Coronavirus update: DC closes market at Wharf after evidence of overcrowding on Saturday

A sign posted at a market stall at the Fisherman’s Market at The Wharf in Southwest D.C.

The latest

  • Overnight, bright orange emergency closure signs were posted at the Fisherman’s Market within The Wharf complex in D.C. after multiple reports of overcrowding on Saturday.
  • There are over 7,000 known cases of COVID-19 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia as of Sunday morning. Virginia added 230 new cases, Maryland added 484 and D.C. 96 overnight.
  • The Cherry Blossom runs were scheduled for Sunday. There’s still time to run your 5k or 10-miler and get credit for your time, virtually. Learn how to submit your results by midnight.
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, warned that Washington, D.C., among other major cities, may see COVID-19-related deaths rise sharply. She called the next two weeks “extraordinarily important.”
  • Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, warned Americans this would be “the hardest and saddest week” of their lives. There are over 300,000 infections and 8,500 deaths in the U.S.
  • Metro announced that it is further reducing rail and bus hours starting Monday, April 6, to limit workers’ exposure to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Health officials say that if you have these symptoms, you should call your doctor. Don’t just show up. Medical facilities need to get ready for you. If you don’t have a doctor and you live in D.C. or the nearby Maryland suburbs, D.C.’s mayor recommends calling Mary’s Center at 844-796-2797. If you live in Virginia, call 211.

DCRA closes fisherman’s market at The Wharf 

Videos, photos and screenshots posted on social media Saturday showed hundreds of people packed close together at the historic Fisherman’s Market within The Wharf complex along the southwest waterfront on Saturday.

The images prompted D.C. to issue an emergency closure order.

A packed Fisherman’s Market.

Overnight, bright orange signs were posted on businesses informing vendors and customers of an emergency closure notice effective until at least April 24th.

Deputy mayor John Falcicchio posted the video below on Twitter, showing the signs.


The move was applauded by local celebrity chef Jose Andres, who tweeted “Thank you for taking serious action! This is hard but will save lives and keep all @washingtondc safe.”

The signs cite D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s stay-at-home order closing down all but essential businesses and calling for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The order says that the businesses are subject to civil, criminal and administrative penalties if the closure notices are not followed. Last week, the Wharf said that many of their businesses and public spaces were to remain open with changes to how often they were sanitized.

Over 7,000 known COVID-19 cases in the region

There are more than 7,000 known cases of COVID-19 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia as of Sunday morning. Virginia added 230 new cases, Maryland added 484 and D.C. added 96 overnight.

The total cases in D.C. are now at 998, with 22 deaths, including a 76-year-old woman reported in the update Sunday.

In Virginia, the total sits at 2637 cases with 51 deaths. In Maryland, there have been 67 deaths, and 3,609 cases.

Maryland reports almost 25,000 tests have come back negative for COVID-19. In Carroll County, an update posted on Saturday reported three new deaths of residents at the Pleasant View Nursing Home, all with underlying conditions. The residents who died were a man in his 60s and two women in their 80s.

A woman at Carroll Lutheran Village in her 90s also passed away.

Maryland observes moment of prayer and reflection

In an effort to further safeguard the lives of residents in Maryland’s nursing homes, Gov. Larry Hogan enacted an emergency order on Sunday that required all staff to wear personal protective equipment.

In addition, the order makes arrangements for expedited COVID-19 tests through the state’s public health lab for samples coming out of nursing homes. Facilities must make separation units available for those who are suspected of having COVID-19 and those who care for them.

The order is designed to mitigate the effects of the virus on the state’s most vulnerable population, a release detailing the directives read.

More Coronavirus News


Renowned University of Maryland art professor dies

David C. Driskell, a distinguished art professor at the University of Maryland since 1977, died recently of complications from COVID-19. He was 88. Driskell was an expert in the field of African American art, according to a release from the university.

The University of Maryland established the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora in 2001. Driskell retired in 1998.

He received the National Humanities Medal in 2000. He was last on campus on March 3 for a lecture. See more about Driskell in a release from the university.


Maryland observes moment of prayer and reflection

At noon on Sunday, Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan led the state in a “moment of prayer and reflection.”

Hogan, in a tweet, wrote: “Let us give strength and comfort to one another. Let us pray for each other, for our state, for our nation, and for all the people suffering around the world.”

Hogan issued a proclamation about the observance “in the spirit of solidarity and reflection” in response to a “worldwide crisis.”


WTOP’s Valerie Bonk contributed to this report.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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