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Stay Home DC

Monday, March 30, 2020

(Washington, DC) – Today, due to an increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Washington, DC and across the region and the nation, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia. This order reinforces the Mayor’s direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities.

“Our message remains the same: stay home,” said Mayor Bowser. “Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how – by staying home.”

The Mayor’s Order specifies that residents may only leave their residences to:

  • engage in essential activities, including obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth and obtaining food and essential household goods;
  • perform or access essential governmental functions;
  • work at essential businesses;
  • engage in essential travel; or
  • engage in allowable recreational activities, as defined by the Mayor’s Order.

Any individual who willfully violates the stay-at-home order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.

The stay-at-home order goes into effect on April 1, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.



Mayor’s Order 2020-054 

March 30, 2020 

SUBJECT: Stay at Home Order  

ORIGINATING AGENCY: Office of the Mayor 

By virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the District of Columbia pursuant to section 422 of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973,  Pub. L. 93-198, 87 Stat. 790, D.C. Official Code § 1-204.22 (2016 Repl.); in accordance with the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, effective March 17, 2020, D.C. Act 23-247, and any substantially similar subsequent emergency or temporary legislation;  section 5 of the District of Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective March 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-149, D.C. Official Code § 7-2304 (2018 Repl.); section 5a of the District of Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980, effective October 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, D.C. Official Code § 7-2304.01 (2018 Repl.); and section 1 of An Act To Authorize the Commissioners of the District of Columbia to make regulations to prevent and control the spread of communicable and preventable diseases, approved August  11, 1939, 53 Stat. 1408, D.C. Official Code §§ 7-131 et seq. (2012 Repl.), it is hereby ORDERED that: 


1. This Order is issued based on the increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Washington, DC, and throughout the metropolitan Washington region. Scientific evidence and public health practices show that the most effective approach to slowing the community transmission of communicable diseases like COVID-19 is through social distancing. The age and health of a significant portion of the population of Washington, DC, places thousands of residents at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19. 

2. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Mayor’s Order 2020-045, dated March 11, 2020, and Mayor’s Order 2020-046, dated March 11, 2020 issued declarations of a public emergency and public health emergency. Mayor’s Order 2020-050, dated March 20, 2020, extended those declarations of a public emergency and public health emergency through April 24, 2020. Mayor’s Order 2020-048, dated March 16, 2020, Mayor’s Order 2020-051, dated March 20, 2020, Mayor’s Order 2020-053, dated March 24, 2020, and several directives from the Department of Health provided for additional steps required to protect public health. The COVID-19 Emergency Response Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-247), which was approved by the Council and the Mayor on March 17, 2020, empower the District government with additional tools to address COVID-19.  In addition, the President declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020, and the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. 

3. The findings of prior COVID-19 Mayor’s Orders are incorporated here by reference.   

4. Because of the risk of the rapid spread of the virus, and the need to protect all members of Washington, DC, and the region, especially residents most vulnerable to suffering the prolonged illness or death from the virus, and local health care providers and first responders, this Order requires all individuals anywhere in Washington, DC, to stay in their residences except to perform essential activities, engage in essential business, provide or obtain essential government services, or engage certain authorized recreational activities not involving close contact with other persons. 

5. The intent of this Order is to: 

a. Keep the maximum number of people in their residences to the maximum extent feasible, consistent with protecting their own health and the health of others, while enabling essential activities, government services, and business to continue;  

b. Significantly slow the spread of COVID-19; 

c. Reduce COVID-19 virus infections, COVID-19 illness, and death caused by COVID-19 and its complications;  

d. Protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Washington, DC, and other individuals located in Washington, DC;  

e. Allow essential activities, businesses, and government services to operate and be delivered in relative safety; and  

f. To preserve a sphere of personal freedom by allowing outside recreational activities under conditions designed to minimize health risks.  


1.        a. All individuals living in Washington, DC, are ordered to stay at their place of residence, except as specified in this Order.

b. Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from the provisions of section II.1.a., but are strongly urged to obtain shelter, and District agencies shall, and other public and private entities are strongly urged to, make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the extent practicable, and to use COVID-19 risk mitigation practices in their operations. The District’s 24-hour shelter hotline shall remain open and accessible at 202-399-7093.  

2. Individuals may leave their residences (including their porches and yards) only to engage in Essential Activities including obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth and obtaining food and essential household goods; to perform or access Essential Governmental Functions; to work at Essential Businesses; to engage in Essential Travel; or engage in Allowable Recreational Activities, as defined in section IV of this Order.

3. Individuals shall not linger in common areas of apartment buildings and shall not use buildings’ facilities, such as gyms, party rooms, lounges, rooftop, or courtyard spaces. Such spaces are unlikely to be disinfected often and could otherwise exposed individuals to the COVID-19 virus.    

4. Leaving home for the purposes of engaging in Essential Business Activities or the Minimum Business Operations of businesses not deemed Essential in Mayor’s Order 2020-053 is permissible, and persons are allowed to obtain and provide home-based services so long as the services do not involve physical touching and may be carried out in compliance with the Social Distancing Requirements, as defined in section IV.8 of this Order.   

5. When engaging in Essential Travel, the following requirements and restrictions shall apply: 

a. Individuals using public transportation to engage in Essential Travel must comply with the Social Distancing Requirements defined in subsection IV.8 of this Order, to the greatest extent feasible.  Entry through the back door of any bus or van with a back door is encouraged for the protection of the drivers. 

b. Drivers of ride-sharing vehicles engaged in Essential Travel must have disinfecting wipes in their vehicles and must wipe down all surfaces potentially touched by a passenger after each ride. Drivers of ride-sharing vehicles may not have more than two (2) other persons in their vehicle at any time.   

c. Individuals using shared personal mobility devices such as scooters and bicycles are strongly encouraged to bring their own disinfecting wipes and wipe down the parts of the device they touch before and after riding.  

d. Public and private transit officials shall make provisions for frequently disinfecting buses, subway cars, and any other vehicles they operate, to the highest feasible standards. 

6.Under any of the limited circumstances in which an individual is allowed to leave their residence under this Order, the individual shall comply with the Social Distancing Requirements defined in section IV.8 of this Order, to the maximum extent possible.  

7. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Order, an individual who is suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 or any other transmissible infectious disease shall not be outside their residence except as necessary to seek or receive medical care in accordance with guidance from public health officials or their health care provider. 


1. The provisions of Mayor’s Order 2020-053 regarding which businesses are essential; promoting telework; and allowing Minimum Business Operations of Non-Essential Businesses and subsequent guidance published on remain in effect.   

2. Additionally, at any time, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) may request and an Essential Business must provide, its plans for complying with the requirement to minimize person-to-person contact and achieve to the greatest extent feasible, Social Distancing.

3. Likewise, Non-Essential Businesses conducting Minimum Business Operations pursuant to Mayor’s Order 2020-053 or fuller operations under a Waiver granted by HSEMA may be asked to show their  operational plan and why the activities they are conducting, and how they are conducting them, fit within allowable limits.    

4. The DCRA may impose penalties including summary closure of businesses, subject to subsequent hearings at the Office of Administrative Hearings; Notices of Infractions and Orders to Show Cause why a Business Should not be Closed; Notices of Infractions and Penalties of up to $1,000 per day for violations per site operating in violation of this Order or Mayor’s Order 2020-053; and penalties of up to $5,000 per day per site for operation after an Order to close, or a visit by an inspector that resulted in a warning or a request to close, that was immediately complied with.

5. Any Essential Business or Government Building or Facility that remains open to the public with an expected occupancy or attendance of more than ten (10) people shall promptly and conspicuously post in the building or facility a copy of the requirements for social distancing found on the website as may be amended from time to time by the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health).  

6. These penalties are in addition to any that may be imposed by the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, including revocation of liquor licenses or permission for delivery services. 


For the purposes of this Order, the following terms shall mean: 

1. “Allowable Recreational Activities” means outdoor activity with household members that complies with Social Distancing Requirements, as defined in section IV.8 of this Order, and includes the sanitizing of any equipment used both before and after the activity. Outdoor activities should not be conducted with persons other than those from one’s own household. 

Examples: Walking, hiking, running, dog-walking, biking, rollerblading, scootering, skateboarding, playing tennis, golfing, gardening, and other activities where all participants comply with Social Distancing Requirements and there is no person-to-person contact. 

2. “Essential Activities” means: 

a. Engaging in an activity or performing a task essential to an individual’s own health or safety, or to the health or safety of the individual’s family or household members, including pets. 

Examples: Obtaining medical supplies or medication; visiting a health care professional; or obtaining supplies needed to work from home. 

b. Obtaining services or supplies for an individual’s own self or the individual’s family or household members; or delivering those services or supplies to others that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and operation of residences. 

c. Performing work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in this Order, including Minimum Basic Operations. 

d. Caring for a family member or pet in another household or serving as a caregiver providing essential services to another. Caregiving involves more than companionship or entertainment, but rather helps a person with activities of daily living, the supervision of children, or otherwise tends to the immediate physical needs and safety of someone who cannot attend to those needs for him or herself. 

e. Providing or obtaining services at a Health Care Operation.  

i. For purposes of this Order, the term “Health Care Operation” includes hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other health care facilities, health care suppliers, home health care and assisted living services, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary health care services. 

ii. The term “Health Care Operation” also includes veterinary care and all health care services provided to animals.  

iii. This authorization shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of health care, broadly defined.  

iv. The term “Health Care Operation” does not include fitness facilities, exercise gyms, spas, massage parlors, or other similar facilities. 

f. Providing any services or performing any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of Essential Infrastructure.   

i. For purposes of this Order, the term “Essential Infrastructure” includes critical or emergency public works or utilities construction, construction, solid waste collection and removal by private and public entities, telecommunications services; provided, that an individual shall provide these services and perform this work in compliance with the Social Distancing Requirements as defined in section IV.8 of this Order, to the extent possible. 

ii. Other infrastructure and construction activity may be allowable as an Essential Business under section IV.3—of this Order. 

3. “Essential Businesses” are those defined in Mayor’s Order 2020-053 and subsequent interpretive guidance.  

4. “Essential Government Functions” are those defined in Mayor’s Order 2020-053 and include all the tasks performed by persons designated essential or emergency personnel. 

5. “Essential Travel” means: 

a. Travel related to the provision of, or access to, Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations, including travel to and from work to operate Essential Businesses or maintain Essential Governmental Functions; 

b. Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; 

c. Travel required to visit a house of worship; 

d. Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services;  

e. Travel to return to a place of residence from outside Washington, DC; 

f. Travel required by law enforcement or court order;  

g. Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside Washington, DC; and 

h. Travel within the Washington region to engage in allowable activities under that jurisdiction’s laws.  

6. “Minimum Basic Operations” means the following: 

a. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, and related functions; 

b. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences; and  

c. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate teleworking or the remote delivery of services formerly provided in-person by the business; to provide for the pay and benefits of the businesses’ employees; to provide cleaning and disinfection of a business’s facilities; or to provide employee supervision of contractors or employees providing essential maintenance of the facility. 

7. “Residences” include homes and apartments, hotels, motels, shared rental units, and similar facilities. 

8. “Social Distancing Requirements” include: 

a. Maintaining at least six (6)-foot social distancing from other individuals; 

b. Washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds or using hand sanitizer frequently, or after contact with potentially-infected surfaces, to the greatest extent feasible;  

c. Covering coughs or sneezes, preferably with a tissue immediately disposed of, or into the sleeve or elbow, not hands; 

d. Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces; and 

e. Not shaking hands. 


1. Any individual or entity that knowingly violates this Order shall be subject to all civil, criminal, and administrative penalties authorized by law, including sanctions or penalties for violating D.C. Official Code § 7-2307, including $1,000 fines, summary suspension or revocation of business licensure.    

2. Any individual who willfully violates this Order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both. 

3. An officer or employee of the District of Columbia government that violates this Order or any related personnel issuance shall be subject to appropriate administrative discipline, including, when circumstances warrant, suspension from duty without pay or removal from office. 


If any provision of this Order or its application to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid, then the reminder of the Order, including the application of such part or provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected and shall continue in full force and effect. 


This Order shall become effective at 12:01 a.m. on April 1, 2020 and will continue to be in effect through April 24, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by a subsequent Order. 



Mayor Signature


Frequently Asked Questions on Stay at Home Order

Q: My business holds a nightclub license and has been declared non-essential, I also have kitchen facilities that could be used to prepare and serve food to customers. Can my business continue to operate on the delivery and grab-and-go basis that other restaurants employ now?

A: Yes, but only with those limited operations: preparing and serving food. You may open only for delivery, carry out, or “grab and go” services. You must not allow any food to be eaten on site, and no food shall be available in a self-serve manner, such as a buffet or hot bar. In accordance with Mayor’s Order 2020-053 and Mayor’s Order 2020-054, you may operate as essential only to serve food, while complying with social distancing requirements. Other operations of your facility, such as selling non-grocery or household items, must be suspended and available for sale online or through delivery.

Q: I work in health care or for a health care-related entity, would my business be considered essential?  

A: Yes. 

Q. Are home health care aides and direct service providers essential? 

A. Yes. 

Q: Did the Mayor close churches?   

No, but large gatherings of ten or more people are prohibited, so as a practical matter, most churches are not holding services. Weddings and funerals may only be 10 or fewer people.  Houses of worship can maintain basic business operations, and many open their doors to people who walk in who want a quiet place to pray alone. Many congregations are also maintaining their social service programs to deliver essential items like food to people who are at home or helping others get to medical appointments.   

Q: Are mortuary services closed?   

A: No, but funeral parlors cannot host viewings, wakes, repasts or other gatherings of ten or more people.   

Q. Are fire monitoring services closed? 

A. No. 

Q: Are hotels closed?   

A: Some may have decided to close due to the decline in tourism and the cancellation of conferences and events. They are allowed to continue to offer rooms, but conferences or events are prohibited as they would violate the large gathering rules.     

Q: Is new construction halted?   

A: No. Construction is allowed under Section IV.1.j. However, it should be conducted safely with social distancing prioritized. 

Q: Big box stores are allowed under the Mayor’s Order, but more than ten people are in them at once.  Is DCRA going to close them?   

A: Big box stores should make efforts to preserve a safe distance between customers.   

Q: Medical personnel refer clients to my Pilates studio. Can we continue to stay open and provide services as essential medical services?  

A: If you are not a licensed medical practitioner, then your studio is considered a gym, which is non-essential and must close. 

Q: Is my employer, a telecom company, an essential business?   

A: Yes, telecom companies are considered essential.  

Q: Are storage facilities essential businesses?   

A: Allowing a current storage unit renter access to their possessions is certainly essential to them and should be accommodated. People sometimes need storage sites during construction on their homes or when they’re moving – so the storage facility can be providing essential household services under Section IV.1.c.   

Q: Are locksmiths essential?   

A: Yes, Under Section IV.1.j, “Construction and Building Trades,” they are a business that “provides services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, …and operation of residences and Essential Businesses.” 

Q: Are parking lots essential?   

A: Yes. 

Q: Are optometrists and lens makers essential?   

A: Yes. 

Q: Can I host my boot camp fitness classes outside?   

A: No. We encourage people to do essential exercise, but it’s much safer to do so alone. If you do have an allowable number of clients and they are practicing social distancing, it is best if payment is made online, so you’re not handing items like credit cards back and forth.   

Q: Can we still deliver our newspapers?   

A: Yes, newspapers are clearly essential under Section IV.1.e, and thus the distribution system for getting them to people is essential, too.  

Q: Are real estate agents essential?   

A: Real estate offices should close to all but minimum business operations, but individual agents can work from their homes, call clients, direct people to potentially good homes on MLS, place properties for listing online and the like.  Necessary financial services are essential, and closings can occur as necessary to the operation of residences and essential businesses. Open houses are not permitted. Showing a home to one potential buyer is acceptable.

All activities should be conducted in a way to minimize risk. Offices should move to principally telework or have the minimal number of persons present to handle the closing.  

Q: I’m working at home now.  Can I have my house painted now?   

A: Yes. That’s allowed under Section IV.1.j. Painting helps maintain the house and can be done maintaining social distance.   

Q: I operate a beauty supply store.  Some of our supplies include alcohol, hand wipes, and surgical masks.  Can we stay open?  

A: No. If your principal business is serving salons, you should close too. 

Q:  My law firm has several pending court deadlines and we work much more efficiently at the office.  Can we go in?    

A: As a general matter, you should be working from home, as your business is otherwise a non-essential professional services firm.  Staying home is important to remaining healthy. You may go to the office if necessary to meet court deadlines. 

Q:  Are computer repair shops allowed to remain in operation?   

A: Yes, take additional measures to protect employees and customers. Customers should call ahead, and pick up or return items outside when possible. 

Q:  My firm attends to plants, inside and outside corporations, hotels, and government buildings.  May we stay in operation?  

A: Yes. However, installation of new plantings that are currently not in your inventory is not essential at this time.  Households are allowed to hire contractors to perform maintenance and keep up their properties.  To the extent you are staying in operation, please be sure to have your crewmembers work at least six feet apart.   

Q:  We provide office space and professional services to non-profits – which services would be considered minimum business operations for us?   

A: You should provide access to offices of your tenants so that they can carry out their own minimum business operations.   

Q:  We provide construction supply, such as hardware and glass used for installation and replacement.  May we stay in operation? 

A: Yes, an essential business under the Construction and Building Trades section of the Mayor’s Order. 

Q: We are a live stream broadcast production company. Do we need to shutter completely?   

A: No, to the extent you serve the media, which are essential, you are essential and can stay open. 

Q:  I own a catering company.  Catering is not mentioned in the Mayor’s Order.  May we stay in Operation?  

A: You are included as an essential food services company for delivery of items.  You should limit your services to delivery or grab and go. 

Q:  I own a printing company.  We do some, but not all, of our work for medical firms; providing items like intake and consent forms. May we stay in operation? 

A: You may serve clients that are essential businesses, like any health care organization, under the Mayor’s Order.   If the printing needs are to comply with legally-mandated activities, fulfilling those orders is acceptable.    

Q: Are volunteers helping to provide essential services to low-income and vulnerable persons, such as emergency food providers, essential? 

A:  Yes, providing Social Services Providing the Necessities of Life, including emergency food, is essential.  

Q: Can retail business owners go to their shop to package and send out online orders?  

A: Yes, that would be considered performing minimum basic business operations. They should have the minimum number of people in the shop to process these orders and ensure they are practicing social distancing.  

Q: Can a business still operate for curbside pickup and delivery for food, beverage, and coffee?  

A: Yes, a food business offering grab-and-go and delivery is essential.   

Q: Can I operate pet grooming facilities?  

A: To the extent that the grooming needs for pets are for preventative care, for example treating an infection, skin condition, or nail trimming, you may still operate those services.  

Q: Can my arts and crafts supply store continue to operate? 

A: Yes, you can operate delivery-based services, only if people can make purchases online or by calling the store. 

Q: We are a nonprofit organization that maintains an urban vegetable farm distributing produce to those who need food in DC, can we continue to operate?  

A: Yes. 

Q: Our organization is managing Kingman and Heritage Islands State Conservation Area, in partnership with the District Department of Energy and Environment, and the area needs continued maintenance; can we continue to operate? 

A: Yes, this is considered an essential government contractor working on essential infrastructure and waste management in the District. For continued operations, people should practice social distancing and the minimum amount of people should be on site. 

Q: My company provides real estate home inspection services and mold testing services; may we continue to operate?  

A: Yes, as you are supporting essential businesses and residences. When you operate, you should have the minimum number of people onsite and practice social distancing.  

Q: If I own an appraisal company that supports home sales, can I continue to operate?  

A: The appraisal industry for home sales may continue to operate as financial and professional services supporting the operation of residences and essential businesses. All activities should be conducted in a way to minimize risk, and offices should move to telework or have the minimal number of persons present to handle an appraisal.    

Q: I am a florist, and our company delivers fruit, vegetable plants, and flowers to residences and funeral homes, can we remain open?  

A: You may operate delivery-based services only. You must ensure you keep the minimum number of staff in the shop to operate, and practice social distancing.  

Q: Can meat producers continue operating?  

A: Yes.  

Q: Can landscapers continue to operate?

A: Yes, while they are working for businesses and residences to perform maintenance and keep up their properties. To the extent companies are staying in operation, please be sure to practice social distancing.

Q: I have a janitorial and cleaning services company, can we stay open?

A: Yes, you are supporting essential businesses and residences. As a reminder, your employees should practice social distancing and follow DC Health and CDC guidelines for cleaning and safety.

Q: I have a gym in my condominium or apartment building, can it continue to operate?

A: No, gyms are closed, regardless of ownership or structure.

Q: Can I go fishing?

A: Yes, you can go fishing as a recreational activity. However, you should only be fishing by yourself or with other individuals in your household. Remember that while engaging in recreational activity, you should be practicing social distancing.

Q: My business qualifies as a Food Retail Store, do I have to provide my employees with masks or face coverings?

A: Yes, all employees must wear mask or face coverings while on duty. If you are able to procure masks, you must provide them to your employees. If you cannot procure them due to supply problems, then you must allow employees to wear homemade or self-procured masks or face coverings, and provide masks or face coverings once they are available.

Q: My business qualifies as a Food Retail Store, do I need to make aisles one way?

A: Yes, where possible. This is going to help customers and employees avoid cross paths and minimize contact. It will also help individuals maintain six feet of distance among them.

Q: My household regularly takes walks around the neighborhood – sometimes with our nanny or caregiver. We were recently stopped and informed that we could only walk on the sidewalk right outside our home, is this true?

A: No, walking, bicycling, running, and getting fresh air (with other members of your household or alone) are considered Allowable Recreational Activities. Just make sure you are engaging in these activities responsibly and practicing social distancing. If a group forms in an area, you may need to disperse because social distancing would not be possible.

Q: Are CBD stores allowed to operate?

A: CBD stores and smoke shops are non-essential.

Q: As of April 24, can I operate a car wash in the District?

A: Yes. Car washes can now operate if they are providing disinfection services to vehicles for either the interior or exterior. We understand that some essential workers need to take their vehicles to work every day and may want to utilize these services to ensure materials on their vehicle are disinfected if they may contain COVID-19, as the longevity of the virus on materials and the possibility of any subsequent transmission is uncertain. 

Before these car washes reopen, they must submit a social distancing plan to DCRA pursuant to section III.3 of Mayor’s Order 2020-54 through Vanessa Careiro at [email protected] that includes a plan to stagger shifts or take other precautions for their employees to encourage minimum person to person contact among customers and coworkers. 

Q. The Mayor’s Order provides that “Drivers of ride-sharing vehicles may not have more than two (2) other persons in their vehicle at any time.” Can members of the same household ride together in a for-hire vehicle?

A: Yes, a family or members of the same household living together can ride together in a ride-share vehicle even if there are more than two people. Additionally, it may be possible for a couple not living together to share a ride or have those two individuals include a caregiver or a nanny.

Q. Does the Mayor’s Stay at Home Order define taxi and ridesharing drivers as “essential”?

A: Yes. Mayor’s Order 2020-053, issued on March 24, 2020, states that “Taxis, ride-sharing companies, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Businesses or Essential Governmental Functions and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;” are essential services.

Q: Can a process server company still operate?

A: Yes, you can serve process. Please be mindful of social distancing practices when effectuating service.

Q: Do convenience stores like CVS, Walgreens, 7/11 and others have to comply with Mayor’s Order 2020-058 for Retail Food Sellers?

A: Yes, they are considered “Retail Food Sellers” under section II, given that they are engaged in the retail sale of food, even if they have aisles devoted to other products. All products with a food-related license are subject to the Order.

Q: I run a non-essential business, if I now change my business to engage in the sale of essential products like groceries and masks, can I reopen my store?

A: It depends, are you newly licensed to sell food? If you are not licensed to sell food then you cannot reopen your business to do so under your general business license. Additionally, if you are newly engaged in the sale of masks or other household items, you could process those purchases through web sales and delivery, such as other non-essential businesses have done. Unless you are revamping your store front, marketing, and layout to transform into an essential business, your store should remain closed to in-store customers.

Q: Can a car dealership stay open?

A: For some, a car may be needed to get to an essential business. While auto repair shops are open, sometimes a car could be beyond repair. Dealers may remain open because they are supporting essential travel, but locations must practice social distancing and sanitize high touch surfaces frequently. Dealers should not allow customers to test drive vehicles unless the car’s interior has been wiped down with antiseptic wipes beforehand and all customers and employees wash their hands thoroughly before and after the test drive. No more than two customers may be in the car during any test drive, and like any business, the car dealership should provide for social distancing.

Q: Can nurseries remain open?

A: Yes, they are essential as nurseries sell products that support gardening activities and may sell plants that grow food. As essential businesses, nurseries must have their employees and customers comply with social distancing and adjust operations to minimize the number of staff needed on site, if possible.

Q: Are chiropractors essential and may their practices remain open as an essential business?

A: Yes. Mayor’s Order 2020-053 defines an essential business under healthcare and public health operations as “any related and/or ancillary health care services as defined by CISA,” the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, which has published guidance on what may be considered an essential business. Chiropractors are explicitly listed in CISA’s list under Healthcare.

Q: Have guidelines/mandates been sent to apartment managers, landlords, owners multi-family properties regarding notification to tenants if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19?

A: No, mandates have not been issued to landlords, managers, owners etc. for notifying other tenants if another tenant is diagnosed with COVID-19, nor are people with diagnoses mandated to disclose their condition to their landlords. Everyone should assume that there is community spread of the disease and take care to follow the stay at home orders, frequently hand wash, avoid touching common surfaces, and employ social distancing to avoid contact with others.

Q: Are employees and contractors of the landlord required to wear protective gear - masks and gloves?

A: Orders relating to masks and gloves order do not apply to apartment landlords or owners and their contractors.

Q: Should sanitizer be provided outside elevators and/or lobby?

A: It is a good practice to have sanitizer in lobbies, but it is not mandatory.

Q: Are tenants required to wear a mask to go to the mail room, laundry, elevator etc. Since social distancing is not possible in the examples, it would appear this could be mandated by Mayor.

A: Tenants are not required to wear masks in the common areas of their building, but we understand that practices are developing in many buildings whereby only household members units are in the building’s elevator at the same time, or that management recommends tenants wear masks in the common areas, or wait until others have left the mailroom to retrieve their mail. The configurations of buildings are so different, we believe some of these issues are best left to management and condominium boards to work out for themselves, while protecting the privacy of persons suffering from a disease.

Q: What if my business is nonessential? Can I sell my products online and provide delivery services?

A: Yes. Nonessential businesses not otherwise enumerated as essential may continue minimum basic operations, including for the purpose of delivery of their products. They may not allow customers on premises, at their entrances, or curbside. They must also minimize the number of staff required on-site and when possible, they should stagger shifts. Businesses should also regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces.

Q: We’re a self-driving platform technology company, may we continue to operate during the public health emergency?

A: Yes, you would be considered an essential business in both the transportation and technology industries. To the extent your business requires road testing that must be conducted in person, you may conduct those activities as long as you are complying with social distancing requirements and minimizing the amount of staff needed on site. The company must also implement regular sanitization protocols and disinfect high touch surfaces. At most, nine people may be present at one time, in staggered shifts. As much of your workforce as possible should continue to work remotely.

Q: Is a business that sells specialty footwear and apparel essential?

A: No. A specialty business that sells footwear, even those customized or recommended by health care professionals, and apparel is nonessential. The business may still operate to provide delivery of its products to residents but may not operate a storefront or curbside pick-up.

Q: Are concierge and residential apartment building staff essential?

A: Housing and living facilities, including residences and residential facilities are deemed essential in Mayor’s Order 2020-053. That would include a building’s management and staff. While essential, to the greatest extent feasible, the business must continue to comply with social distancing requirements, including by separating staff by off-setting shift hours or days. Management and building owners may also encourage residents to set policies that would encourage social distancing, such as limiting households in an elevator, limiting package or mail pick up to pre-determined times, or encouraging the use of masks in common areas.

Q: Is a company that manufactures gear or equipment for essential businesses or first responders essential?

A: Yes. Those companies may operate to the extent that they are supporting essential businesses and essential government functions. The business must still comply with social distancing and implement ways to minimize the number of people present at the facility.

Q: If I organize an event to help barbers and stylists provide haircuts to individuals with measures such as the use of masks, sanitized products, and social distancing where possible, is that permitted under the Mayor’s Order?

A: No. Currently, barbershops and hair salons are non-essential. The District will consider these services when determining when and how to reopen.


DC Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency Waiver Process for Exemption to Business Closure