take-out to allow customers to keepu00a0patronizing their establishments, and keep employees working.

n

[For the latest coronavirus updates, see here.]

n

Hereu2019s our list of spots that have announced their statuses, which we will continue to update:
n

n

Delivery or takeout only

n
    n
  • &pizza: Offering carryout and delivery only with a buy one-get one (or donate one) option.
  • n
  • 2Amys: Takeout only, plus a 20 percent service fee. No tips accepted.
  • n
  • All Purpose: Available on Caviar
  • n
  • America Eats Tavern: Beginning Mar. 17, a community kitchen serving a “meal of the day” will operate from theu00a0front door.
  • n
  • Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse: Carry-out only with a special menu. Call the restaurant directly to order.
  • n
  • ANXO Cidery: Offering a contactless pick-up option at its two DC locations in Truxton Circle and Brightwood Park.
  • n
  • Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken:u00a0Delivery available at both locations via UberEats, Caviar, Postmates, or DoorDash. Pickup orders available via website.
  • n
  • Bad Saint: Accepting takeout orders via phone at 202-733-4507
  • n
  • Bangkok Joe’s: Delivery via Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub, and UberEats. They are also offering in-house, no contact deliver for orders over $30 and within a 3-mile radius.There is also a 20% service charge. Take-out via their website.
  • n
  • Bantam King:u00a0Delivery via Caviar and UberEats and take-out orders via Toast.u00a0
  • n
  • Beefsteak: Delivery only
  • n
  • Boundary Stone: Available on Caviar
  • n
  • Chipotle: Delivery free through the end of March.
  • n
  • Clydeu2019s Restaurant Group: The company that operates Clydeu2019s, Old Ebbitt Grill, the Hamilton, and the Tombs are offering curbside pickup and delivery for food, beer, wine, & spirits.u00a0
  • n
  • Compass Rose:u00a0Limited menu available for takeout 12 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • n
  • Convivial: Delivery via Caviar and Uber Eats. Curbside take-out, call the restaurant atu00a0(202) 525-2870.
  • n
  • Daikaya Ramen Shop 1F: Delivery via Uber Eats and take-out via Toast.
  • n
  • Denizens Brewing Company:u00a0u00a0Takeout and delivery (via Uber Eats).The Denizens Beermobileu00a0alsou00a0began delivery on Sunday. Minimum order of $20 is required and a $5 delivery fee is applied. Currently, they are only delivering to Silver Spring (zip code 20910) and Riverdale Park (zip code 20737).
  • n
  • District Doughnut: All stores will operate as “grab-and-go.” They are also partnering with Ice Cream Jubliee for ice cream and doughnut delivery.
  • n
  • District Taco:u00a0Offering free curbside pickup and 10 percent off for in-app purchases with code CURBSIDE. Plus, free delivery for orders over $20.
  • n
  • Duffy’s Irish Pub: Has a “Wing Whiskey Beer Hotline” for delivery and take-out.
  • n
  • Each Peach Market:u00a0Offering curbside pickup for market items and its cafe Pear Plum.
  • n
  • Emile’s:u00a0 Take-out is available withu00a0bottles of wine 40 percent off. Menu is being updated daily. They are also adding a 4 percent wellness fee which will go to pay for employee healthcare premiums.
  • n
  • Etto:u00a0Takeout only
  • n
  • Fainting Goat: A limited menu available for delivery via Caviar, Resy (with a two-block radius), and Revel. For pick-up, call the restaurant directly at (202) 735-0344.
  • n
  • Georgetown Cupcake: Only accepting pre-orders for pick-up, local delivery, and overnight nationwide shipping.
  • n
  • Haikan:u00a0Delivery via Caviar and Uber Eats and take-out orders via Toast.
  • n
  • Happy Gyro: Offering take-out on their vegetarian gyro, plus 40% off beer and wine, 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
  • n
  • Hatoba: Delivery via Caviar and Uber Eats and take-out orders via Toast.
  • n
  • Hook Hall:u00a0The event space on Georgia Ave in NW is providing care kits with food and supplies from Sysco and Muncheez to anyone in the hospitality industry. They are available to be picked up from their outdoor window from 6 to 8 pm daily and anticipate this will continue “as long as it needs to.”
  • n
  • Ice Cream Jubilee: Pint pick-up now available with a special weekly rotating menu of flavors.
  • n
  • Ivy and Coney: Available via website
  • n
  • Jaleo: Beginning today, all three D.C.-area locations will be turned into community kitchens serving a “meal of the day.”
  • n
  • Joe’s Pizza and Pasta: Curbside and delivery. Credit card transactions only.
  • n
  • Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab: Delivery via Uber Eats. Curbside pick-up is also available.
  • n
  • Izakaya Seki: Takeout available via website or by calling 202-538-0321
  • n
  • Lapis: Take-out and curbside pick-up from their patio. They are also offering specialty to-go dishes that are “easily frozen.” Call the restaurant directly at (202) 299-9630.
  • n
  • Ledo Pizza:u00a0Open for carryout only via website.
  • n
  • Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap:u00a0Open for curbside pickup orders via website or UberEats delivery.
  • n
  • Mandu: Available for delivery on Caviar or for takeout via website
  • n
  • Maydan:u00a0Available for carryout orders placed online from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday, with expanded hours to follow.
  • n
  • Mexicue: Launched in-house delivery, particularly aimed at providing large meals for families.
  • n
  • Mon Ami Gabi Bethesda: Delivery via Caviar.
  • n
  • Nina May: Delivery for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Available by callingu00a0202-518-3609
  • n
  • Oyamel: Beginning today, a community kitchen serving a “meal of the day” will operate from a side door.
  • n
  • Peet’s Coffee: Order through the mobile app. Restrooms are closed as well.
  • n
  • Pizzeria Paradiso:u00a0Pickup and delivery available via third-party services.
  • n
  • Planet Wine: Operated by Neighborhood Restaurant Group, just received a delivery permit and will begin beer & wine delivery early this week.
  • n
  • Rasa: Delivery availableu00a0UberEats, Caviar, DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates. Take-out available via Toast. They are also offering free meals for school children (18 & under),u00a0free meals for hospital workers with valid ID, and free meals to their staff and their families.
  • n
  • Red Hen: Available by calling 202-515-3021
  • n
  • Reveler’s Hour: Curbside pickup
  • n
  • Royal: Delivery via Caviar and pick-up by phone at (202) 332-7777. If in the Ledroit Park neighborhood, the restaurant will personally deliver for free.u00a0 They are also selling home-ready batches of its top craft cocktails (sans booze).u00a0Additionally, they’ll be selling cocktails to-go and for delivery in the near future.
  • n
  • RPM Italian: Delivery available via Grubhub.
  • n
  • Stable: Limited take-out menu available on Thursdays, 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant is still offering fondue and raclette, but it requires necessary equipment that can be rented for a deposit of $75 which will be refunded upon safe return.
  • n
  • Stella Barra Pizzeria & Wine Bar: Deliver via DoorDash. Curbside pick-up is also available.
  • n
  • Sweetgreen: u201cDigital orderingu201d only for all 104 of their restaurants (which also include locations in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago). Pick-up orders can be placed via their app and delivery orders either through their app or Uber Eats.
  • n
  • Summer House Santa Monica: Delivery available via Uber Eats. Curbside pick-up is also available.
  • n
  • Supra:u00a0Offering takeout and delivery by phone atu00a0(202) 789-1205 or email at info@supradc.com
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  • Tail Up Goat
  • n
  • Tau00efm
  • n
  • Tenth Ward Distilling:u00a0Offering curbside pickup for spirits and cocktail mixers; place orders by phone atu00a0301-360-5888
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  • Thamee: Available for takeout and delivery on Caviar or by phone at 202-750-6529
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  • Tiger Fork: A limited, “home-friendly menu” available for delivery via Caviar, Resy (with a two-block radius), and Revel. For pick-up, call the restaurant directly at (202) 733-1152. Boozy juice boxes, sake and beer will be available to-go andu00a0delivery in the “near future.”
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  • Tonari:u00a0Delivery via Caviar and Uber Eats and take-out orders via Toast.
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  • Union Market:u00a0Now u201cpick-up, take-out and delivery ONLY through April 1.u201d Plus, all orders have to be placed via phone, delivery app, or online.
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  • The Village at Shirlington: Parking meters on Campbell Avenue and South Randolph Street are temporarily suspended to support curbside pick-up at businesses likeu00a0Busboys & Poets, Best Buns Bread Company,u00a0and Big Buns Damn Good Burger.u00a0u00a0
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  • Zaytinya: Beginning today, a community kitchen serving a “meal of the day” will operate from a side door.
  • n
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Closed

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Some restaurants are launching delivery, and others are closing entirely.

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&pizza in Penn Quarter.

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Fischer","source_url":"https://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/39541379624"},"postMeta":{"inCollectionId":"4834160","showDCistStoryAppeal":true,"person":"4785014,2008057,2008126","secondaryImage":{"type":"","data":""},"titleOverride":false,"urlOrigin":false},"audio":{"postPermalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/restaurants-bars-closed-coronavirus/"},"beat":"Food","beatSlug":"food","slug":{"name":"","permalink":"#","categoryName":"","providerClass":"provider-wamu","flagSlug":"","flagText":""},"promoted":"","headMeta":{"title":"These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"Some restaurants are launching delivery, and others are closing entirely.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/restaurants-bars-closed-coronavirus/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/39541379624_cba88e3065_o-1024x768.jpg","width":1024,"height":768},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4833950,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/no-toilet-paper-massive-lines-at-d-c-grocery-stores-as-residents-stock-up/","title":"No Toilet Paper, Massive Lines At D.C. Grocery Stores As Residents Stock Up","content":"
Paper product shelves at 17th Street Safeway. Colleen Grablick
Pasta shelves at 17th Street Safeway. Colleen Grablick
Frozen meat section at West End Trader Joes. Colleen Grablick
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As shoppers flock to paper goods and dry food aisles before bunkering down amid the spread of coronavirus, D.C. grocery stores are struggling to keep the shelves stocked with high-demand emergency items.

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“There was a general atmosphere of panic that was hard to avoid,” says Chloe Yelena Miller, a Glover Park resident who visited the Safeway on Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown this morning.

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Miller had already shopped earlier in the week in preparation for possible impacts of the coronavirus, but needed to grab some weekly vegetables and a few more canned items. While the food supply remained decent, she says workers were quickly restocking the barren paper product aisle.

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“They were taking [toilet paper] out of boxes and everyone was grabbing it as it landed on the shelf,” Miller says. “I got some, too, admittedly out of panic. We have a reasonable supply at home.”

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Shoppers and employees around the D.C. area reported similar scenes of low-quantities of items like toilet paper and canned food and massive lines. Customers at stores including Safeway, Giant, Trader Joe’s, and Harris Teeter have run into low or nonexistent quantities of essentials like toilet paper and nonperishable food.

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Harris Teeter placed a three-item limits on toilet paper, water, canned meat, pasta, cleaning supplies, and cold, flu, and allergy medicine, according to a statement the company released today. Safeway is encouraging customers to “respect quantity limits of select, high-demand items to help ensureu00a0more customers will also be able to purchase the products that they need,” per a statement.

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According to a department leader at the Giant on Connecticut Ave. in Northwest, employees worked overtime through the night last night to restock a new shipment of toilet paper. By the time the worker’s shift began at 10 a.m., the shelves already been wiped clean.

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“It’s just crazy,” says the department leader, who asked for anonymity because workers didn’t have permission to speak to media. “It’s definitely that kind of feeling like it’s the end of the world.”

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Despite the barren shelves from a morning rush, some crowd sizes around mid-day at the Van Ness Giant were fairly manageable. D.C. resident Luanna Falco and her partner live only a few blocks from the store, and, with a new work-from-home schedule, decided to shop during what they predicted would be an off-peak hour.

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“We knew it was going to be crazy after 5 p.m., so we’re trying to just get doubles of everything right now,” Falco says, adding she isn’t too concerned about her stock of toilet paper. “We have enough for the next few days, and when we run out, I’ll just come back and get more.”

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But in Northeast D.C., crowd sizes seemed to pose a problem even in the middle of the day. Mount Pleasant resident Kate Tully tried to shop at Costco in Northeast, after researching what foods are best to stockpile. After spending 30 minutes waiting in traffic to get into the parking lot, she tried the Trader Joe’s near Union Market in Northeast, where she struck out again.

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“It was nuts. There was very few nonperishables, one or two boxes of oatmeal left, no potatoes, no onions, and in the whole frozen food section, there was nothing there besides multi-colored cauliflower,” Tully says. “The line was just this gigantic snake around the entire store, so I just abandoned my cart and we left.”

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A Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, VJ Johnson, visited the Southeast Safeway in Good Hope Marketplace yesterday. He says that, while the store was fairly crowded, the crowd size didn’t look much different than it does before other emergency-scares like snowstorms, or on the first of the month.

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As one of only three grocery stores in Wards 7 and 8 combined, Johnson says the store frequently sees long lines and high volumes of customers.

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“I don’t know if it impacted [that Safeway] any different than I’ve experienced any other time,” Johnson says. “Long lines are always there, so I can’t say that the corona-scare has negatively impacted that Safeway. It was business as usual to me.”

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Other shoppers have reported somewhat non-essential groceries disappearing from stores as well. Earlier this week, Petworth resident Natalie Fertig stopped at the Georgia Ave. Safeway to buy a few weeks worth of groceries around 11:30 p.m., and found the ice cream freezers completely bare.

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“I think I was sort of taking mental note of the things that were gone,” says Fertig, who later returned the following day to buy a bottle of wine that she couldn’t manage to carry home the night before. “The Brussel sprouts were low, and there were literally no bell peppers, and then I saw there was no ice cream.”

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Amid the chaos, shoppers have encouraged kindness, patience, and gratitude for the employees who are staffing these stores. Despite the toilet paper pandemonium at the Wisconsin Ave. Safeway, Miller says the crowd was generally friendly, allowing carts to pass by when needed and thanking the employees for their hard work.

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“Folks were super respectful and kind, allowing people to pass [because] we were waiting in line in the aisles,” Miller says. “And the employees were working really hard to stock the shelves and keep all of the lines moving.”

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Jeff Reid, an employee at a Giant in Silver Spring, says it’s important for customers to remember that the staff members at the stores have no control over when a new delivery will come to a store, and when something runs out, it’s a matter of time until another shipment can come in.

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“The customers want to know why you’re out of stuff, they’re like ‘why are you out of this, what can we do to get this?’ and we can only say we’re just waiting on a trailer,” Reid says. “We’re waiting on delivery, waiting on delivery. ”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 Union, which represents workers like Reid from area Safeways and Giants, asked employers to provide no less than 14 days of paid sick leave for its workers in the midst of the coronavirus scare. According to Reid, employers have asked workers to stay home if they’re feeling sick, but some workers don’t have the ability to forego a day’s worth of pay to protect against possible infection.

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“These people are humans, and they have to feed their families as well,” Reid says.

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Toilet paper, canned goods, and cleaning supplies are flying off of the shelves in D.C.

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Connecticut Ave. Giant

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","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/no-toilet-paper-massive-lines-at-d-c-grocery-stores-as-residents-stock-up/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/IMG_7665-1024x867.jpeg","width":1024,"height":867},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4833975,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/local-board-game-store-labyrinth-has-quadrupled-its-sales-of-pandemic/","title":"Local Board Game Store Labyrinth Has Seen Sales Of Pandemic Quadruple","content":"

Labyrinth, a local board game store in Capitol Hill, is seeing some very of-the-moment purchases from customers.

n

“We’ve sold a ton of Pandemic these past few weeks,” says owner Kathleen Donahue. It’s a collaborative game in which players take on different roles with the Centers for Disease Control (think dispatcher, medic, quarantine specialist) and try to stop four diseases that are spreading across the globe, and it feels very relevant right nowu2014the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday,

n

In just the last few days alone, Labyrinth has sold 16 Pandemic board games, per Donahue. By comparison, during the same length of time in January, customers bought four. (Indeed, an employee thought the store had sold out entirely, before finding five more games hidden in a box.)

n

And that’s not the only game seeing a surge in sales. “I’ve been surprised because there’s another game called We’re Doomedu2014we’ve been selling a lot of that one, too.” That game is all about building a rocket to launch off a soon-to-be-destroyed Earth. “It’s a kind of dark humor, super funny game,” says Donahue.

n

While at first she was tickled by the marked increase in Pandemic sales, Donahue says she worries that people who play the game, especially with younger kids, might get even more stressed outu2014”It’s really hard to win,” she says. (I can confirm.)

n

But she says overall, “tons of people coming in to try to find things they can do while stuck at home, and board games are great for that,” though she recommends wares that are “happy and fun and bring joyu2014I think we need more of that.”

n

Already, Labyrinth is offering curbside assistance to customers who don’t want to go inside the store, in what she’s calling a “latex glove service.” Donahue expects she’ll have to cancel some upcoming events typically held there, like in-store game nights, and is thinking of starting a delivery service.

n

“I’m just desperately trying to differ out how I can keep all of my staff safe and paid,” she says. “We’llu00a0try to stay open as long as we can.”

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Another popular game right now is called We’re Doomed.

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Playing the board game Pandemic feels especially on-the-nose these days.

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Masses are being skipped. Synagogue services and programs are being moved online. Mosques are canceling congregational prayer services.u00a0This is the new reality for faith communities across the D.C. area, as COVID-19 cases are confirmed throughout the region at an exponential rate, leaving religious leaders scrambling to find new ways of reaching their congregations.

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Within the local Muslim community, unprecedented measures have been taken to prevent further spread of the virus.u00a0Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Fairfax Countyu00a0suspended Friday prayers for the first time, seemingly ever.

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“I donu2019t think weu2019ve ever done that, even on worst snow days,”u00a0says Saif Rahman, the director of public and government affairs.

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Rahman says he and other faith leaders in Northern Virginia have been frustrated with the lack of directive and clear information—they’ve been following advisories and indicators like school closures—but says county officials need to follow Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s lead and specificallyu00a0ban gatherings of 250 people or more. Virginia’s state of emergency declaration is not enough, he says.

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“From an Islamic perspective, Friday prayers canu2019t happen digitally,”u00a0Rahman says. “In order to suspend a command of God to perform a specific prayer, you need an imminent risk or a directive from an official.”

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Typically, more than 100,000 Muslim worshippers congregate at Friday prayer services across Northern Virginia, with three Friday services at Dar Al-Hijrah each attracting more than 1,100 people. Some who weren’t aware of the early Friday morning decision showed up anyway, before realizing the building was closed, Rahman says. He was on a 6 a.m. conference call Friday morning deciding what to do next.

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“Our food bank gets 400 people every Thursday,” Rahman says. “We’re trying to make sure that is still stocked, we donu2019t want people to go hungry, so we’re discussing how people can come in intervals.”

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The first confirmed coronavirus case in D.C. was the rector ofu00a0Christ Church in Georgetown, an Episcopal church. After a member of the Washington National Cathedral’s worship team alsou00a0tested positive for coronavirus, hundreds of Episcopal churches announced closures for two weeks.

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Similarly, the Archdiocese of Washington suspended the regular obligation for Catholic parishioners tou00a0attend Mass, starting Saturday, and Catholic schools across the region have been closed.

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception announced Friday that Mass and confession are suspended as of Saturday, but will be open for private prayers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The basilica will stream Sunday Mass on its website, starting March 15.

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Many D.C. synagogues have made the shift to online services, as well. “We’re closing our building but not closing our community,” says Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, of Ohev Sholom, the National Synagogue.

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“It’s obviously devastating to close the building, but we know we need to do it,” he says. “We’re limiting social interaction when our whole community is very much built around social interaction. It’s something we’re doing for the sake of our city.”

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Shabbat is typically observed in the absence of technology, so Rabbi Herzfeld has, for the first time, provided sermons and Talmud classes on the video service Zoom and on Facebook Live—but only on the eve of Shabbat, and the day after. He says this is a time to improve the synagogue’s online capabilities and grow spiritually.

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The time to break physically with the congregation also is allowing for much-needed self-reflection, he adds. “Spiritually speaking, I shouldu2019ve been self-quarantining a while ago.”

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Rabbi Sarah Krinsky, of Adas Israel, the largest Conservative congregation in Washington, says the leaders made the painful decision of closing the Cleveland Park synagogue until at least March 29. And yet, she says the faith community as a whole is uniquely prepared for emergencies like this.

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“The blessing is we already have a strong community outreach,” Krinsky says. “We were already calling our homebound members, but weu2019re going to be doing that …u00a0on steroids.u00a0I feel like of any civic category of institutions, including faith organizations, are really set up for this, because this is sort of what we do all the time—thinking of how we take care of each other and the world.”

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The George Washington University Hillel is also adjusting its regular outreach, as the university joinsu00a0other D.C. area schools by going online until April 5. With the stresses the health emergency is causing students, Rabbi Daniel Novick (Krinsky’s husband) says the four members on staff at the Hillel are planning to personally call the 1,700 Jewish students within their network over the next few weeks.

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“Many college students havenu2019t experienced anything like this before,” Novick says. “A lot of synagogues are doing live streaming—weu2019re actually sending out weekly Shabbat resources to connect students to those services.”

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Still, one of the hardest things to control amid the outbreak is the overwhelming sense of panic among some congregants, says Rahman, ofu00a0Dar Al-Hijrah.

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“We need to service the religious and spiritual needs of our community, especially at time like this, when people are lonely and feeling fear,” he says. “This is when faith institutions need to step up.”

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Here’s how local congregations are adapting to the outbreak and using tech to supplement faith.

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Services are being canceled or moved online. Here’s how local congregations are adapting to the outbreak, using tech to supplement faith.

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Neighbors Are Lending A Helping Hand","content":"

In the six days since the District’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, the city has gotten quieter and its residents more uneasy. An increasing number of offices are implementing mandatory work-from-home policies, Metro rides are dropping, schools are closing, and the number of cases is growing exponentially—right on track with the spread in Italy and other areas that have seen a dramatic spike over short periods of time.

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But as anxiety and uncertainty mount, some D.C. neighbors are resisting the urge to panic and turn inward. Over the last two days, an increasing number of residents in neighborhoods across the city have—in ways both large and small—begun trying to find ways to help their more vulnerable neighbors.

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In several wards, organized offers of help and mutual aid groups started sprouting up late Wednesday and Thursday, as it became clear that D.C. was facing the possibility of a dangerous outbreak that could devastate the local economy.

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“We are in a situation where people are panicking, and understandably so,” says Natacia Knapper, an organizer and activist in D.C. who has taken charge of setting up a mutual aid program in Ward 1, including a GoFundMe.The idea of mutual aid is simple: You agree to lend assistance to others, and they agree to help you, too.

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“We are trying to figure out what are the needs in terms of the physical items people need, ” says Knapper, “But also thinking about having money that we can provide to people who feel unsafe going to their job.”

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Knapper points out that many people who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, which tends to present more severely in older people and those with preexisting conditions, have jobs that don’t allow them to work from home. She is trying to pool enough money to help people who would be seriously risking their health by going to work, she says. Other offers from the network she’s building include help with childcare during the day, grocery runs and food delivery, and periodic check-ins for seniors and other vulnerable neighbors.

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“People feel like there is a real lack of substantive communication and just a lack of real urgency [from the government] over what could potentially happen,” she says.

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Volunteers are setting up a mutual aid station in Columbia Heights Civic Plaza on Saturday, Knapper says, providing nonperishable foods and sanitizing products. They’ll also be providing a one-pager with information about the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. She plans to continue the stations, though she says it may eventually be safer to switch simply to delivering products to people’s doors.

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Ria Peeples is setting up a similar mutual aid program in Takoma, where she’s been sending out a form allowing people to offer resources they can share, including meal preparation, picking up prescriptions, making doctor’s appointments, offering childcare, spare beds, and emotional support.

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“What does it look like to be social when we can’t actually be around each other? And what can mental health services look like during this time when people have to be pretty isolated?” Peeples says.

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About 40 people have so far signed up to help and to ask for help (many do both at once), Peeples says. She plans to hang flyers around her neighborhood this weekend to let people know the resource is available for them to use.

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There are other mutual aid programs being organized in Mount Pleasantu00a0and Petworth. April Goggans, an organizer with D.C. Black Lives Matter, has set up a citywide mutual aid Facebook page.

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Many Languages One Voice, an activist organization that works with immigrant communities in D.C., is also setting up a mutual aid program,u00a0as are students and others at George Washington University.

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The Table D.C., a church network in the city, is organizing a web of people across the city who are able to help with grocery runs and other errands for people over 60 or who are otherwise particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

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In Capitol Hill, The Church of the Resurrection is opening up its “Rez911” service to everyone in the neighborhood (you do not have to be a member of the church). You can request (or offer) help with errands, childcare, and emotional support via the form on their site.

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“We debated a lot whether this was an overreaction,” says Kelley Griffin, a member of the church. “But one of the things is, by the time it feels like the correct response, it’s kind of too little, too late.”

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In addition to the spreading mutual aid groups, some neighbors and businesses are offering small kindnesses as they can. On Thursday night, Medium Rare in D.C. delivered nearly 30 meals to elderly people trying to isolate in their homes so they don’t catch the virus. Local bookstores like Politics and Prose and Capitol Hill Books are offering free shipping for people quarantining at home and in need of a book to pass the time.

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“In times like these, people really do want to help,” says Peeples. “And it’s so important to push back against the isolation and turning inward and selfishness that can come in times like these if we don’t remind everyone that we have everything we need to support one another.”

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Some are resisting the urge to panic and turn inward.

n","permalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/as-coronavirus-anxiety-mounts-d-c-neighbors-are-lending-a-helping-hand/","currentSlug":"as-coronavirus-anxiety-mounts-d-c-neighbors-are-lending-a-helping-hand","created":"2020-03-13T15:05:30","modified":"2020-03-17T14:08:23","time":"Mar 13","timestamp":1584111930,"timestampGMT":1584126330,"imageData":{"caption":"

Vulnerable residents may have difficulty obtaining the food and supplies they need for self quarantine or isolation.

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inward.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/as-coronavirus-anxiety-mounts-d-c-neighbors-are-lending-a-helping-hand/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/outbreak-stockpiling-1024x683.jpg","width":1024,"height":683},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4833797,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/local-campaigning-is-all-about-shaking-hands-and-knocking-on-doors-for-many-candidates-thats-changing/","title":"Local Campaigning Is All About Shaking Hands And Knocking On Doors. But Now, Thatu2019s Changing","content":"

In local political races, handshaking and door knocking are often the name of the game. But some D.C. candidates are reconsidering that calculation over concerns about the spread of coronavirus, especially in the part of the city that saw the District’s first case of COVID-19 and is among the most high-profile council races this year: Ward 2.

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Supporters of Patrick Kennedy’s bid for the Ward 2 council seat received an email on Thursday morning: the Foggy Bottom Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner announced he would be suspending all door-to-door canvassing and meet-and-greet events for at least the next two weeks.

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Like many people, Kennedy and other members of his campaign have been monitoring the situation in the Districtu2014Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in response to the coronavirus as regional cases continue to climb. While D.C. allows for no-excuse absentee voting, there’s still the question of how candidates will try to convince voters to choose them.

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“It really started to hit home last weekend with the confirmed case of Reverend [Tim] Cole,” Kennedy tells DCist. Cole, the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the District, serves as the rector at Christ Church Georgetown. Since then, hundreds of people have been asked to self-quarantine if they attended the church during a timespan ranging from late February to early March. Kennedy notes that a large number of those people live in Georgetown and elsewhere in Ward 2.u00a0

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This year, there is no incumbent in the crowded Ward 2 primary, which is scheduled for June 2. That’s because Jack Evans, who held the seat for 29 years, resigned in January amid an ethics scandal, prompting the D.C. Board of Elections to schedule a special election on June 16. Now, Evans is among the candidates in both of those races.

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After the news about Christ Church Georgetown, Kennedy’s campaign decided to move a canvass slated this weekend for Georgetown to another neighborhood, before deciding to stop going door-to-door altogether (he’s still trying to reach voters through phone banking and online). He says that many of the campaign’s volunteers are senior citizens, and his campaign manager’s daughter is among those in a vulnerable population. Plus, he’s seen a drop-off of volunteers in recent days.

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While the D.C. Health Department advised on Wednesday that any non-essential gatherings of 1,000 people or more be postponed or cancelled, it would be extraordinary rare for a ward-level race to have an event reaching those numbers. (That doesn’t mean that smaller in-person events aren’t impactedu2014the Citizens Association of Georgetown postponed its Ward 2 candidate forum planned for Monday.)

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Kennedy says that this is “the only decision I could really justifyu2014I don’t think people are exactly eager to open the doors or eager to attend events. There’s a lot of concern in my ward.”

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And he’s not the only competitor in Ward 2 making that choice. DCist reached out to all eight candidates in the Ward 2 primary and the additional Republican competing in the special election to see where they stood. All commented but Evans, who did not respond to our requests.

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Jordan Grossmanu00a0is among those postponing in-person campaign events, like a door-to-door canvass initially planned for this weekend.u00a0“Once the city had a state of emergency and I started seeing public health experts recommend that even smaller gatherings should be avoided, we made it clear we’re going to take as many precautions as possible,” says Grossman, a former Obama administration official.

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As of Friday morning, Logan Circle ANC John Fanning, another Ward 2 prospect, is “suspending all campaign activity,” he says. He notes that fears over coronavirus “u00a0changed the whole dynamic and approach with people” while campaigning.u00a0Rather than shaking hands, “weu2019re doing elbow bumps and some folks donu2019t want me to touch them at all … It does change a lot because voter engagement is a big part of campaigning”
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Since collecting signatures at the Safeway in Georgetown last Sunday, Fanning has been wondering ifu00a0he interacted with folks who had just attended service at Christ Church Georgetown.u00a0

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Brooke Pinto, a former policy worker at the D.C. Office Attorney General is also “suspending all campaign events and volunteer canvassing for two weeks in order to do our part to flatten the curve,” she says over email. “We are considering creative ways to get our message to voters and are trying to find ways to adapt in an environment that is impossible to predict. But most importantly, everyone must stay safe, healthy, and calm.”

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Another Ward 2 candidate who is paring down her campaign is Yilin Zhang, according to campaign manager Jessica Bailey. Zhang “has cancelled all of her public fundraising events, suspended canvassing, and is minimizing public appearances,” Bailey says over email.

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Bailey notes that this might put Zhang at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to collecting signatures for her special election petition, which is due March 18. She says that the campaign has reached out to the D.C. Board of Elections about extending the deadline.

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The D.C. Board of Elections has not responded to DCist’s request for comment about whether they would consider extending the deadline past next week.

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It’s not just special election candidates worried about the impact of coronavirus on their ability to collect signatures. A campaign to get the decriminalization of psychedelics on the ballot this November announced on Thursday that it was postponing the official issuance of its petitions until April.

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u201cThe combination of public fear, lack of testing, and an expanding shutdown of 2020 election activities has made it obvious this isnu2019t the time to be knocking on doors and engaging DC voters.u201d said campaign spokesman Seth Rosenberg in a statement. While the D.C. Board of Elections voted in favor of this postponement at its March meeting, it has yet to extend the deadline for the Ward 2 special election petitions.

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Kishan Putta, a Georgetown ANC rep, said that while his campaign is not organizing or attending large gatherings, “Iu00a0do think that weu2019ll continue to knock on doors, and if people are not comfortable coming to their door, that’s totally fine …u00a0Neither the [Centers for Disease Control] nor the mayor have said anything about not venturing out of your house.”u00a0

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Putta counts former surgeon general Vivek Murthy among his supporters, and says that the experts he has consulted with say “it’s okay to canvass and [literature] drop. We met neighbors yesterday to talk, not touch.”

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Daniel Hernandez, a Microsoft employee trying to represent Ward 2 as a Democrat on the council, also planned to knock on doors this Saturdayu2014a tactic that he says has been his campaign’s primary focus. “I do feel like just knocking on the door, keeping distance, and no contact still gives you the opportunity to see each other face to face and exchange a few words,” he says. “But obviously if people are uncomfortable with that, then we’ll avoid it.”u00a0

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But at least one candidate, Republican Katherine Venice, doesn’t tend to go door-to-door much.u00a0“I have generally preferred to avoid knocking on doors as it felt to me to be somewhat invasive of people’s privacy,” she says over email. “My preferred method has been to canvass on the street … I love doing it this way because it allows people the freedom to easily walk straight past or choose to stop if they are so inclined.” She says she is currently evaluating whether she will continue her street canvassing.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

A look at how the spread of coronavirus has impacted the race in Ward 2, where the first confirmed case of coronavirus was found.

n","permalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/local-campaigning-is-all-about-shaking-hands-and-knocking-on-doors-for-many-candidates-thats-changing/","currentSlug":"local-campaigning-is-all-about-shaking-hands-and-knocking-on-doors-for-many-candidates-thats-changing","created":"2020-03-13T11:56:10","modified":"2020-03-13T11:56:39","time":"Mar 13","timestamp":1584100570,"timestampGMT":1584114970,"imageData":{"caption":"

Many people are wary of handshakes, normally a staple of local politicking, amid the spread of coronavirus.

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found.","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/local-campaigning-is-all-about-shaking-hands-and-knocking-on-doors-for-many-candidates-thats-changing/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/ward2campaigning-1024x684.jpg","width":1024,"height":684},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4833891,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/13/d-c-public-schools-close-through-april-1-due-to-coronavirus-pandemic/","title":"Public Schools In D.C., Maryland, Virginia Close Due To Coronavirus Pandemic","content":"

All public school systems in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will close for at least two weeks, state and local officials announced Thursday and Friday.

n

Officials in the three jurisdictions have also announced plans to ensure the continuity of free meals for students who depend on them u2014 and teachers and parents have also beenu00a0working to fill gaps in nutrition.

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The latest announcement came on Friday from Virginia governor Ralph Northam,u00a0who announced the school closuresu00a0in conjunction with a number of other measures aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus. Northamu2019s declaration came after Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church had already announced they would close until mid-April out of concern about the virus.

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[Read the latest updates about coronavirus in our region here.]

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u201cWe are taking this action to keep Virginians as safe and healthy as possible, and to minimize exposure to COVID-19,u201d Northam said, referring to the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

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State Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said the Virginia Department of Education is encouraging schools to provide students with instructional materials during the closure. Several Northern Virginia school systems had already made the decision to close before Northamu2019s declaration, including those in Loudoun, Fairfax, and Arlington Counties.

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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Friday morning that D.C. Public Schools would close through at least April 1.

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In a series of early-morning tweets from Bowser and an email to parents from Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, city officials said they would move up a week-long spring break scheduled for April to next week, and from March 24-31 engage in distance learning for students.

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All public schools in Maryland are also closed until March 27, as ordered by Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday as part of another sweeping package of protective measures against the virusu2019s spread across the community. Maryland officials say schools should use scheduled spring breaks as potential make-up days for missed instructional time.

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Hogan acknowledged the actions would be disruptive to everyday life, but added: u201cthey could be the difference in saving lives and helping keep people safe.u201d

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City officials also said they would keep 16 schools open during the two-week closure to serve free meals for students from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tens of thousands of D.C. students get free breakfast and lunch at school, and both parents and city leaders said alternative arrangements would need to be found to accommodate them if schools closed.

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In his email, Ferebee listed the schools that would open to offer meals: Anacostia High School, Banneker High School, Cardozo Education Campus, Columbia Heights Education Campus, Coolidge High School, Jefferson Middle School, Kelly Miller Middle School, Kimball Elementary School, LaSalle-Backus Education Campus, Eastern High School, Ballou High School, McKinley Education Campus, Brookland Middle School, Stanton Elementary School, Walker-Jones Education Campus, and Woodson High School.

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In her tweets, Bowser asked charter schools u2014 which are publicly funded but operate independently u2014 to follow DCPSu2019s schedule and reopen no earlier than April 1. It seemed that many had already reached that decision: on Thursday night Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School told parents it would close for two weeks starting Monday, and D.C. International and Center City did the same on Friday morning.

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The announcement is also likely to shutter child care facilities across the city, many of which follow DCPSu2019s lead on when they close.

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Bowser also said that she was authorizing certain city employees and agencies to work remotely.

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u201cSome government operations will be performed fully remotely, while other services will continue to be performed at public buildings, but under modified operations,u201d she said.

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The decision to close schools around the region comes as the coronavirus pandemic has started reshaping life for millions of people. Workers in a variety of industries have started working from home, sporting events and large-scale gatherings have been postponed or fully canceled, and people have been asked to practice u201csocial distancingu201d to prevent further transmission of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

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These schools remain closed but will continue to offer meals tou00a0students.

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D.C.

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D.C. Public Schools: Closed until at least April 1. Meals will be offered to all D.C. students u2014 not just DCPS students u2014 at the following locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday:

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  • Anacostia High School
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  • Banneker High School
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  • Cardozo Education Campus
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  • Columbia Heights Education Campus
  • n
  • Coolidge High School
  • n
  • Jefferson Middle School
  • n
  • Kelly Miller Middle School
  • n
  • Kimball Elementary School
  • n
  • LaSalle-Backus Education Campus
  • n
  • Eastern High School
  • n
  • Ballou High School
  • n
  • McKinley Education Campus
  • n
  • Brookland Middle School
  • n
  • Stanton Elementary School
  • n
  • Walker-Jones Education Campus
  • n
  • Woodson High School
  • n
n
n

Virginia

n

Arlington Public Schools: Schools closed until April 14. School meal information: The school system is finalizing plans to provide free breakfast and lunch to students.

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Alexandria City Public Schools: Schools closed until April 14. The school system is finalizing plans for providing meals.

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Falls Church City Public Schools: Closed until April 14. Additional details about meal service for students will be provided on Friday.

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Fairfax County Public Schools: Closed through April 10. Breakfast will be served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. u2013 2 p.m. at the following locations:

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  • Annandale Terrace ES
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  • Bailey’s Primary ES,
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  • Braddock ES
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  • Brookfield ES
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  • Burke School
  • n
  • Centre Ridge ES
  • n
  • Crestwood ES
  • n
  • Cunningham Park ES
  • n
  • Dogwood ES
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  • Garfield ES
  • n
  • Graham Road Community Center
  • n
  • Fort Belvoir Upper ES
  • n
  • Hutchison ES
  • n
  • Hybla Valley ES
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  • London Towne ES
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  • Mount Vernon Woods ES
  • n
  • Providence ES
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  • Weyanoke ES
  • n
n
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Loudoun County Public Schools: Following state guidance, closed until Friday, March 27. Free breakfast and lunch will be served at each school from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., outside the school buildings.

n

Manassas City Schools: Closed until April 14.

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Manassas Park City Schools: Closed until April 14.

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Prince William County Public Schools: Schools are closed until April 14. The district will provide packaged breakfasts and lunches at select locations throughout the county to anyone under the age of 18; Details on locations and times to be announced.

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Maryland

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Montgomery County Public Schools: Following guidance from state officials, MCPS schools will be closed through Friday, March 27. County officials said in a press conference late Thursday that the county is committed to providing students with meals, and conversations about the best way to provide them are ongoing.

n

Prince Georgeu2019s County Public Schools: Schools will be closed through Friday, March 27. Grab and go lunches can be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday at the following locations:

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  • Andrew Jackson Academy
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  • Benjamin Tasker Middle School
  • n
  • Buck Lodge Middle School
  • n
  • Carmody Hills Elementary School
  • n
  • District Heights Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Drew-Freeman Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • Hillcrest Heights Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • J. Frank Dent Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • John Bayne Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Judge Sylvania Woods Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Kenmoor Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • Langley Park-McCormick Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Longfields Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • Nicholas Orem Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • Port Towns Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Samuel Chase Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Stephen Decatur Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • Suitland Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Templeton Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • Thurgood Marshall Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • Walker Mill Middleu00a0School
  • n
  • William Paca Elementaryu00a0School
  • n
  • William Wirt Middleu00a0School
  • n
n
n

This story was updated to include an announcement from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and to include details on five additional schools where free meals will be provided to students.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Officials say 11 schools will open daily to provide free meals to students, and students will engage in distance learning from March 24-31.

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The Northern Virginia school system closures affect more than 47,000 students.

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Lawmakers Consider Financial Protections For Workers, Small Businesses In Response To Coronavirus","content":"

Small businesses and workers would get additional protections and renters would be spared from evictions or utility cutoffs under an emergency bill the D.C. Council will take up next week in response to the state of emergency declared on Wednesday by Mayor Muriel Bowser in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

n

The bill, written by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, addresses both practical and legal issues that have arisen as D.C. has ramped up its response to the growing spread of the coronavirusu2014there are now 10 confirmed positive cases in the cityu2014including whether the cityu2019s lawmakers and neighborhood-level officials should even be meeting in person.

n

The bill would also allow the Council to meet and vote virtually, and authorize Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to cancel meetings during the state of emergency. It would also let Bowser delay her submission of the 2021 budget from March 19 to May 1, or five days after the end of a declared emergency. It would also allow for an extension of a declared emergency from 15 to 30 days before requiring that it be renewed.

n

[For up-to-date coverage of coronavirus in our region, check out DCistu2019s live blog here.]

n

It would also address the issues people are facing who are not able to work because of the coronavirus. The bill would allow workers sidelined by coronavirus to claim unemployment insurance, prohibit an employer from firing someone because they are quarantined or self-quarantining, let businesses file their taxes 90 days late without facing any penalties, and permit Bowser to give small businesses grants to help them manage u201cfinancial distress caused by a reduction of business as a result of the cause of the public health emergency.u201d

n

Landlords would also be prohibited from evicting a tenant during the state of emergency, and no utility could be cut off for non-payment during the same period. D.C.u2019s law prohibiting price gouging during an emergency would be expanded to include a public health emergencyu2014the law currently only says u201cnatural disasteru201du2014and Bowser would gain more flexibility to provide public assistance to residents.

n

Under current law, Bowser gains a number of additional powers during a state of emergency. That includes the ability to evacuate residents to shelters, take or destroy property that poses a general risk, limit business hours and impose a curfew, and impose controls on the prices and sales of goods and services. (When asked on Tuesday if that power could be used to ration goods like hand sanitizer, Bowser said yes. u201cA public emergency, if I declare it, would give me that power,u201d she said.)

n

And most relevant to the coronavirus, a formal state of emergency would let Bowser turn all those recommendations for self-quarantining into enforceable orders. The law would allow her to u201cdetain for medical reasons any person for which there is probable cause to believe that the person is affected with a communicable disease and that the personu2019s presence in the general population is likely to cause death or seriously impact the health of others.u201d

n

Bowser said this week that she has identified a location inside the city where the city could quarantine up to 50 peopleu2014though she wouldnu2019t say where itu2019s located.

n

The Council is expected to vote on the emergency bill on Tuesday.

n

This story originally appeared on WAMU.

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The emergency bill would offer pay to quarantined workers, protect residents from evictions, and allow the D.C. Council to vote virtually.

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An emergency bill before the D.C. Council would give Mayor Muriel Bowser a number of new tools to handle to coronavirus pandemicu2014and allow lawmakers to meet and vote virtually.

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Amid the growing spread of coronavirus in the region,u00a0DCist will suspend publication of our regular events guides. As we adjust to being more home-bound than usual, here are a few ways to keep yourself busy with local resources.

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STREAM A MOVIE:u00a0If you have a DC Public Library Card, you have access to thousands of streaming movies.u00a0On the service Kanopy, once you make your own account, you get access to up to six films per month: Options include Oscar winners like Moonlight, The Hours, and Terms of Endearment, and Oscar-deserving movies like Midsommar, Her Smell and First Reformed. Over at Access Video On Demand, find a selection of documentaries, includingu00a0Ken Burnsu2019 Country Musicu00a0series and plenty of HBO titles. Lori McCue

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GIVE THE KIDS SOMETHING FUN TO WATCH:u00a0Badlands, the kids playspace in Rockville, is temporarily opening a camp for children of parents who have to work. For kids who are staying at home, they’ve also launched a YouTube channel. “Tutorials on crafts and drawings that can be made in-home, drum circles and science shows will be some of the fun programming friends can find,” officials say in a statement. The first five-minute video, on doodling, is available now. —Lori McCue

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UNWIND WITH SOME YOGA:u00a0Bluebird Sky Yoga in Brookland will begin streaming its 12:30 p.m. yoga class via Facebook Live, according to Washingtonian. Classes will be available Monday-Friday, check the studio’s Facebook page for updates. Yoga Heights will be livestreaming its classes this week for free on its YouTube channel, where the studio also has pre-recorded classes you can enjoy from home. Flow Yoga Center will be moving some of its classes to Zoom, offering free streaming to members and providing some “pay-what-you-can” classes.

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Also, anyone with a DC Public Library card can stream videos through Access Video, including its collection of workouts. Clips range from five minutes to more than an hour in length, and include pilates for beginners, weights workouts, yoga flows, and boxing routines. —Lori McCue, Elliot Williams

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READ WHAT LOCAL EXPERTS ARE READING:u00a0With the D.C. public library shut down to public visitors, local bookstores are upping their delivery options. Wondering what to order? WAMU asked local booksellers their recommendations, whether you want to read about D.C., take in a story from a local author, or curl up with a tale that might provide some comfort in a crisis like this. —Lori McCue

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WATCH SOME ART:u00a0The Kennedy Center archives many of its performances in its online catalog: There you can find video of a demonstration and lesson from the dancers of this yearu2019s Sleeping Beauty ballet, Julia Louis-Dreyfusu2019 acceptance speech from the 2018 Mark Twain Comedy Prize ceremony, selections from Lupe Fiascou2019s Kennedy Center debut in November, and more. —Lori McCue

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TAKE A VIRTUAL ART TOUR:u00a0The Smithsonian National Gallery of Art is hosting daily tours, one gallery at a time on Twitter and, providing videos and photos of galleries on its website. —u00a0Elliot Williams

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LEARN TO DRAW:u00a0Kennedy Center’s first-ever Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willemsu00a0is inviting viewers virtually into his illustration studio every day at 1 p.m. for a LUNCH DODDLE.u00a0 This online video series will walk fellow artists through Willems’ process as he draws, illustrates, and doddles. So, grab some paper and crayons and do some doodling! —Matt Blitz

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LISTEN TO A BOOK IN D.C. …: The libraryu2019s catalog of audiobooks and ebooks is available through the Libby app. Download it to your phone or tablet, enter your library card information, and you can rent immediately. Note that like with physical items, there are only so many digital copies of things to go around, and wait lists can be lengthy for popular titles. —Lori McCue

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… OR IN ARLINGTON: Arlington Public Library also hasu00a0a collection of audiobooks, including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning 800 page biography on Ulysses S. Grant and the 2014 New York Times bestseller Big Little Lies, available and ready to be listened to. Just like D.C. Public Library, you can get an APL account even if you don’t live in Arlington. Library accounts are available foru00a0those who live in surrounding jurisdictions (including D.C., the City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, and Prince George’s County). You don’t even have to go to the library to get it.u00a0Apply online here for a temporary account number that can be used for 30 days —Matt Blitz

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BROWSE SMITHSONIAN ARCHIVES:u00a0While all of the Smithsonian museums remain open as of this writing, it was just last month that the venerable institution releasedu00a0nearly 3 million images of their collections into the public domain and available for anybody to download, transform, and share without permission. This means you can create your very own meme or work of art using the 3D digitization of theu00a0Apollo 11’s Columbia crew hatch, any one of the 17 collection items related tou00a0baseball great Jackie Robinson, or an image of Susan B. Anthony’s inkstandMatt Blitz

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BROWSE SOME MAGAZINES: The library also has a digital news racku00a0with stacks of the latest (e) magazines ready for you to peruse like Bon Appu00e9tit, the New Yorker, and Popular Mechanics. It’s just like going to Hudson News at the airport, except well … social distancing. —Matt Blitz

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From left, Robbie Lee, Dave Mohl, Abby Sevcik, and Greg Pauley of Mystery FriendsMoy Dumadag

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JAM TO SOME LOCAL MUSIC: Concerts continue to be cancelled or postponed across town, but you can still keep up with local artists. Weu2019ve made a Spotify playlist of all the local artists nominated for a Wammie—a.k.a. a local Grammy—this year. Artists in the array of genres include Killa Cal, Oh He Dead, Seldom Scene, Rare Essence, and more. Go forth and shuffle! —Lori McCue

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LEARN SOMETHING NEW: While stuck at home, you might as well learn how to speak Arabic. Alexandria Library offers free online learning apps and tools for learning a new language, including American Sign Language. Alexandria Public Library also provides other apps, tools, and tutorials that gives access to a host of other online tools, like legal classes and crafting courses. Alexandra Public Library also provides account to those living in surrounding jurisdictions andu00a0one can apply for a card online. However, that account number expires in 14 days and won’t provide access to the online courses. In order to get that, one must go into a branch of the library —Matt Blitz

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PLAY THE NEWSPAPER GAME: While sequestered home, you can look throughu00a0DCPL’s archival newspapers to play my favorite game: Name that News Headline! Like, what was the Washington Post’s front-page headline two decades ago today? “Dot-Coms’ Changing Frontier”—I win! Or the Baltimore Sun’s on March 12th, 2010. If you had, “Talk of budget cut escalates,” then give yourself (and only yourself) a high-five —Matt Blitz

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DO SOME VIRTUAL NATIONAL MALL AEROBICS: You know how yoga videos are filmed on a balcony over the beach, with the gentle breeze in the background? This aerobics video is like that, but with the National Mall and the Washington Monument as your backdrop, and with no gentle breeze to be found. Fitness instructor Jenny Ford has dozens of videos on her YouTube channel, but this one was filmed on a partly cloudy day in the District. All you need is a shallow step, a spare 25 minutes, and an eagle eye for spotting the occasional tourist in the background. Itu2019s like you’re really there! —Lori McCue

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SWEAT AWAY THE STRESS:

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IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS IN MUSIC TRIVIA:u00a0On Monday night at 7 p.m., Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe is hosting an online music trivia night on Facebook Live. As the organizers say, expect a few curveballs, brush up on your music knowledge … “Wikipedia is a good resource.” —u00a0Elliot Williams

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WATCH A MOVIE SET IN D.C.

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Love Dot Com: The Social Experiment: This is your typical boy-meets-girl-at-the MOMu2019s Organic Market-in-Ivy City, girl-finds-out-boy-is-buying-her-apartment-building, gogo-soundtracked rom-com. Filmed in the District and directed by Charneice Fox, this movie, available on Netflix, is like a game of I Spy for D.C. locations. —Lori McCue

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How Do You Know?:This romantic comedy sounds exactly like the kind of movie I’d love: Reese Witherspoon, playing a down-on-her-luck professional softball player, is romantically torn between Owen Wilson, a Nationals pitcher working his way through the idea of monogamy, and Paul Rudd, whose character is the subject of a federal investigation. A rom com set in D.C. with that killer castu2014what could go wrong? A lot! The film bombed at the box office and, if you watch it, you’ll see why. One major recurring joke is that MetroBuses come so frequently that characters are constantly interrupted right before they’re about to speak their heart’s true desire. Which is hilarious, just not in the way filmmakers intended. Honestly, this movie is so much less than the sum of its parts, but it’s still fun to watch the characters in places like Adams Morgan (they filmed on location) and who among us doesn’t like a crappy rom com? To watch How Do You Know? you’ll have to make a $3-$4 commitment to rent on sites like Amazon Prime, Youtube, Vudu, or iTunes. —Rachel Kurzius

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Lost Holiday: Feeling nostalgic for D.C. nightlife gone by? Stream this noir-ish comedy from directors Thomas and Michael Matthews, about a young woman home in the D.C. area for the holidays who gets caught up in the disappearance of a local socialite. Starring Kate Lyn Sheil and Thomas Matthews with a supporting performance from Chidi William Jackson Harper, see scenes set at Hank Dietleu2019s Tavern, The Pinch, and ZooLights. Lost Holiday is available to rent on Amazon Prime or YouTube. —Lori McCue

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D.C. Cab: Our locally filmed movies donu2019t get much more campy than this Joel Schumacher-directed flick from 1983. In it, Adam Baldwin (no relation to Alec, et al) stars as a D.C. cabbie whose colleagues include Mr. T and Gary Busey. Thereu2019s a missing violin, a love story, and a kidnapping subplot involving a diplomatu2019s family. Like the others, D.C. Cab filmed all over town. This oneu2019s available to rent on Amazon Prime. —Lori McCue

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This post will be updated with more resources as they become available.u00a0

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Resources from the library, area arts institutions, and more.

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Have fun without leaving the safety of your laptop or phone screen.

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Pixie","source_url":"https://unsplash.com/photos/Kfs-rQB6dl4"},"postMeta":{"inCollectionId":"4834160","showDCistStoryAppeal":true,"person":"2008053","secondaryImage":{"type":"","data":""},"titleOverride":false,"urlOrigin":false},"audio":{"postPermalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/free-ways-to-watch-movies-listen-to-audiobooks-and-otherwise-keep-busy-at-home/"},"beat":"Arts & Entertainment","beatSlug":"arts-entertainment","slug":{"name":"","permalink":"#","categoryName":"","providerClass":"provider-wamu","flagSlug":"","flagText":""},"promoted":"","headMeta":{"title":"These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"Resources from the library, area arts institutions, and more. ","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/free-ways-to-watch-movies-listen-to-audiobooks-and-otherwise-keep-busy-at-home/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/content-pixie-Kfs-rQB6dl4-unsplash-1024x683.jpg","width":1024,"height":683},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4833793,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/food-banks-prepare-for-heightened-demand-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/","title":"Food Banks Prepare For Heightened Demand Amid Coronavirus Outbreak","content":"

More people are heading to grocery stores to fill their pantries in the event they have to stay home for long periods of time as the coronavirus spreads throughout the D.C. region. But for those who donu2019t have that ability, nonprofits and food banks are stepping up to help fill the void.

n

The Capital Area Food Bank has ordered an extra 34,000 pounds of food in anticipation of higher demand for food assistance. Part of that effort involves preparing contingency distribution plans so services can continue to reach some of the regionu2019s most vulnerable populations.

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u201cWe do anticipate that there may be some supply chain disruptions u2026 for certain members of our community, and so it might make food just that much harder to come by,u201d says Radha Muthiah, the food banku2019s CEO. u201cWe want to be prepared to provide them food when they need it.u201d

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The additional order of both non-perishable and fresh foods by the regionu2019s largest food assistance organization amounts to a week of meals u2014 breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days u2014 for about 1,000 people.

n

[D.C. businesses and workers are bracing for the impact of coronavirus]

n

The group provides food directly to clients, and through its more than 450 community-based partners. It reaches more than 400,000 people in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, including more than 9,000 senior citizens. The areas of greatest need are Wards 7 and 8 in the District and Marylandu2019s Prince Georgeu2019s County, according to the organizationu2019s hunger heat map.

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So far, Muthiah says, Capital Area Food Bank hasnu2019t had any problems procuring what it needs. Its main concern is the pipeline of food to its clients u2014 many of whom are service industry workers who will be disproportionately affected if there is a prolonged economic downturn.

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Things like the cancellation of conferences and decline in tourism means reduced paychecks u2014 or no paycheck at all u2014 for many who receive assistance, according to Muthiah.

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As of now, the food bank u2014 along with a number of other large groups like Marthau2019s Table, Bread for the City and Northern Virginia Family Service u2014 has no plans to cancel upcoming markets or other distribution activities or services.

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Meeting Basic Needs Remains u2018Top Priorityu2019

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Like other organizations, Northern Virginia Family Service plans to remain open as long as possible. The group provides a wide range of food, medical, legal and employment services to thousands of clients annually, mostly in Falls Church and Fairfax and Prince William counties. About 10,000 people u2014 half of them children u2014 receive food assistance through the organization.

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u201cOur top priority is identifying creative and safe ways to continue to ensure the most basic needs (food and shelter) of the 42,000 people we serve each year can continue to be met,u201d said Stephanie Berkowitz, the groupu2019s president and CEO in an email to WAMU.

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The organization is looking at ways to deliver services remotely, like job coaching and housing counseling. Berkowitz says they are considering other options, such as purchasing phone minutes to low-cost digital devices for clients with the most pressing needs who donu2019t have internet connections.

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u201cWe are still early in this process and have innumerable considerations still in front us u2026while balancing the reality that we are in the midst of a public health crisis and need to respond accordingly,u201d Berkowitz said. u201cThis becomes increasingly critical, as many of our clients have limited resources to withstand an extended crisis.u201d

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Volunteers Are Canceling Amid Outbreak Fears

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Radha Muthiah with the Capital Area Food Bank says volunteers are canceling their shifts just as the group needs more workers to help package and distribute the extra supplies.

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In the past few days, at least four different groups have canceled plans to volunteer at the food banku2019s warehouse. Even with about 120 staff members, 80 to 100 volunteers help out per day on an average week.

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u201cThat is a growing concern for us. We can manage it today, tomorrow. But itu2019s unclear how this will play out,u201d she says.

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Muthiah says the group is planning ahead in case some of its partners u2014 faith-based institutions, for instance u2014 need to shut down or volunteers donu2019t feel comfortable coming out. Itu2019s in the process of identifying several dozen partners with robust operations that can continue operating in the event of more widespread closures u2014 all with an eye toward ensuring geographical reach and areas of high need. And in the worst-case scenario, Muthiah says they would work in conjunction with government emergency centers.

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Going forward, itu2019s likely that more food will need to be pre-packaged and boxed, instead of picked out and purchased in market-like settings due to health concerns.

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In that case, Muthiah says, u201cwe will absolutely need more volunteers.u201d

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Capital Area Food Banku2019s community-based partners like Marthau2019s Table u2014 which has locations in Northwest and Southeast D.C. u2014 are already making similar moves, shifting to a pre-packaged, pre-bagged model of distributing food, and planning alternate ways of getting food to clients in the event of disruptions.

n

If schools close, for instance, Marthau2019s Table is making plans to get food to the more than 150 children enrolled in its education programs.

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u201cWe want people to know that weu2019re actually working to expand services at this time,u201d says Whitney Faison, the groupu2019s associate communications director.

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u201cOur mission is to continue to do what we are doing and also be there for folks who need us most right now,u201d Faison says.

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This story first appeared on WAMU. Jenny Gathright contributed reporting.

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

From buying thousands of pounds of food to increasing volunteers — how local food assistance groups are trying to meet a growing need.

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Lisa Hale, a volunteer with the Capital Area Food Bank, stocks shelves at the food bank in Washington in this file photo.

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AP Photo

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Cleaning Companies Have Been Flooded With Coronavirus Calls","content":"

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the D.C. region, many people have begun working from home, ordering takeout, and skipping social events to minimize their chances of being exposed to the contagious bug. But social distancing isnu2019t an option for everyone.

n

Cleaning crews have been on the front lines of helping contain the virusu2014disinfecting homes, schools, and businessesu2014and many are receiving even more calls for service than usual. While some crews are highly trained to respond to an outbreak, not all are.

n

At last count, D.C. had 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency to respond to the virus on Wednesday.

n

Because of the nature of their work, cleaning professionals can be exposed to many biological hazards, including bacteria, mold, and viruses even without the existence of a global pandemic, according to research. Now, those workers are the ones tasked with making public spaces safe for others.

n

Several D.C. public schools temporarily closed this week for deep cleanings over fears that students or staff members had been exposed to coronavirus. Likewise, on Tuesday, the private Georgetown Day School was closed for a deep cleaning. Officials at the school didnu2019t respond to DCistu2019s questions about which company was hired to disinfect the campus.

n

Earlier this week, the D.C. Health Department asked hundreds of members of Christ Church Georgetown to self-quarantine after two parishioners tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. Rob Volmer, a spokesperson for the church, says he immediately notified health officials about the results. u201cUnfortunately, it took them 24 hours to get back to us,u201d Volmer tells DCist. u201cConsidering this was the first case in D.C.u2014not good.u201d

n

The church is scheduled to be sanitized next week, according to Volmer. But he wasnu2019t immediately able to identify which company was hired to conduct the cleaning, which he says was set up by city health officials.

n

D.C. Health didnu2019t answer several calls and emails from DCist requesting information about its protocol for coronavirus clean-ups.

n

At Aftermath, a company that specializes in biohazard clean-up and operates in the D.C. area, the phones apparently have been ringing nonstop.

n

u201cWe have been quite overwhelmed with the coronavirus calls,u201d Tina Bao, the companyu2019s chief revenue officer, tells DCist. u201cWeu2019re getting phone calls from all sorts of small business owners all the way up to multi-billion dollar companies.u201d Bao says business inquiries have more than doubled in the last few weeks, with Aftermath now receiving over 100 calls daily for possible coronavirus cases, both in and outside the region.

n

Aftermath workers are armed with fully encapsulated hazmat suits, full-face respirators, and an arsenal of powerful chemicals approved by the Center for Disease Control. The company, which is headquartered in Chicago and has 41 U.S. locations, also trains its employees on safety issues, following a 28-point checklist to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

n

Once Aftermath crews disinfect a location, the company tracks and incinerates any waste, such as towels and respirator cartridges. u201cWe are packaging it, handling it, and disposing of it as if it was medical waste,u201d Bao says. u201cWe can’t just dump it in a landfill. We can’t dump it in the dumpster.u201d

n

With coronavirus in particular, the company treats disinfection jobs as if the disease were actually present, u201ceven if it’s not a confirmed case,u201d she adds.

n

While companies that offer less-intensive cleaning services donu2019t usually provide workers with as much protection as biohazard experts, they, too, are getting called to disinfect homes and businesses.

n

Maria Serrano, 39, cleans homes in Northern Virginia with a small crew of five women called Yeseniau2019s Cleaning Services. She said that the outbreak hasnu2019t affected her work much yet, but that sheu2019s preparing for every scenario. u201cFor the momentu2013u2013thank godu2013u2013everything is fine,u201d she tells DCist in Spanish. u201cThe virus hasnu2019t affected me at all.u201d

n

With two children and a homeowneru2019s loan, Serrano is bracing for tough times. u201cWe have to prepare economically, because if work cancels, we wonu2019t be able to do anything about it,u201d she says. u201cWe need to prepare so we can have money to buy food, and everything else weu2019ll needu2013u2013like paying our mortgage. Itu2019s important.u201d

n

Serrano says one client recently canceled because of the flu, so sheu2019s being cautious and following best practices, like washing her hands regularly and disinfecting surfaces. u201cThe truth is no one knows for sure who may have the virus and who may simply have the flu,u201d she says.

n

Though her clients feel like u201cfamily,u201d she doesnu2019t think she could clean for someone that may have been exposed to coronavirus.

n

At IQ Cleaning, a D.C.-based company with more than 50 employees in the area, workers typically clean individual homes. But in light of coronavirus concerns, thereu2019s been a recent uptick in requests from business entities, according to Nicole Jones, a manager at the company.

n

u201cWe’re getting more commercial calls right now to come into businesses that have chosen to shut down their offices in order to have it sanitized,u201d she says.

n

As a precaution, the company has been asking customersu2014especially those who request a deep cleaningu2014if theyu2019ve been exposed. u201cWe are asking directly if theyu2019ve come into contact with the virus or if there are any confirmed cases, just to make sure that we can do our due diligence,u201d says Jones.

n

Should a customer say yes, IQ Cleaning wonu2019t provide them service, Jones explains. Taking clients at their word offers no guarantees, she says, but the company wants to do everything possible to keep its workers and others safe. Still, clients have been u201cvery cautious not to use the C-word,u201d Jones says. For peace of mind, workers at IQ Cleaning are offered facemasks, along with standard cleaning gear like gloves and booties.

n

Meanwhile, Maico Kasmirski, the owner of a small D.C. business called MK Cleaning Services, tells DCist heu2019s providing his employees with extra disposable rags, gloves, and booties, asking them to wash their hands often. u201cIu2019m worried, yes I am,u201d he says. u201cBut, you know, we have to work, right? I cannot be sitting like CNN, just talking about [the outbreak].u201d

n

u201cWhou2019s gonna pay our bills?u201d Kasmirski says. u201cHow are people going to survive?u201d

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

u201cIu2019m worried, yes I am,u201d says the owner of a small cleaning company. u201cBut, you know, we have to work, right?”

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Aftermath clean-up crews work from a mobile sanitization vehicle.

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Aftermath","producer":false,"source_url":false},"postMeta":{"inCollectionId":"4834160","showDCistStoryAppeal":true,"person":"4804763","secondaryImage":{"type":"","data":""},"titleOverride":false,"urlOrigin":false},"audio":{"postPermalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/d-c-cleaning-companies-have-been-flooded-with-coronavirus-calls/"},"beat":"News","beatSlug":"news","slug":{"name":"","permalink":"#","categoryName":"","providerClass":"provider-wamu","flagSlug":"","flagText":""},"promoted":"","headMeta":{"title":"These Local Resources Help People Deal With Stress And Anxiety | DCist","description":"u201cIu2019m worried, yes I am,u201d says the owner of a small cleaning company. u201cBut, you know, we have to work, right?"","canonical":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/d-c-cleaning-companies-have-been-flooded-with-coronavirus-calls/","featured_image":{"url":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/coronaviruscleaning_web-1024x618.jpg","width":1024,"height":618},"image":"https://dcist.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/08/dcist-default-og-image-1.png"}},{"ID":4833762,"guid":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/d-c-workers-and-businesses-are-bracing-for-devastating-impacts-of-coronavirus/","title":"D.C. Workers And Businesses Are Bracing For u2018Devastatingu2019 Impacts Of Coronavirus","content":"

For Canden Arciniega, March is the start of the busiest u2014 and most profitable u2014 time of the year. As a part owner of Free Tours on Foot, she can usually expect to have 20 to 30 tours scheduled every day through June. This Wednesday, 10 groups canceled on her.

n

And more cancellations are rolling in.

n

u201cThe groups that are canceling for the end of May and June, I want to say like, u2018Please wait. Donu2019t make that decision yet,u2019u201d she says. u201cBut at the same time I have kids, I understand. Itu2019s very hard to separate my personal opinions and my opinions as a business owner.u201d

n

Growing concerns over the global spread of the coronavirus have come to the Washington region. A state of emergency has been declared in D.C. and Maryland as officials tally cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. And those concerns could well infect the areau2019s broader economy, especially as residents opt to stay in and visitors choose to stay awayu2014or are prohibited from traveling.

n

For local industries and small businesses, the effects of these restrictions u2014 a tourism slowdown, canceled conferences and events, and a general aversion to public places and large gatherings u2014 have already begun. Business owners and workers in the hotel industry, restaurants, and independent consulting operations are bracing themselves for the potentially devastating ramifications of an uncharacteristically slow spring and summer season.

n

In a letter to city leaders in February, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt said a u201cdisruption to tourismu2026 would be felt immediately in sales tax receipts from restaurant and hotel stays.u201d According to Destination D.C., the cityu2019s tourism arm, in 2018 the 23.4 million visitors brought in $851 million in tax revenue and helped sustain more than 75,000 jobs.

n

Arciniega says business has been slower than usual since February, when fears about the coronavirus began taking hold in the United States. But the cancellations began in earnest at the end of last week, as the number of cases in the U.S. ticked upward and people became more hesitant to travel. Arciniega says she is scrambling to process the rush of cancellations, and her company is straining beneath the requests for refunds.

n

u201cItu2019s kind of soul crushing daily trying to figure out if I should still be encouraging people to come to D.C.,u201d Arciniega says, noting that sheu2019s not a public health expert and she doesnu2019t know how safe it is for people to travel. u201cBut at the same time, I canu2019t survive if they donu2019t.u201d

n

The slowdown in tourism will also likely affect local restaurants and small businesses, which were preparing to come out of the slow winter season. Millions of people visit the District in the spring, many for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which usually takes place this month. DC Health released an advisory Wednesday recommending that all non-essential mass gatherings (of 1,000 people or more) be postponed through March 31 or canceled entirely u2014 and that includes events linked to the festival.

n

u201cThatu2019s probably the busiest time for us. Anything that will slow down the cherry blossom season will affect our business dramatically,u201d says Vinh Ngo, owner of Honest Abeu2019s Souvenir Shop across from Fordu2019s Theatre. u201cIf tourists are not coming the times that we need them, itu2019ll impact us financially down the line. You have to deal with rent, you have to deal with wages.u201d

n

The same goes for other locally owned businesses, including bars and restaurants.

n

u201cD.C. is a huge tourist destination, and the spring quarter is without a doubt the busiest quarter of the year,u201d says David Winer of EatWell DC, a restaurant group with four restaurants in the city: Grillfish, Logan Tavern, Commissary and The Pig. u201cWithout it being a successful quarter, it is really hard for the rest of the year to be profitable.u201d

n

Winer says he has seen a slight downturn in business this month already, and heu2019s expecting it to get worse. He says itu2019s possible that people living in D.C. will have a u201cbunker mentalityu201d due to the virus, declining to go out to eat and drink. The worst case scenario for him is that the restaurant industry as a whole is shut down for several weeks due to quarantines (much like those imposed in Italy). He says this would be u201cdevastatingu201d for him and many others.

n

In preparation, Winer says he has imposed a moratorium on hiring except for essential staff, even though this is normally prime hiring time. Smaller crews will be working the restaurants, and some seating areas will have to be closed off, Winer says. He will also be postponing repairs and nonessential purchases.

n

u201cWe were planning on refurbishing a couple of the patios this spring and thatu2019s been put on hold,u201d he says. u201cWe can live with slightly battered furniture for another season.u201d

n

Hotels, too, are feeling the impacts of the coronavirus. Large events and professional conferences drive a lot of revenue for hotels in the District, says Benjy Cannon, a spokesperson for Unite Local 25, a union that represents local hotel, restaurant, and casino workers in the D.C. area.

n

u201cA lot of our members are already contending with layoffs and fear that with cancellations, it could get worse,u201d Cannon says.

n

One Local 25 member, Rickea Luster, says sheu2019s expecting work to slow down significantly in the coming weeks. Luster works as a banquet cook at the Marriott Marquis in Mount Vernon Square, and says there have already been several dropouts and cancellations for events at the hotel in the last several days.

n

u201cItu2019s not having a direct impact yet because this week Iu2019ve still been working, but I have to have in mind that in the coming weeks I wonu2019t be able to,u201d she says. Sheu2019s expecting that sheu2019ll be working anywhere from zero to 24 hours per week in the coming weeks, during a busy time of year where sheu2019s normally working 40.

n

u201cIu2019m trying to figure out how long we think this is going to last, because I have to save up for rent coming up next month, car notes and stuff,u201d she says.

n

Pascal Forotti, the managing director of the Watergate Hotel, says that they too have seen a dropoff in big group reservations. Many of those groups are moving their reservations to a later time in the year, Forotti says.

n

u201cIndividual travelers are still booking, still coming to D.C.,u201d he says. u201cBut itu2019s just the larger groups that are postponing D.C. right now.u201d

n

This hits another significant part of D.C.u2019s lodging options u2014 Airbnb. Lynette Craig lives in Brookland but owns a home in Eastern Market that she rents out on the homesharing service. On Tuesday, she woke up to two cancellations u2014 and then four more rolled in.

n

u201cIu2019m a stay-at-home mom, this is basically the income that I bring into the household. This is the high season, so this is damaging me pretty seriously if they keep canceling on me,u201d she says.

n

Other D.C. industries that heavily depend on conferences are also likely to be hit hard in the crisis, namely consulting firms and independent consultants who get paid to speak at conferences or who do crucial networking there.

n

u201cLast year, my companyu2019s revenue suffered as a result of the government shutdown, because a lot of the federal government people did not show up [to conferences], and that basically meant a big hit to my bottom line,u201d says Renee Leduc, a consultant who owns Narayan Strategy, a company that consults to the government on climate, weather, and aerospace policy. u201cI was feeling sort of reassured this year, but now Iu2019m feeling like oh my gosh, things are going to start to be canceled.u201d

n

The number of COVID-19 cases in the District will almost certainly continue to tick upwards in the coming weeks and months, and itu2019s still unclear how day-to-day life in the city will be affected. Many upcoming events, including the annual St. Patricku2019s Day Parade, have already been canceled, and arts organizations have been forced to cancel shows, galas, and events that are huge revenue drivers.

n

For local businesses and their employees, the next several months will be largely about hunkering down to get through a leaner spring than they could have anticipated.

n

u201cIf we can hold on and get to the other side, I think thatu2019s the most important thing in front of us now for the next three months,u201d Winer says. u201cHold on and get to the other side.u201d

n","paginatedContent":[],"excerpt":"

Millions of people visit the District in the spring, but self-quarantines and restrictions on travel may lead to a slow tourist season.

n","permalink":"https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/d-c-workers-and-businesses-are-bracing-for-devastating-impacts-of-coronavirus/","currentSlug":"d-c-workers-and-businesses-are-bracing-for-devastating-impacts-of-coronavirus","created":"2020-03-12T12:41:01","modified":"2020-03-12T19:21:56","time":"Mar 12","timestamp":1584016861,"timestampGMT":1584031261,"imageData":{"caption":"

Spring is the start of a busy tourist season in D.C., but many local establishments fear a loss of business due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

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