As coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout the region, District officials said at a Monday news conference that they don’t plan to reinstate a stay-at-home order for D.C. yet.
Their reasoning is simple: People probably won’t follow it.
D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said that her office could move “to a stay-at-home posture. But that would not necessarily be widely acceptable by the residents of our community.”
“And the degree to which we get adherents to that immediately may also be debatable, now nine months into the response,” she added.
Asked about how compliance has been for wearing face masks, as well as mask enforcement and penalties, Mayor Muriel Bowser said D.C. residents and businesses have been “amazing.” But she added that mask compliance during the holidays has been difficult.
“And we still have a few more months of this and going into the cold weather, all of that I think has been difficult for people,” Bowser said. “We have a wonderful suite of guidance. But the thing about human beings, they will be human beings.”
- Sign up for WTOP alerts
- Latest coronavirus test results in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Are you stockpiling necessities again? Some have regrets
- Why Black Americans don’t trust a coronavirus vaccine
- Md. health dept. procurement chief fired in midst of Korean test kit controversy
High school sports
D.C. announced more adjustments to its Phase Two reopening plan as well Monday, specifically prohibiting high-contact sports:
- Martial arts
High school extracurricular sports activities and competitions for D.C. schools (DCPS, public charter schools, private schools and parochial schools) are also suspended.
The D.C. State Athletic Association announced Monday that it was putting the brakes on the start of the 2020-21 athletic calendar. Though winter sports practice had been rescheduled to start Dec. 14, member schools will need to pause any sports activities.
The DCSAA said it aims to start the 2020-21 athletic calendar on Monday, Feb. 1. Winter sports then would start practice Feb. 1, fall sports practice would begin in March, and spring sports practice would begin in late April.
Rec centers and sports clubs are prohibited from hosting physical sports and organized athletic activities for high school-aged athletes.
Middle school-aged teens and younger can participate in organized drills and clinics for high-contact sports, as long as two criteria are met: the athletes are in groups of no more than 12, and the activities do not involve actual physical contact with one another.
For students at every grade level in physical education, classes must not involve activities where students might come within 6 feet of one another.
Additionally, D.C.’s Department of Parks and Recreation will stop issuing permits for organized sports and team play on DPR fields.
Stimulus checks for DC residents
Bowser said Monday that D.C. residents will be getting a one-time $1,200 stimulus check to aid in COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts. Residents must be receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance — which ceases at the end of the year — and work in the District.
“This local stimulus payment … goes to D.C. residents who have filed for pandemic unemployment assistance as of Nov. 30. We estimate that we can reach about 20,000 Washingtonians with these payments,” Bowser said.
D.C. residents who work outside of the District are not eligible.
“The pandemic unemployment assistance program was developed for those that are not necessarily eligible for the traditional unemployment insurance program,” said Unique Morris-Hughes with the D.C. Department of Employment Services. “So that means if you’re a gig worker, a 1099, someone who doesn’t have sufficient work history, or may not otherwise be eligible for the traditional unemployment insurance program.”
Earlier Monday, Bowser sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, urging the incoming administration to give the District more money to deal with the pandemic.
“The District of Columbia was shortchanged $755 million in the CARES Act,” the letter reads.
“The District is requesting to be made whole with CARES Act funding through a retroactive payment of $755 million, an amount that would provide equal funding to what the smallest state received through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Washington, D.C. has a larger population than both Vermont and Wyoming. In addition, the District has provided a state-level response, and efforts to reopen and move towards the new normal requires service to a larger population than is readily apparent, as D.C. has the unique responsibility of supporting the critical continuing operations of the federal government. ”
DC’s Restaurant Bridge Fund
The District is aiming to provide pandemic relief to the city’s restaurants with $35 million in grants of up to $50,000. And the application period is now open.
“Our restaurants and other food establishments are essential to small business community, employing our residents and driving our local economy,” Bowser said.
“We know times are particularly tough as our restaurants continue to make sacrifices and implement creative service adjustments. Through the Restaurant Bridge Fund, we can help more of these business and their employees make it to the other side of the pandemic.”
To qualify, restaurants:
- Must be located in D.C.
- Must employ at least one District resident, and may include owner.
- Must be currently open and operating.
- Business must have been revenue generating prior to October 1, 2020.
- If the business opened after March 17, 2020 and before Sept. 30, 2020, the business must have generated a minimum of $25,000 in revenue.
- Must have a D.C. Business License.
- Maximum of $10 million in annual revenue for 2019 and/or $7.5 million in revenue as of Sept. 30, 2020.
- Franchises must be independently owned and operated.
- Must demonstrate financial distress of 25% in decrease in revenue during COVID-19.
- Must be Local Business Enterprise (LBE) eligible.
- Must have a current Certificate of Clean Hands (dated within 90 days prior to application date)
DC coronavirus numbers
D.C. reported 183 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total to 23,319.
Four more District residents have died from the virus. To date, 701 residents have lost their lives.
Track the District’s data online. Below are maps of cases by ward and neighborhood.