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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Washington DC MO.DeclarationofPublicEmergency03-11-20


Mayor's Order 2020-045

March 11, 2020

SUBJECT: Declaration of Public Emergency: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

ORIGINATING AGENCY:               Office of the Mayor

By virtue of the authority vested in the Mayor of the District of Columbia pursuant to section 422(11) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 790, Pub. L. No. 93-198, D.C. Official Code§ 1-204.22(11) (2016 Repl.), in accordance with 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.), and section 2 of the Natural Disaster Consumer Protection Act of 1992 ("Natural Disaster Consumer Protection Act"), effective March 20, 1992, D.C. Law 9-80, D.C. Official Code § 28-4102 (2013 Repl.), it is hereby ORDERED that:


    1. This Order is issued in response to several presumptive and confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Washington, DC metropolitan region and Washington, DC being a hub for visitors from around the country and world. COVID-19 has been detected in numerous states, with more than 1,000 confirmed cases and at least 29 fatalities in the United States. On January 31, 2020, the federal Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation's health care community in responding to COVID-19. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") have declared COVID- 19 to be a "public health emergency of international concern" (PHEIC). On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

    1. Cities in the United States and foreign cities experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks have had significant health, safety, and economic impacts on their residents, businesses, and visitors. Mandatory quarantines, self-isolation, business supply chain interruptions, and cancellations of college classes and conventions are increasingly affecting peoples' lives and livelihoods.

    1. The person-to-person spread of COVID-19 and the increased availability of testing kits make it virtually certain that the District of Columbia will have a growing number of reported cases, and COVID-19 is already having significant impacts on District of Columbia residents, businesses, visitors, students, and at­ risk populations.

    1. The spread ofCOVID-19 is an imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of District residents that requires emergency protective actions be undertaken by the DistrictGovernment.

    1. The District Government will need to take action on immediate timeframes that will accelerate procedures related to procurement, personnel, changes to collective bargaining agreements, fund and make disbursements, and to undertake other activities necessary to respond to the public emergency.

    1. By this Order, the worldwide spread of coronavirus COVID-19 and the declaration of COVID-19 as a PHEIC is declared to be a natural disaster for purposes of the Natural Disaster Consumer Protection Act of 1992.

    1. By this Order, a public emergency is declared in the District of Columbia, effectiveimmediately.


    1. The City Administrator, in consultation with the directors of the Department of Health ("DOH" or "DC Health") and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency ("HSEMA"), is authorized to implement any measures as may be necessary or appropriate to protect persons and property in the District of Columbia from the impacts of COVID-19. Such measures may include:

      1. Actions authorized under D.C. Official Code § 7-2304(b), including requesting federal disaster assistance and mandatory medical quarantining of any person for whom there is probable cause to believe he or she is affected with a communicable disease;

      1. Taking measures under the District Response Plan to the extent necessary or appropriate to effectuate the relief contemplated by this Order; and

      1. Enforcing the District's Natural Disaster Consumer Protection Act, D.C. Official Code §28-4102.

    1. The District's Emergency Operations Center ("EOC") shall be partially or fully activated at the discretion of the City Administrator, in consultation with the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice and the HSEMA Director. All relevant District agencies shall designate and detail personnel to staff the EOC if called upon.

    1. The City Administrator, in consultation with the Assistant City Administrator, and the directors of DOH and the Department of Human Services, shall procure locations that will be available for use as quarantine sites.

    1. The Mayor's Chief of Staff, in consultation with the Mayor's Director of Communications, shall direct all public communications and maintain as a central repository for all government information relating to COVID-19 response.

    1. The City Administrator, in consultation with the Assistant City Administrator, shall, if necessary, deploy personnel in a manner that may contravene provisions of existing collective bargaining agreements and may designate employees as essential at any time, or delegate such designation responsibilities to agency heads.

    1. Within one (1) day of this Order, the Department of Human Resources ("DCHR") shall issue a policy ratified by the City Administrator, for all District government employees relating to travel, designation of emergency and essential employees, employee responsibilities, and guidance on workplace flexibility, leave options, and workplace protections.

    1. Within one (1) day of this Order, the Mayor's Chief of Staff, in consultation with the Mayor's Office of Community Affairs, shall continue outreach to institutions in the District of Columbia to inform:

      1. Businesses, community groups, religious institutions, and other community leaders on CDC guidance on preventing the spread of illnesses; and

      1. District residents and businesses of the Department of Health recommendation that non-essential gatherings of more than 1,000 persons, be postponed until March 31 at the earliest.

    1. The City Administrator, in consultation with the DOH Director and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, shall determine whether public venues can operate safely during a pandemic and, if not, identify measures that can be undertaken to minimize health risks, including temporary closures, and provide recommendations to the Mayor.

    1. The City Administrator, in consultation with the DOH Director, shall issue guidance to businesses and organizations that host large gatherings in the District to ensure they may operate those events safely during a pandemic.

    1. The City Administrator, in consultation with the DOH director, the Deputy Mayor for Education,the Chancellor of the DC Public Schools, the Executive Director of the Public Charter School Board, and the President of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), shall determine whether UDC and public schools, both DCPS and DC public charter schools, can operate safely during a pandemic and, if not, identify measures that can be undertaken to minimize health risks, including online learning, temporary closures, and modifications to the school year, and provide recommendations to the Mayor. Before any closure of a school, UDC, DCPS and public charter schools shall inform and consult with the Deputy Mayor for Education and the Director of DOH.

    1. The City Administrator, in consultation with the DOH director, the General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the Director of the District Department of Transportation, shall determine whether public transportation can operate safely during a pandemic and, if not, identify measures that can be undertaken to minimize health risks, including temporary closures and installation of alcohol-based cleaning stations, and provide recommendations to the Mayor.
    2. The City Administrator, in consultation with Deputy Mayors and the Office of Budget and Performance Management, shall draft legislative proposals to provide financial and regulatory assistance to individuals and businesses experiencing significant economic hardships directly related to COVID-19.
    3. The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, the Acting Director of the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking, and the Executive Director of Health Benefits Exchange shall immediately identify and work to resolve any insurance-related issues that could affect patient care directly related to COVID- 19 and the prevention of its spread.
    4. The inter-agency working groups established by Mayor's Order 2020-035, dated February 28, 2020, shall continue their work to identify and address issues that are likely to arise from the impacts of COVID-19.
    5. Agency directors shall authorize temporary personnel assignments within and across District agencies as appropriate and needed.
    6. All procurement requests associated with COVID-19 response and continuity of government operations shall be submitted through the EOC's WebEOC procurement process for centralized and streamlined processing by the Office of Contracting and Procurement.
    7. Agency directors shall track employees' time worked on COVID-19 preparations and response in accordance with guidance from DCHR and EOC. Agency directors may authorize overtime for activities directly related to the District's response to COVID-19.
    8. Notwithstanding the District of Columbia Procurement Practices Reform Act of 2010, as amended, D.C. Official Code §§ 2-351.01 et seq., or any other law governing contracts, grants, or partnerships or the incurring of obligations, the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia is authorized to approve disbursement of all appropriations necessary to carry out this Order.
    9. The City Administrator, in coordination with the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice,the HSEMA Director, DOH Director, and the Chief Financial Officer, is authorized to apply for financial assistance through any federal, private, or nonprofit disaster relief and recovery organizations, and any other appropriate agencies of the United States government to recoup expenditures incurred, or obtain funding needed to carry out necessary actions, under this Order.
    10. District agency directors are authorized to activate, implement, and coordinate any applicable mutual aid agreements between the District of Columbia and federal, state, or local jurisdictions, as needed to assist in the District's response to COVID-19.
    11. The District Response Plan is hereby implemented immediately.
    12. Pursuant to D.C. Official Code§ 28-4102 (Overcharging), it shall be unlawful for any person to charge more than the normal average retail price for any merchandise or service sold. This provision will remain in effect for the duration of the declared state of emergency or thirty (30) calendar days from the effective date of this Order, whichever is shorter.
    13. This Order shall apply to all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the District government as necessary or appropriate to implement this Order.


This Order shall remain in effect until fifteen (15) days after its effective date, unless earlier rescinded or superseded.

  1. EFFECTIVE DATE: This Order shall become effective immediately.


Muriel Bowser




Kimberly A. Bassett

Secretary of State of the District of Columbia 

Last updated: Sunday, March 22, 2020