Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Washington, DC, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay at home, nonessential businesses to close, through May 15.

This alert affects Washington, DC

This alert began 15 Apr 2020 20:13 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): District of Columbia (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 15
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the city's stay-at-home order and closure of nonessential businesses through at least May 15 as part of the national capital's effort to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The orders, which were initially set to expire April 24, stipulate that residents may only leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend to medical issues, access essential government services, or go to work at an essential business or service. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational and fitness activities, provided they comply with social distancing guidelines. Businesses that may continue operating include pharmacies, grocery stores, healthcare facilities, and banks, as well as those in the energy, telecommunications, agriculture, transport, construction, media, and security industries. Essential government services will continue to be provided. Nonessential businesses can operate only with their employees working from home.

Additionally, Washington, DC authorities have ordered that, from April 17 through May 15, workers and customers wear protective face masks inside hotels, taxis and app-based ride-hailing services, and grocery stores. Users of public transport are strongly encouraged to wear protective face masks.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Washington, DC, authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments, in the US and globally, in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Washington, DC Government - Orders Extension: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/

Washington, DC Government - Closure Order: coronavirus.dc.gov

Washington, DC Government - Stay at Home Order: mayor.dc.gov

Washington, DC Government - Coronavirus Updates: coronavirus.dc.gov