Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Washington, DC, US, extend stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures through June 8.

This alert affects Washington, DC

This alert began 13 May 2020 21:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): District of Columbia (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June 8
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the city's stay-at-home order and closure of nonessential businesses through at least June 8 as part of her administration's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The orders, which were set to expire May 15, 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. Gatherings of 10 people or more will remain banned.

Additionally, Washington, DC, authorities have extended orders for workers and customers to wear protective face masks whenever they enter an essential business or service. Users of public and private transport must also wear protective face masks, including when they enter train or metro stations.

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.

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.

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