Important State of Emergency Information

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                                        March 12, 2020



Yesterday, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency for the District of Columbia due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19. Currently, 10 District residents have tested positive and measures have been put into place for containment and testing of those who may have been exposed.  The State of Emergency will allow the Mayor to utilize federal resources similar to when a natural disaster occurs.

All residents are encouraged to frequently visit to become updated on all latest developments.


DC Health Department recommends that non-essential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions, be postponed or cancelled. Mass gatherings are defined as events where 1,000 or more people congregate in a specific location. They also recommend that any social, cultural, or entertainment events where large crowds are anticipated be reconsidered by the organizer. This recommendation is in effect through March 31.

DC Public Schools will close this coming Monday, March 16 to train teachers on distance instructional contingency plans in the event that schools are closed for an extended period of time and has closed or placed restrictions on all non-essential District-wide and individual school events.

The Council of the District of Columbia is preparing emergency legislation that will provide needed funds and relief provisions similar to the 35-day Federal government shutdown we experienced in January 2019. The emergency legislation will grant the Mayor various powers during the course of the public health emergency with regard to public health, safety as well as additional and consumer protection provisions to protect residents during this time including prohibitions on utility shutoffs and evictions.

The Office of Attorney General has shared information to protect yourself from scams and fraud. Beware of emails claiming to be from the CDC or experts saying that they have information about the virus.

Closures and Cancellations I am aware that many venues, events and activities are canceling, closing or postponing. These include religious services, sports arenas, parades and community meetings.  NBC Washington has a listing of some cancellations and closures.


The symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 are fever and respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and shortness of breath. It is incumbent upon all of us to play a role in "flattening the curve" of this disease. There are several steps you can take to help prevent the spread of this respiratory disease: 

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Get the flu vaccine

Self assessment