What businesses can stay open in DC?


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered nonessential businesses in the District to close starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 1. That means tours, salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, gyms and other services not related to emergency response will be closed.

Nonessential businesses can continue to telework, Bowser said in her order.

Here’s a breakdown:

What stays open in DC

  • Health care and public health operations like hospitals, clinics, dentists and medical marijuana dispensaries;
  • Grocery stores, supermarkets, *licensed farmers markets,  food banks, convenience stores and liquor stores;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers;
  • Restaurants and other businesses that prepare and serve food — but only for delivery or carryout. The order includes food trucks;
  • Gas stations and auto repair shops;
  • Financial institutions like banks and credit unions;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver goods to consumers;
  • Taxis, ride-sharing services and other private transportation businesses;
  • Housing and living facilities, including hotels (but no conference facilities);
  • Essential infrastructure such as public works and utilities.

Bowser’s full order is available at D.C.’s website.

*A new D.C. order on April 9 no longer considers farmers markets and fish markets to be essential.

Read the April 9 order.

More Coronavirus News

Bowser’s decision followed similar moves made by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

Under previous orders from D.C.’s Health Department, restaurants and bars have been forced to close dine-in services, offering takeout and delivery only. In addition, gyms, theaters, cafeterias and night clubs were also previously ordered closed until April 27, under an order to limit large gatherings.

Bowser announced that the National Guard and D.C. police would block roads near the National Mall and Tidal Basin in an attempt to limit large crowds visiting the cherry blossoms.

Bowser still has not issued a shelter-in-place order, arguing that limiting the number of places people can go is enough, at least for now.

“We have shut down, virtually, economic activity in our region,” she said Tuesday. “That is how we’ll flatten the curve.”

Stay-at-home order issued

On Monday, April 1, a stay-at-home order was enacted that restricts residents of the District from leaving their homes except for approved reasons.

On Wednesday, April 15, Bowser extended the stay-at-home order through the middle of May.

In addition, nonessential businesses, such as gyms, hair salons and clothing stores, as well as the District’s public schools, will also be closed through at least May 15.

See the full list of restrictions and exceptions on D.C.’s website.

WTOP’s Jack Moore and Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up